New York Times reporters Gardiner Harris and Pam Belluck passed on the outrage of pro-choice groups to news that the Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation, which fights breast cancer, is cutting financial support to Planned Parenthood in the wake of bad publicity and a congressional investigation. The Times reporters seemed pretty outraged about it themselves in Thursday's “Uproar as Breast Cancer Group Ends Partnership With Planned Parenthood.”
The Times helped push the story with two pro-Planned Parenthood images; a ridiculous-looking posed shot of three pro-abortion activists in Richmond, Va., trying a Twitter campaign to boycott Komen, and an anti-Komen satirical liberal greeting already making the rounds on the left side of the web. While the reporters found "conservative women" that supported Komen's move, there was no liberal label for Planned Parenthood acolytes, who were merely "prominent women’s groups, politicians and public health advocates."
Pink ribbons have for decades been a symbol of resolve and compassion in the face of the deadly disease of breast cancer. Now, that nearly ubiquitous icon has many women seeing red.
When the nation’s largest breast cancer advocacy organization considered in October cutting off most of its financial support to the nation’s largest abortion provider, the breast cancer group was hoping for a quiet end to an increasingly controversial partnership.
Instead, the organization, the Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation, is now engulfed in a controversy that threatens to undermine one of the most successful advocacy campaigns. The foundation’s decision to eliminate most of its grants to Planned Parenthood for breast cancer screening caused a cascade of criticism from prominent women’s groups, politicians and public health advocates and a similarly strong outpouring of support from conservative women and religious groups that oppose abortion.
Now, leaders of both the Komen foundation and Planned Parenthood are accusing each other of bad faith and actions that undermine women. And two organizations dedicated to detecting and curing breast cancer have found themselves on opposite sides of the nation’s divisive debate over abortion.
After an explanation that Planned Parenthood is the subject of a congressional investigation by Republican Rep. Cliff Stearns, the group morphed from an “abortion provider” to a “health services provider” within one paragraph, as Times reporters accused congress of conducting a "partisan investigation," while taking the group's word that "Only a small percentage of Planned Parenthood’s expenditures go toward abortion services."
So the Komen board voted that all of its vendors and grantees must certify that they are not under investigation by federal, state or local authorities. But for Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider, being the target of partisan investigations is part of doing business. So Komen’s new rule effectively ended their long partnership and seemed to the health services provider an unacceptable betrayal of their common mission to save women’s lives.
Dawn Laguens, an executive vice president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said that Komen’s money had over the years underwritten breast cancer screenings for 170,000 women, some of whose lives were saved as a result. She said she had no sympathy for Komen’s attempt to mollify donors by ending its relationship with a controversial provider of women’s health services. Only a small percentage of Planned Parenthood’s expenditures go toward abortion services.
Wait. The Times just identified Planned Parenthood as “the nation’s largest abortion provider.” Doesn’t that render the "percentage of expenditures" talking point irrelevant?
Not until paragraph 18 of the 21-paragraph story does the Times locate a source happy with Komen’s decision, and that’s quickly balanced out with more liberal outrage.
Foes of abortion and Web sites critical of it have criticized the Komen foundation’s financing of Planned Parenthood for years. The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. Louis and several bishops in Ohio issued statements last year raising concerns about donating to the Komen foundation. In December, LifeWay Christian Resources, which is owned by the Southern Baptist Convention, said it was recalling a pink Bible it was selling because a dollar per copy was going to the Komen foundation.
“We are very grateful Susan G. Komen for the Cure will no longer fund Planned Parenthood affiliates,” said Thom S. Rainer, president of LifeWay.
Pleas to boycott or defend Susan G. Komen for the Cure over its decision to pull money from Planned Parenthood poured onto Web sites like Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr on Wednesday, as activists both amateur and professional urged action.
“Susan Komen would not give in to bullies or to fear,” Judy Blume, the children’s book author, said in a Twitter post. “Too bad the foundation bearing her name did.”