Komen Tries to Distance Itself From Abortion Debate

The Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation is still reeling after backlash from Planned Parenthood over its decision not to renew grants to the nation's number one abortion provider, and some are wondering if Komen is now trying to distance itself from the abortion issue altogether.

In an interview with The Huffington Post, Komen board member John D. Rafaelli, a Democratic lobbyist and Planned Parenthood supporter, said, "We don't want to be pro-choice or pro-life; we want to be pro-cure. We failed to keep abortion out of this, and we owe the people in the middle who only care about breast cancer and who have raised money for us an apology."

The breast cancer charity also recently released a statement, saying, "Our only goal for our granting process is to support women and families in the fight against breast cancer

Eric Scheidler, executive director of the Pro-Life Action League, told The Christian Post that Komen realized two things in the process of the controversy.

Number one was that "supporting Planned Parenthood automatically put them in middle of a culture war in the battle over abortion. Whatever Planned Parenthood claims, we all know they are an abortion company, and any group that collaborates with them is collaborating with abortion."

The second thing they realized is that being associated with Planned Parenthood is not a good partner for them, mainly because the abortion provider doesn't directly serve women at risk for breast cancer, and they don't provide mammograms, he said.

Scheidler told CP that from the perspective of the pro-life movement this story is really about how desperate Planned Parenthood is to keep a positive image. "Komen provides the veneer of helping women that Planned Parenthood needs," he noted.

The backlash has also sent a powerful signal to other corporate donors of Planned Parenthood. Scheidler said the message is: "Don't you dare consider cutting us off or we'll put you through the same firestorm that we did Komen."

The issue now, Scheidler said, is that "everyone is watching Komen. Will they renew those grants? If we see in 12 months' time they are renewed, we will know Komen has caved in."

The Komen foundation announced last week that it adopted new grant criteria barring funding to organizations that are under investigation by local, state or federal authorities. Planned Parenthood is currently the focus of a congressional investigation for possible misuse of taxpayer funds. After being hit with widespread criticism from abortion supporters, the cancer foundation said it would amend its policy to disqualify groups that are under investigations that are "criminal and conclusive in nature," thus making Planned Parenthood eligible again for future grants.

The decisions have drawn the ire of both abortion supporters and pro-life advocates.

But Jill Stanek, a pro-life blogger, doesn't think pro-life advocates should give up on Komen quite yet.

She stated, "If Planned Parenthood is found guilty of criminal investigations, several of which are ongoing around the states (Medicaid fraud in Texas and California; fraudulent reporting and illegal abortions in Kansas, and yes, the federal Congressional investigation, etc.), Komen's criteria will still disqualify Planned Parenthood from receiving grants."

Stanek also said the recent Komen statement about changing its criteria for grants is just their "attempt to get the abortion mafia off their backs. Planned Parenthood and its thugs have engaged in typical shakedown: Give us money or we will destroy you."
Douglas R. Scott, Jr., president of Life Decisions International, a Planned Parenthood watchdog, commented that "if Komen officials did not expect to face the wrath of Planned Parenthood and its media allies they were extremely naïve."

He said that in "1989 AT&T announced it would end 25 years of continuous support of Planned Parenthood. As a 'thank you' for past grants, Planned Parenthood paid for full-page ads in major newspapers and magazines that viciously attacked the company."

Gregory Kane of the Washington Examiner wrote that Komen executives "let themselves be bullied, kowtowed and intimidated" by Planned Parenthood, but that there was one good thing to come out of the backlash.

"Pro-abortion forces have exposed themselves for who they truly are," he said. "They don't just want unlimited abortion on demand for women and female minors for whatever reason at any stage of a pregnancy. They've shown that they feel they are entitled to anybody's and everybody's money to attain their ends."

Komen told CP that they were not taking any interviews at this time.

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