Thursday, February 2, 2012

Komen announcement signifies hope, specter remains

In recent days, the Susan G Komen for the Cure Foundation has rocked the breast cancer research world, and many of their own supporters. Komen, the largest grant provider in the nation for breast cancer research, announced that it would no longer fund Planned Parenthood, an organization under investigation by Congress for alleged malfeasance of Federal funds to support abortion and lack of proper oversight of criminal conduct. This announcement received a backlash of commentary on their Facebook page and via email from Planned Parenthood supporters decrying Komen's decision; some using language that would make a sailor blush.

Quietly, and amidst the storm created by the Planned Parenthood response, the organization also halted it funding for embryonic stem cell research issuing this statement. According to the Lifesitenews story, it is only available at their site because it and the original Planned Parenthood statement have been removed from the Susan G. Komen for the Cure website .

In their place is this statement from Susan G. Komen for the Cure:

We are dismayed and extremely disappointed that actions we have taken to strengthen our granting process have been widely mischaracterized.  It is necessary to set the record straight.     
Starting in 2010, Komen began an initiative to help us do a better job of measuring the impact of community grants. This is important because we invest significant dollars in our local community programs--$93 million in 2011, which provided for 700,000 breast health screenings and diagnostic procedures.  
Following this review, we made the decision to implement stronger performance criteria for our grantees to minimize duplication and free up dollars for direct services to help vulnerable women.  To support this new granting strategy, Komen has also implemented more stringent eligibility standards to safeguard donor dollars.  Consequently, some organizations are no longer eligible to receive Komen grants.
Some might argue that our standards are too exacting, but over the past three decades people have given us more than just their money.  They have given us their trust  and we take that responsibility very seriously.
We regret that these new policies have impacted some longstanding grantees, such as Planned Parenthood, but want to be absolutely clear that our grant-making decisions are not about politics.  Throughout our 30 year history, our priority has always been and will continue to be the women we serve.  As we move forward, we are working to ensure that there is no interruption or gaps in services for the women who need our support most in the fight against breast cancer.

Komen clarifies its position of fiscal responsibility to provide the greatest impact on breast cancer research and assistance for screening of the more vulnerable women in our society. Komen  dispels any misconception that this decision is politically motivated.

Whether intending to or not, this announcement touches upon the most sensitive of political hot button topics: abortion and embryonic stem cell research. No matter how savvy the the spin on this announcement, Komen must confront the angry left with regard to this decision, many of whom have stated they will pull their support from the organization.

Prolife organizations and news outlets have been lauding Susan G. Komen for their bold move and encouraging their supporters and readers to contact Komen to voice their enthusiasm and make a donation. With an effective and organized prolife base rallied in support and concerned about true "health care" for women, Komen may see a positive impact on their current giving figures from a new pool of private donors. 

Planned Parenthood, distressed by the news, will have to make up for the shortfall in grants that Komen had previously provided. According to a story in the Washington Post, Planned Parenthood will have no trouble replacing Komen's funding. Already they have, "reportedly already raised $250,000 on news of Komen’s decision" leaving them approximately $330,000 short of Komen's grant funding last year.

Of concern is how Planned Parenthood will find the revenue from the remaining lost funding. Abby Johnson, author of unPlanned, former Planned Parenthood Director clearly maintains in an article for Lifesitenews:
An abortion is expensive. Its cost includes pay for the doctor, supporting medical staff, their health benefits packages and malpractice insurance.  As clinic director, I saw how money affiliate clinics receive from several sources is combined into one pot, not set aside for specific services.
When revenue needs to increase, the pressure goes us to increase the number of abortions. Abortions make money. In relating the figures for abortion services provided to their clients in a February 2011 document, Planned Parenthood reported a 2.3% increase in the number of abortions according to Johnson. In the same article she reports that the number of abortions has increased each year since 2006.

While Susan G. Komen for the Cure should and must be praised for upholding their new stricter standards for scrupulous management of grant funding and the cessation of funding to Planned Parenthood and embryonic stem cell research, the specter of the Planned Parenthood abortion as a significant means of revenue model and research using embryonic stem cells still exists.

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