Mar 01

Some big questions have demonstrably true answers. But when they don’t fit powerful narratives, some powerful people are making the questions irrelevant.

Or coming up with pragmatic answers, you know, whatever works at the moment to dodge the truth.

As the Planned Parenthood president just did this week, saying that when life begins is not really relevant to the abortion debate.

“It is not something that I feel is really part of this conversation,” Cecile Richards of Planned Parenthood told Fusion’s Jorge Ramos on Thursday. “I don’t know if it’s really relevant to the conversation.”

When pressed, Richards said that in her view life began for her three children when she delivered them.

She explained that the purpose of her organization is not to answer a question that “will be debated through the centuries,” but to provide options for pregnant women.

People who choose to deny the facts may find them debatable or beyond their ability to debate, or just reduce them to an incoherent diversion.

But it is not debatable when life begins. It is scientific fact.

Planned Parenthood’s Cecile Richards dodging the question of human life by saying it’s irrelevant to the abortion debate is seriously dishonest and disingenuous, at best. It provides the occasion to recall former abortionist Dr. Bernard Nathanson, one of the original architects of the abortion movement in America, telling the story behind the lies and deceptions for many years after his conversion. Late in his life, in a dramatic effort to help secure legislation in South Dakota that would strengthen informed consent laws, he made this video admission that as one of the original founders of NARAL, they made up the numbers and the ‘facts’, to ‘save abortion at all costs.’

His lesson about the importance of devising and driving a narrative “at all costs” applies to the whole choice movement, and Richards’ response reveals where incoherence inevitably leads.

It happens in other kinds of politics, too often. Remember Hillary Clinton facing a congressional task force inquiry into what really happened in the notorious Benghazi attacks, finally and angrily shouting ‘what difference does it make?

Political commentator Charles Krauthammer says there’s all the difference.

There’s a difference between the truth and a lie. The difference is that people in high office with public trust ought not lie. And if it was a lie, for whatever political or other reason, it shouldn’t have happened, and the administration itself should have traced it down and corrected it. And they didn’t. And that’s what is disturbing and remains disturbing.

And some people are still seeking the truth about that.

Ans, as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. taught, there is an eternal truth, and it applies to all social issues. And those who seek it will find it.

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May 01

Revelations about the abortion industry are coming out at a new pace now and in greater detail than ever. It’s forcing a very public confrontation with the truth about abortion and getting people talking as some never have before. The cover-ups are getting uncovered, and Big Abortion is getting unprecedented exposure.

They got plenty of that at the Democratic National Convention last summer, which celebrated abortion as we’ve never seen in American politics. But that’s the kind of exposure the industry wants. What’s going on now is new for them and the American public and the connected global universe tuned in, and nearly 40 years after Roe, we’re finally talking about and looking at abortion in its raw reality.

It’s been sort of a perfect storm, what’s happened in the past few weeks to precipitate an unprecedented public and even media confrontation with the whole issue of abortion. The trial of infamous abortionist Kermit Gosnell finally made the news when Kirsten Powers, a “Democratic strategist” and liberal commentator started calling out the media on it, and savvy pro-life people launched a grassroots social networking campaign to shame the media into paying attention to crimes against humanity they’d known about for years now on full display in court.

This case took years to come to trial. To call that a travesty is a ridiculous understatement. The authorities in the state of Pennsylvania passed off on checking this and other abortion clinics for years and years. This Atlantic article details it all, from the grand jury report.

Members of Congress heard from their constituents about why Congress was doing nothing to address the abortion scandals and horrors, and a coalition of those members acted on it.

A Planned Parenthood lobbyist testified that the fate of a baby born alive after an abortion attempt is still at the mercy of the woman and doctor who started the process, which is admitting acceptance of de facto infanticide.

The president of the United States addressed Planned Parenthood’s national conference, promised them his fidelity, micharacterized women’s healthcare, and and ended by invoking God’s blessing on the abortion giant.

And then the amazing Live Action investigative team began releasing their new series of undercover videos showing the practice of late term abortion in some clinics, and their inhumane attitude towards what an abortion terminates and what happens if a baby survives still alive. We’re talking about abortion alright, and we need to keep talking about it.

