The Anti-Choice Backlash to Susan G. Komen

There’s been a huge media outcry over Susan G. Komen’s decision to cut off funding to most Planned Parenthood affiliates.  Set aside whatever you may think about the morality of abortion, or whether it should be legal, or whether you love or loathe Planned Parenthood.

Since money is fungible, the millions of dollars that Susan G. Komen has given to Planned Parenthood over the years has helped subsidize innumerable abortions, whether we want it to or not.  That’s just the way money works: if someone picks up the tab for dinner, you can use your dinner money to buy something else, like dessert.  Only in Planned Parenthood’s case, that money’s going towards abortion, not dessert.  And according to a recent Congressional investigation, PP may also have been using that money to violate a slew of laws.

Quite sensibly, pro-lifers who want to joint the fight against breast cancer are unhappy about this.  There should be a way to fight breast cancer without undermining the pro-life movement.  It’s just that simple. Certainly, a person can hate both cancer and abortion, right?

But it isn’t just that pro-lifers couldn’t donate to Komen without donating to Planned Parenthood.  It’s that all sorts of products, from Kellogg’s Cereal to Dannon yogurt to Quilted Northern toilet paper are connected with Komen.  So unless you were incredibly careful, picking up groceries resulted in money getting sent to Planned Parenthood.  I realize that this sounds indirect, but Kellogg alone has given Komen $11 million.  So in the aggregate, we’re talking about a huge transfer of wealth from consumers (many of whom are pro-life) buying everyday goods to Komen, and from Komen to Planned Parenthood.

If those who are for legalized abortion take the “pro-choice” label serious (rather than considering themselves “pro-abortion”), this should be troubling.  People who just want to buy cereal or fight breast cancer are being dragged into supporting Planned Parenthood against their will.  The response is that a number of pro-lifers responded by boycotting Komen, and any products supporting Komen.

What Komen’s done now is very simple:

  • Where there’s an alternative to Planned Parenthood, Komen is funding that alternative instead.  So the money is still going to fight against breast cancer.  It’s just going to less controversial providers.  So the Planned Parenthood claim that Komen is cutting off mammograms is a lie.  The mammograms will still happen . PP just won’t get their usual cut.
  • In fact, in many cases, the money will be better spent, because Komen will be paying for services directly, rather than paying for what are called pass-throughs.  Right now, Komen frequently pays PP for mammograms that PP doesn’t even provide — PP then pays someone else to actually do the work (essentially, sub-contracting the work). By paying these people directly, Komen’s just cutting Planned Parenthood out as a middle-man.  If we’re really concerned about money going to fight breast cancer, that’s a good thing, right?
  • In areas where the only provider of breast cancer services is Planned Parenthood, Planned Parenthood still gets the money.  The three areas where this is the case are Northern Colorado, Waco, Texas, and Orange County, California.
  • In the process, Komen becomes substantially more attractive to pro-life consumers and donors.  

So just to recap: Komen isn’t slowing down the flow of money to fight breast cancer; and nobody is stopping pro-choicers from donating to Planned Parenthood as much as they please.  Komen’s not even cutting all ties to Planned Parenthood.  Everything it’s done is completely sensible, regardless of one’s views on Planned Parenthood or abortion.

Given this, the response has been ridiculous.  Top Susan G. Komen officials have resigned in protest, and panicked pro-choicers have given hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations, with huge donations by the 1%:

Michael Bloomberg

Planned Parenthood Federation of American received $400,000 from 6,000 donors as of Feb. 1, said Shawn Rhea, a spokeswoman, and the group said yesterday pledges were coming at such a pace they couldn’t immediately update the amount. Three large donors also surfaced: The Amy and Lee Fikes’ Foundation, run by the head of closely held Bonanza Oil Co. in Dallas, promised $250,000; New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said he would match the next $250,000; and Credo, a phone company, pledged $200,000.

Meanwhile, boycotts of Komen (and of all of the companies who donate to Komen) are being formed, and even a former Komen board member is now trying to get people to stop donating to the cause.  So more money to Planned Parenthood, and less money to fight breast cancer.  Am I the only one who finds this response insane, even for those who are for legalized abortion?

One of the editoralists for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution has noted that this is egregious behavior:

To act as if stopping the funding is any more “political” than the original decision to begin the funding is absurd. 

If you disagree, tell me this: How exactly could Komen have decided to part ways with Planned Parenthood [t]hat wouldn’t have been decried as “political”? Having giv[en] to Planned Parenthood once, was Komen bound either to continue giving forever or to suffer a smear campaign by Planned Parenthood and its supporters once it stopped? 

If so, that’s not advising Komen to “stay out of politics.” It’s mob-style blackmail. Nice little charity you’ve got there. Shame if anything happened to it.

So if Komen won’t give huge amounts of money to the nation’s largest (and extremely profitable) abortion provider, breast cancer suffers.

Now, the obvious objection is that pro-lifers did the same thing, right? Wrong.  If the Komen foundation started funding Operation Rescue or a similarly avidly pro-life organization, I’d completely understand why pro-choicers wouldn’t want their breast cancer donations going there.  I’d disagree, but I’d understand it.  But that’s not what’s happening.  Komen’s simply trying to get out of abortion politics, and make themselves a charity that anyone can support, regardless of their views on abortion.

Today, the side calling itself pro-choice has made it clear that Komen support the nation’s largest abortion provider or else.  They’re trying to twist the arm of the breast-cancer charity into “donating.”  Already, numerous members of Congress have applied pressured to Komen to try to force them to reverse their decision, and the Susan G. Komen website was hacked.  This is not pro-choice.  It’s anti-choice, and pro-abortion.

Update: Komen Stupak’d.  Sad to see.

Update 2: Maybe not? News reports are mixed as to what Komen’s stance is on Planned Parenthood right now. Guess we’ll just have to wait and see.


  1. And now it doesn’t even matter, because it appears that Komen caved into all the bullying and restored the grants. So sad. I wasn’t sold on donating to them, even after they rescinded the PP grants, but now they’ve destroyed all credibility. Very sad.

  2. Not surprising at all. If one is at the forefront of the Great Abortion Holocaust — Five USD says that’s what history books will call it in about 150 or so years time. — then you’ll need all the help you can get, and woe unto those who try to get rescind their help.

    It’s like with street gangs: They make the new guy(s) kill someone to get into the gang, and at that point, they are slaves to evil, and they know they can’t turn back, and if they do, everyone else in the gang will be gunning for them.

    It’s the same with abortion, they can’t really and truly think and analyze about what they’re doing/supporting, so they have to keep the facade up, and if you try to get out, then all hell breaks loose.

    I’m reminded of the saying: “He who sups with the devil should have a long spoon.”

    If you get tangled up with evil, it’ll be almost impossible to untangle yourself short of help from the Almighty.

  3. Agreed. James Taranto had great column addressing it:

    “Planned Parenthood’s bitter campaign against Komen–aided by left-liberal activists and media–is analogous to a protection racket: Nice charity you’ve got there. It’d be a shame if anything happened to it. The message to other Planned Parenthood donors is that if they don’t play nice and keep coughing up the cash, they’ll get the Komen treatment.

    There’s one crucial difference, however. In a real-life protection racket, the victim never pays voluntarily. The threat is present from the get-go. By contrast, Komen presumably was not under any duress when it made its grants–and it could have avoided all this nasty publicity by never dealing with Planned Parenthood in the first place.

    Thus smart prospective donors–especially ones that are apolitical, like Komen–are getting the message that supporting Planned Parenthood is a trap. Give once, and you will give again–or else you will pay.”

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