Saturday, February 04, 2012

The Politics of Abortion and the Komen Donations

"When women speak out, women win", said Rep Nancy Pelosi, (D-CA) after the latest statement from Nancy Brinker on behalf of the Susan G. Komen foundation. As usual, Pelosi misses the point. No one person has done more for women's health care than Nancy Brinker, yet to hear the liberals on Capitol Hill, she's the enemy of women everywhere.

Planned Parenthood gets between 25% to 30% of its operating budget from the federal government. It is a sacred cow of the liberal activists in this country. It is also a gem for low income women and women without medical insurance of all or of no political persuasion. About 10% of its overall services involve abortions. For that 10% of services, the most strident of social conservatives would like for them to be shut down. Not just lose federal funding, but to ultimately be shut down. This would, in fact, do a disservice to those in need of all the other services Planned Parenthood offers.

A troubling example of political overreach was seen as the drama between Planned Parenthood and Susan G. Komen foundation played out. That overreach involved elected officials freely rushing to microphones and television cameras to proclaim their disapproval of the denial of grant renewals by Komen to Planned Parenthood.

The fact is, Komen had only been issuing these grants in 2010 and in 2011 and no current grant was discontinued. Only those up for renewal were reconsidered. Many local affiliates saw no change in services at all. Komen deals with breast health and breast cancer research. Period. That's it. They apparently wanted to step away from any perceived political involvements and also were implementing the policy of not supporting organizations under federal investigation. This is all perfectly within the realm of good business practices. Remember that Komen is a private foundation. They are not under obligation to bow to the whims of liberal political agenda.

When did this become acceptable behavior - for an elected official, paid by the taxpayer, to bully a private organization about grant decisions?
The Wall Street Journal points to the hypocrisy of politicians like New York Mayor Bloomberg jumping into the fray while bleating that politics "has no place in health care".

'Politics have no place in health care," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in a statement Thursday. That pronouncement may strike New Yorkers, who've spent a decade complying with Mr. Bloomberg's nanny-state mandates on smoking and trans-fats, as ironic. Most recently, his administration has come under fire for using fake photos of diabetic amputees in subway ads about the dangers of sweetened beverages.

But Mr. Bloomberg was referring to the one area of "health care" that he believes should be left to individual choice: abortion. He announced a personal donation of $250,000 to Planned Parenthood, America's leading abortion provider, in response to a breast cancer charity's decision not to renew its six-figure grants to the group.

Apart from the brutal lesson in the intolerance of abortion advocates, the larger principle at stake is the right of a charity to donate to whomever it likes, for whatever reason it likes. Mr. Bloomberg is free to do whatever he wants with his money. But it is to his great discredit that he would join a campaign to smear Komen for exercising exactly the same right.

I think both sides lost in this drama. Planned Parenthood was shown in a very harsh light and looks like a bully over what was very small financial support, in comparison to the very large annual operating budget in which they operate. This was all about politics for them and they had the advantage of a very willing media and liberal politicians to get their message out. Deliberately misleading stories ran in print and on the air against Susan G. Komen foundation.

Nancy Brinker lost the battle of public opinion. She looks like a wishy washy leader right now and that is a shame. She is a very strong, hard working woman who started this foundation in memory of her sister who died of breast cancer. The foundation has raised millions of dollars for research and has historically stayed out of politics. The lives of women are saved every day thanks to the efforts of the Komen foundation.

This grant loss by Planned Parenthood was deliberately told to the press. Komen intended to tighten up their policies without publicity. Most people were not even aware that Planned Parenthood received any money from the foundation. The political left in this country knows how to work an issue and play victim, whether that storyline is true or not. The media is more than happy to accommodate them.

Planned Parenthood performs a basic manual breast exam. If any need arises for further tests, a referral is issued to the patient. They do not do mammograms or any specialized testing at their facilities. Breast health is not their primary function. It is, however, the primary function of the Susan G. Komen foundation. To demonize Komen for outreach with Planned Parenthood is not the right thing to do. Grant monies have to be used in the specific manner in which they were awarded. Komen didn't provide grant monies for abortions.

Breast cancer is not a political issue, it is a health issue. Women of all walks of life, all political affiliations, all economic classes, are affected by breast cancer. If a woman is not fighting the disease herself, she certainly knows a friend or loved one who is or has done so.

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