Komen breaks ties with Planned Parenthood


This story broke early Tuesday afternoon as I checked my FB feed and saw – no, not from a fellow pro-life Catholic – the story was linked up by one of my most pro-choice {and not to mention, agnostic} friends. I kind of chuckled to myself at the irony of finding out the victory from her, of all people.

As I linked up the story to various places and shared the news, it became evident that while the news itself is something to be commended and lauded as good news, the faithful would no doubt land on two sides of this victory; those who are optimistic, seeing no further reason to withhold financial support of Komen, avoiding the onslaught of pink and “save the tatas” slogans everywhere in the month of October, and those who are cautiously optimistic.

I have to admit, I was one of those who was initially elated at the news. Being the creator of Catholic Sistas, I immediately went into “current events” mode, grabbing the nearest contributor I could find on chat or private message to see what, if anything, we could put together on such a short notice. Two of my contributors, a mother/daughter duo are breast cancer survivors and have had much to say through the month of October when the pink onslaught was at its highest. Their cautious optimism served as a reminder that while the news is, yes, a huge victory for the pro-life movement, it is still not a 100% slam dunk for Catholics – realistically, nothing is. So…I pushed for a positive slant on the article that went live today documenting their feelings on the break between the two corporate giants, while addressing the very real concerns that we, as Catholics, face with organizations like these. It would be too easy {and a heckuva lot more fun} to just throw caution to the wind and be all “yippee” about this news, but the more we got down to the nitty gritty of the article, the more evident it became that the phrase “cautiously optimistic” was the direction we needed to take. Fortunately, the two views didn’t really oppose each other. It was easy to focus on the positive of a secular organization “seeing the light” while retaining the concerns for the faithful.

The two big concerns with Komen regarding Catholics after the split occurred, were its connection to stem cell research {which they have since publicly refuted since yesterday} and the promotion of oral contraception {read: two big no-no’s from a Catholic point of view}.

I started to focus on another way to celebrate this victory as news pundits started to speculate on whether this was a true split and whether it hinged only on the government investigation. For me, I looked at this as a kind of self-induced exposé on Komen’s part. If Komen decides to rescind the split and refund Planned Parenthood, the days of sticking their heads in the sand like an ostrich will no longer fly…excuse my pun. The fact that the two companies are and have been in bed with each other is no longer a question of “if” but a well-known fact. Prior to yesterday, it was an issue that was swept under the rug and largely ignored by the media.

One additional thing that has come to mind since the stink over Komen’s split has been evident on their Facebook fan page. Despite the obvious vitriol as demonstrated by folks who are outraged over Komen’s actions, it started to weigh on my mind exactly where this anger was coming from. And, I decided it had to be related not to the principle of the thing, or that they were actually pulling money from Planned Parenthood, but rather that it was a huge jab at the marketing and brand imaging of Planned Parenthood. Have you noticed how not a single Planned Parenthood representative has stated the difference in money that Komen gave vs. what the government gives? Let’s do some simple math. Komen gave roughly a half a million dollars to Planned Parenthood each year…the government gives over $350+ million dollars. In terms of funding, we are comparing apples to oranges. However, by the cries of the outraged on the SGK fan page, you’d think Komen sliced a major financial artery. No…I really think the outrage has little to do with money…or even the false impression that Planned Parenthood somehow has the corner market on women’s services {the very same services that Planned Parenthood provides – minus abortion, obviously – can be found at Lone Star Circle of Care}. Komen’s funding was a drop in the bucket compared to what Planned Parenthood gets from the government. By putting it in perspective, we can conclude that the outrage is not about money – though, if you are one for dramatics, you can go to Planned Parenthood’s website and see how they are playing the victim card and asking for donations to cover the gap in money lost by Komen, even going so far as to say Komen was the reason they were able to perform mammograms.

So, while we watch the news continue to unfold about this split, let us be ever mindful of our responsibilities as Catholics, upholding the dignity of all life. We can be excited about this news on a secular level, but our job of praying continues.

ETA: Since this post went live, Komen has since publicly rescinded their decision to pull funding from Planned Parenthood. Breaking news is extremely fluid at this point, and we want to encourage you to keep following news sources, both secular and Catholic news to stay up to date. 


  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003096443517 Dawn Watrous

    I think it’s more like comparing raisins to watermelons, in terms of the difference in the amount of funding. You’re absolutely right about the reason behind the reaction. I like to think people’s outrage, however, is our opportunity to educate people about the real financial status of Planned Parenthood, as well as how deceptively bills its services to ensure the abortions it performs are underreported, while the other services are overreported.