UPDATE at 11:25 a.m.: Well, the pro-abortion rights folks’ politicization of this decision had its intended effect: The Komen organization is, at least in part, backing off its earlier decision. Congratulations, Planned Parenthood: You’ve officially turned a leader in breast cancer research into another of your subordinates.
Let this be a warning to any group thinking of teaming up with Planned Parenthood in the future: You can check in any time you like, but you can never leave.
The founder and head of Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure did an interview with the Washington Post that casts the cancer-fighting organization’s highly charged decision to stop funding Planned Parenthood in a different light. For starters, Komen isn’t really stopping its funding of Planned Parenthood, just sharply curtailing it: Komen will give grants to just three Planned Parenthood clinics rather than the previous 19. CEO Nancy Brinker explained the change this way: “We have decided not to fund, wherever possible, pass-through grants. We were giving [some of] them money, they were sending women out for mammograms. What we would like to have are clinics where we can directly fund mammograms.”
Whether that dampens the excitement of anti-abortion activists who’d cheered the decision remains to be seen. Judging by the comments below the Post’s story, however, pro-abortion rights activists aren’t going to accept this rationale any more than the initial explanation that Komen wouldn’t support organizations that are under investigation. This decision has already become as hyper-politicized as anything relating to abortion.
That’s the real story here. I can think of no organization, beyond political parties themselves, that is more politicized than Planned Parenthood. That’s because no issue is more politicized than abortion, and Planned Parenthood provides one in four abortions in this country. Nor are we talking about a shy political operator: During the past two decades, it has spent almost $31 million on campaign contributions and another $6.5 million on lobbying to push its cause (and, one assumes, keep government funding flowing).
Anything done in regard to Planned Parenthood, then, is bound to be deemed “political” by someone. It’s “political” for governments, or organizations like Komen, to give money to Planned Parenthood. It therefore becomes “political” for any entity to stop giving money to Planned Parenthood.
To act as if stopping the funding is any more “political” than the original decision to begin the funding is absurd.
If you disagree, tell me this: How exactly could Komen have decided to part ways with Planned Parenthood what wouldn’t have been decried as “political”? Having giving to Planned Parenthood once, was Komen bound either to continue giving forever or to suffer a smear campaign by Planned Parenthood and its supporters once it stopped?
If so, that’s not advising Komen to “stay out of politics.” It’s mob-style blackmail. Nice little charity you’ve got there. Shame if anything happened to it.
Planned Parenthood and its supporters are right about one thing: Fighting breast cancer shouldn’t be “political.” There are plenty of truly apolitical organizations and public agencies through which Komen can effectively work. But now that Komen has decided that working with Planned Parenthood isn’t the best way to achieve its goals, the supposedly anti-”political” types seem determined to make sure Komen is considered “political” from now on. And that’s a far worse sin than anything Komen committed by stopping funding to 16 clinics.
At its heart, this episode is about the broader movement to make everything “political”: the personal, the private, everything. This movement is primarily a cause of those on the progressive left, including a great many supporters of Planned Parenthood, who see no limits on what ought to be the sphere of government and, thus, politics. So, spare me the tears about a “political” action against little ol’ Planned Parenthood.
(Note: Normally, my first post on a Friday is a Poll Position question, and I was originally going to make the Komen decision the subject of today’s post. Then I decided I wanted to make a stronger statement of my own opinion on this story. A Poll Position post about a different topic will be posted later today.)
– By Kyle Wingfield