Susan G. Komen For the Cure has announced that it will stop funneling money to Planned Parenthood, ending a years-long partnership between the two organizations that provided mammograms and related services to low income women. But what accounts for the Komen Foundation's sudden change of heart? Surprisingly, it seems that the pressure may not have come from external sources, but from within the Foundation itself.
The Susan G. Komen Foundation's official line is that they didn't end their relationship with Planned Parenthood in response to relentless bullying from pro-life groups, but because the family planning organization is currently under investigation by Congress. They have a rule, you see, that bars them from contributing to organizations that are under investigation at the local, state, or federal level.
Interestingly, this brand new rule that suddenly appeared in the books of the Komen Foundation just so happened to coincide with a Congressional investigation launched by a Republican legislator, who himself was pressured by the pro-life group Americans United for Life. And last year's assault on Planned Parenthood also coincided with the addition of a vocally anti-abortion ex-politician to the ranks of Susan G Komen For the Cure.
Karen Handel, who was endorsed by Sarah Palin during her unsuccessful bid for governor of Georgia in 2010, has been the Foundation's Senior Vice President for Public Policy since April 2011. During her gubernatorial candidacy, she ran on an anti-choice platform, vowing that if elected, she'd defund Planned Parenthood. Handel wrote on her campaign blog,
I will be a pro-life governor who will work tirelessly to promote a culture of life in Georgia…. I believe that each and every unborn child has inherent dignity, that every abortion is a tragedy, and that government has a role, along with the faith community, in encouraging women to choose life in even the most difficult of circumstances…. since I am pro-life, I do not support the mission of Planned Parenthood.
She even promised to eliminate funding for breast and cervical cancer screenings provided by the organization.
How curious! A person with what looks like a personal vendetta against Planned Parenthood joins the ranks of an organization that provides funding to Planned Parenthood, and soon, that organization "defunds" Planned Parenthood. But surely this couldn't be about Handel's personal feelings. According to Komen, this is about rule following. Protocol.
If you believe that, I believe there's a bridge in Arizona you may be interested in buying.
But other forces besides Karen Handel may be at work here. Komen's relationship with Planned Parenthood has been on the radar of anti-choice groups since the two organizations began their relationship in 2005. Last year, a shipment of pink Bibles were recalled after the publishing house behind them realized that by supporting Komen, they were kinda sorta supporting mammograms for poor women who received services from Planned Parenthood and thus kinda sorta supporting abortions, which is totally consistent with how "pro life" groups also make extra careful sure that none of their money goes to support "pro death" things like war or sweatshops or poverty or animal cruelty. Pro-life groups are always nice and consistant like that.
According to Planned Parenthood, the group received $680,000 in grants from the Komen Foundation last year and $580,000 the year before. A wealthy donor in Texas has already offered to donate $250,000 to make up for part of the loss stemming from the flight of the fluffy pink cowards, but the family planning organization is scrambling to make up the rest.
At any rate, the lesson we can learn from all of this is that if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. And then defund 'em and lie about why you did it.