We at Catholic Sistas are tickled pink that prominent breast cancer charity Susan G. Komen for the Cure has decided to cut ties with Planned Parenthood, our nation’s largest abortion provider!
For years, faithful Catholics have boycotted Komen’s fundraising efforts for its unconscionable relationship with Planned Parenthood, which received $650,000 from Komen in 2011. And if Planned Parenthood’s complicity in the deaths of millions of unborn children were not bad enough, the link between it and Komen was especially galling given the copious research showing that abortion dramatically increases a woman’s chances of breast cancer.
For Catholic breast cancer survivors especially, Komen’s support of Planned Parenthood often left them feeling marginalized. “I’ve always felt cheated because I couldn’t morally participate in ‘pink’ events,” says Birgit, one of our contributors who is a seven-year breast cancer survivor. She hated having to inform well-meaning friends who wanted to honor her family by raising money for Komen that she couldn’t accept due to the charity’s relationship with an abortion provider. “Understandably, they felt chastised for doing a good deed,” she says.
Komen’s support of Planned Parenthood also was troubling for Erika, another of our contributors who is a three-year breast cancer survivor diagnosed at 20 weeks pregnant. She shared her story recently with our readers, including the pressure she resisted to abort her now two-year-old daughter. “Prolife Catholics have always loved women enough to support them and their unborn children during crisis pregnancies,” Erika says.
Though most pregnant women diagnosed with breast cancer are encouraged to abort, Erika found that research shows instead that women who elect to continue their pregnancies actually have a better survival rate than their counterparts who abort. Her experiences inspired Erika to develop Catholic Sistas’ own unique ribbon (see below) to support breast cancer awareness and research, which reflects the Catholic belief that both mother and child deserve to be protected from the disease.
Planned Parenthood has long tried to deflect criticism for receiving money from Komen by claiming their grants go to provide breast health services, including mammograms. That the abortion provider does not, in fact, provide mammograms at all was confirmed last year by Live Action, a prolife group based in San Jose, Calif. Live Action members contacted 30 Planned Parenthood clinics in 27 states and discovered that not one provided mammograms and that few even provide basic breast cancer screening. (Interestingly enough, Planned Parenthood’s own Annual Reports have shown that breast exams have actually decreased at the organization since it began receiving money from Komen.)
For Catholics, the mood seems to be one of cautious optimism. Though Erika and Birgit are pleased Komen finally severed ties with the notorious abortion provider, Komen’s murky stances on other issues, such as embryonic stem cell research and oral contraceptives, remain problematic for Catholics. Erika is concerned that Komen may end up refunding Planned Parenthood in the future, since Komen claims it was “more stringent donor requirements” and not pressure from prolifers that caused it to stop funding the abortion provider. Komen’s new donor requirements do not allow the charity to fund any organization under investigation and Planned Parenthood is currently being investigated for using federal money to fund abortions. Komen could reissue grants to Planned Parenthood if nothing comes of the investigation.
Only time will tell whether this rift between Komen and Planned Parenthood is a permanent one. In the meantime, however, we applaud Susan G. Komen for the Cure for its decision to retain the hard-earned money of its supporters for organizations that truly do work to fight the scourge of breast cancer.