Shame on Komen Foundation Craven Cave-in on Planned Parenthood

Health Care Ideas and Issues

New Orleans   It was shocking today to read that the Komen Foundation, well known for its ubiquitous “pink” crusade against breast cancer, in the most craven way caved into right-wing pressure and unilaterally defunded Planned Parenthood.  Komen has been increasingly controversial in the anti-cancer health movement for emphasizing marketing and branding over research and cures, but to hammer Planned Parenthood on such specious “ACORN” grounds is really indefensible.

Spokespeople and statements for Komen claimed that they had created a new policy rule which disqualified Planned Parenthood:

A spokeswoman for the Komen foundation, Leslie Aun, told The Associated Press that the main factor in the decision was a new rule adopted by Komen that prohibits grants to organizations being investigated by local, state or federal authorities. Ms. Aun told The A.P. that Planned Parenthood was therefore disqualified from financing because of an inquiry being conducted by Representative Cliff Stearns, Republican of Florida, who is looking at how Planned Parenthood spends and reports its money.

On its face the so-called “rule” is ridiculous.  Virtually any organization at any time anywhere within this definition could be experiencing some kind of investigation “by local, state or federal authorities.”  Think about it.  The simplest charge before the EEOC, NLRB, DOL Wage and Hour Division, EPA, or OSHA, as well as any of the various levels of health departments required to do routine inspections and certifications of clinics, and on and on and on all could be used to claim a disqualification of an agency from support by the Komen Foundation.  Frankly, when the IRS routinely investigates the tax exempt status of Komen, technically, they shouldn’t be able to fund themselves.

The whole notion of such a rule is absurd, which inevitably lends credibility to PPA’s President and CEO Cecile Richards’ claim that they folded like a cheap skirt because of “bullying by right wing groups.”  Who will do the breast exams for poor women and others offered by Planned Parenthood under this assault?   No one, not that Komen seems to care.  The Komen operation’s sister whose own cancer supposedly inspired the organization of this pink parade would be rolling over, unfortunately, in her grave!

Further the Times seems to have a lead on the “smoking gun” leading to this attack:

…in December, LifeWay Christian Resources, which is owned by the Southern Baptist Convention, said it was recalling a pink Bible it was selling at Walmart and other stores because a dollar per copy was going to the Komen foundation and the foundation supported Planned Parenthood.

This is hateration pure and simple.

Thank goodness for Cecile standing up and shouting out.  $700,000 plus won’t cripple Planned Parenthood, but on the other hand this decision should point all of the rest of us who care about health needs and the tragedy of breast cancer some other direction than the Komen Foundation if we really care about women.