For those of you not staying current, I had suggested in my previous blog that Komen made its initial decision to defund Planned Parenthood without consideration of Planned Parenthood’s role as a premier abortion provider in America. Now that it has reversed itself on that decision some hindsight analysis is in order or to ask the old Lutheran question, “what does this mean?”
It IS About Women’s Health
Komen is in the business of finding a cure for cancer. They don’t seem to demonstrate any interest in abortion. I think they are turning a blind eye about the abortion-breast cancer connection and I also think they are overlooking the established carcinogenic effect of hormonal birth control – a staple of Planned Parenthood’s operation. Komen’s grants were for promoting breast cancer awareness and the value of regular checking through palpation or mammography. The fact of the matter is that Planned Parenthood educates on both and qualified for the funding because they do so.
Komen’s field is narrow. They are not advocating women’s rights, abortion, birth control, teenage promiscuity and all the things that we believe Planned Parenthood so shamelessly promotes. Komen just wants a cure for cancer and is addressing that component of women’s health.
Pro-life Community Misses the Point
Related to the above point, Komen is also not looking to cure Down’s syndrome, Huntington’s disease, macular degeneration or heart disease. Their field of interest is cancer and most specifically breast cancer. Other than the doctor’s office where else or who else is doing substantial work on breast cancer awareness? Like it or not Planned Parenthood has been able to prove that they do a sufficient amount of breast cancer education to qualify for support and I know of few other agencies that do – not the least of which is agencies of the pro-life community.
The problem that the pro-life community has is that we have allowed ourselves to be the criticizer without providing an alternative or a solution.
Think about it – Planned Parenthood gets a lot of money for its public health programs of providing mandated birth control services for indigent women. This bothers the Roman Catholic community which is traditionally opposed to artificial birth control. This bothers the conservative Christian community (which may possibly be more accepting of birth control within marriage) because it is dispensed to those sexually active outside of marriage. And, this is troublesome for the pro-life community because of the abortion connection with some forms of birth control.
So all we are left with is the role of criticizing. Counties have little option than to support their local Planned Parenthood affiliate because there are few if any viable alternatives. Until the law is changed – and I don’t see that happening anytime soon – these services must be provided and Planned Parenthood is front and center of all options to perform this service.
To effect change the pro-life community either has to get the law changed, find a way to cost-effectively compete with Planned Parenthood in this field, or do more educating about the value of human life from fertilization forward in the long-range hopes that it would lead to some sort of policy change either in legislation or in the conscience of Planned Parenthood.
The Neglect of Prudency
Komen’s official position is that they were trying not to fund agencies under investigation. That seemed like a rather odd reason because an investigation does not imply guilt. Whether politically motivated or not it would seem to be more prudent to withdraw funding if guilt were established.
In an interview that the head of Komen gave with Andrea Mitchell the investigation reason was barely mentioned. Rather, the representative said Komen was trying to move past the education phase and focus most specifically on diagnostic and treatment metrics. I got the impression that it was not enough to just refer for mammograms under their new granting program – they wanted to support those who are doing the mammograms so that the results and treatment can be tracked.
I commend Komen for wanting to refine its focus. I think it is time in their history to better focus on results.
I also think that if Komen felt Planned Parenthood no longer was meeting that refined granting criteria the more prudent thing would have been to wean Planned Parenthood from receiving annual grants over a period of time. They had already reduced the amount of its support from the previous year. Perhaps establishing a five year program of reducing their support would not have created the uproar.
It is a shame Komen could not or did not find an alternate recipient of its grants than Planned Parenthood. It compels many of us pro-life people to find other recipients for our cancer research support or to not try and do nothing. If it is at all possible to do cancer research without ethical complications than that is where the money should go.
It is also a shame that we in the pro-life community have not provided alternatives other than the expected shrill that is heard every time the name of Planned Parenthood is invoked.
On the positive side I think the episode revealed to more people that Planned Parenthood is more than just a space in the strip mall but that it has a direct, primary and offensive role in the industry of terminating the lives of unborn children.
In this increasingly permissive society the ultimate solution is education and hearts motivated to please God rather than ourselves. That happens when Christians share their faith and live their faith so that even when it is legal to kill someone – born or unborn – it is the least desired and never chosen selection of all options.