The Pink Link
Every October, the nation turns pink. Friends and neighbors wear pink ribbons, NFL players wear pink shoes. Even the White Housereflects pink flood lights onto its exterior in honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
We in the Catholic community also know October as Respect Life Month. It seems these two life-saving efforts should go hand-in-hand right? Not so fast.
In general, the color pink raises awareness for breast cancer – a worthy cause. But the biggest beneficiary of pink-related events is Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the nation’s largest breast cancer charity. Some of you might even support Komen in your charitable giving. And why not? Breast cancer is a tragic disease that far too many women battle every year in the U.S. It’s a worthy cause to support. Unfortunately, just not through Komen.
Why “unfortunately?” Komen financially supports the nation’s largest abortion provider, Planned Parenthood (PP). How can that be? Why would a life-affirming organization like Komen financially support a death-peddling organization like PP? Komen refutes the claim that they directly support abortion, but let me give you the details.
According to the Bioethics Defense Fund (bdfund.org) Komen has a policy of explicitly allowing its state affiliates to give monetary grants to abortion providing facilities. Not all state affiliates give grants to PP using the 75% of the funds that they raise in a state. However, each state affiliate must forward at least 25% of funds raised in their state to the Komen National office. These funds are under the discretion of a board that refuses to disassociate itself from PP, thus the money goes into a pool to be potentially distributed to PP.
Komen gave over $3 million to PP between 2003 and 2008 (though the amount is insignificant). So why does Komen give funds to an abortion giant? They claim they give the money as grants for breast exams. There are two problems with this claim. Number 1: It doesn’t matter what you give money to PP for. The dollars are fungible and it just frees up money for them to use on abortions and other operating costs to keep their doors open. Number 2: PP is a level 1 breast center. It is only allowed to perform manual exams. Despite its implications - it DOES NOT PROVIDE MAMMOGRAMS!
Desperate following the House of Representatives’ recent vote to defund the organization, PP CEO Cecile Richards used the claim that the organization should continue to receive federal funding based on their breast health services. “If this bill ever becomes law, millions of women in this country are going to lose their health care access, not to abortion services, to basic family planning – you know, mammograms, cancer screenings, cervical cancer,” she said.
But the truth is that PP does NOT provide breast exams. They simply provide referrals for breast exams – the same type of referral you can get from you primary care doctor, urgent care center, free clinic or GYN.
Pro-life blogger Jill Stanek did some research and found that not a single PP in America performs mammograms. PP’s own website says, “Ask your local health care provider, health department, or staff at your local Planned Parenthood center about where you can get a mammogram in your area.” [emphasis mine]
Aside from the fact that PP does not provide mammograms, Komen continues to ignore the ominous fact that abortion is the #1 avoidable cause of the very disease they’re fighting. It doesn’t make sense that they’re financially abetting an organization that contributes to the tragic rise in breast cancer.
From the Abortion/Breast Cancer Coalition (abortionbreastcancer.com):
“The breasts grow considerably during pregnancy while under the influence of high levels of the hormone estrogen, a known carcinogen. Estrogen causes the woman's normal and cancer-vulnerable breast lobules to multiply. If she has an abortion, she's left with more places for cancers to start in her breasts. If she has a baby, then other pregnancy hormones mature her breast lobules into cancer-resistant lobules during the last months of pregnancy. She's left with more cancer-resistant tissue than she had before she became pregnant.”
It’s heartbreaking that an otherwise very worthy organization could negate all of the good work that they do by funding an organization that exterminates 332,278 unborn children per year. And this is a fact that, as Christians, we cannot ignore. We cannot overlook the evil that is perpetuated through this partnership by using the false justification that we’re doing a “greater good” by funding breast cancer research. In this situation, there is no greater good. The ends do not justify the means. The murder of over 300,000 innocents does not justify a few mammogram referrals.
Fortunately there are alternative organizations that do beneficial work for the same cause through morally acceptable means. If you’re currently a Komen supporter and would like to divert your funds to an ethical breast cancer research organization, please consider the National Breast Cancer Foundation (nationalbreastcancer.org) and the Breast Cancer Prevention Institute (bcpinstitute.org).
Also, please keep in mind that Susan G. Komen for the Cure is far from the only disease-research organization that funds morally objectionable groups. Many well-known disease advocate groups support Planned Parenthood as well as embryonic stem cell research. Just to name a few: The American Cancer Society (including Relay for Life), Alzheimer’s Association, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, American Diabetes Association, American Heart Association and American Lung Association. For a comprehensive list of organizations, their positions on life issues, and alternative options, please visit www.all.org/charities