One of the things the Live Action videos showed is that Gosnell is not the exception the abortion industry claimed when they finally couldn’t avoid addressing the horrors of his particular clinic. He’s not an outlier as Planned Parenthood claimed.

Abortion rights advocates have asserted that Gosnell was an “extreme outlier” and opposed legislation to increase regulation of Pennsylvania abortion clinics as they have in other states. But how could they possibly know that this is an aberration?

Last week, Ohio officials shut down an abortion clinic after inspectors found that a medical assistant administered narcotics to five patients, that narcotics and powerful sedatives weren’t properly accounted for, that pharmacy licenses had expired and that four staff members hadn’t been screened for a communicable disease.

This month, a Delaware TV station reported that two Planned Parenthood nurses resigned in protest over conditions at a clinic there. One nurse, Jayne Mitchell-Werbrich, said, “It was just unsafe. I couldn’t tell you how ridiculously unsafe it was.”…

Last month, Maryland officials shut down three abortion clinics, two for failings in their equipment and training to deal with life-threatening complications.

Last year, an Associated Press investigation found that Illinois hadn’t inspected some abortion clinics for 10 to 15 years. After state health officials reinvigorated their clinic inspections in the wake of Gosnell, inspectors closed two clinics, including one fined for “failure to perform CPR on a patient who died after a procedure,” according to AP.

Such problems wouldn’t be a shock to Pennsylvania state Rep. Margo Davidson, the only member of the Democratic black caucus to vote for the abortion-regulation bill passed there. She told me, “We don’t know how many (Gosnells) there are. I’m not trying to overturn Roe v. Wade, but if a woman makes this difficult choice, she should at least be afforded the highest level of care.” She said the choice community knew what was going on and did nothing.

Take note of that. The so-called “choice community knew what was going on and did nothing.” That shouldn’t slip by too easily.

Indeed, the grand jury found that the National Abortion Federation inspected Gosnell’s clinic, refused to certify him, but didn’t tell anyone. Pennsylvania Planned Parenthood representative Dayle Steinberg has admitted that its officials knew the clinic was unsafe after women complained. What did they do? “We would always encourage them to report it to the Department of Health.”

Davidson concluded that for the choice community, “the institution was more important than the individual lives.” Davidson knows firsthand what can happen when people choose to look the other way: Her 22-year-old cousin died after an abortion at Gosnell’s clinic. (emphasis added)

What can happen “when people choose to look the other way.” Choice has consequences. They have to be reckoned with at some point.

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Jun 02

More frequently these days, news stories sound just Orwellian.

Like this CNN piece: ‘House debates abortion ban for sex of fetus.’ Really?

One of the most divisive issues in politics is set to take center stage in Congress on Thursday as the House of Representatives votes on a measure banning abortions based on the sex of a fetus.

Have we really descended to that?

Supporters characterize the proposal as a necessary defense of the civil rights of unborn children; opponents consider it part of a broader so-called “war on women” and an ongoing assault on legalized abortion.

Full stop.

Somebody has got to stop this “war on women” nonsense before it’s taken more seriously, or allowed to be hijacked as a concept taken even remotely seriously, rather than the transparent political strategy it has become since the announcement of the HHS mandate.

So back to the ‘abortion ban on gender selection’ story…Opponents ‘consider it part of a broader war on women’? Who are they worried about? The mother who gets an abortion or the baby girl whose life is terminated?

That House measure failed to pass, believe it or not.

A bill to outlaw abortions based on a child’s gender received a strong majority of votes in the U.S. House of Representatives Thursday but failed to gain the two-thirds margin of support needed for passage.

The House voted 246-168 in favor of H.R. 3541, known as the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act (PRENDA)…

The bill would make it a federal offense to knowingly perform a sex-selection abortion or coerce a woman into such a procedure, or to transport a woman across state lines or into the United States to obtain a sex-selection abortion. The woman herself is not liable for prosecution.

President Obama had announced his opposition to the measure a day earlier, claiming that the bill would result in “subject[ing] doctors to criminal prosecution if they fail to determine” a sex-selection motivation. The National Right to Life Committee criticized the excuse by pointing out that the bill explicitly bars requiring abortionists “to inquire as to the motivation for the abortion” if it were unknown to them.

The AP explained it bluntly.

The House on Thursday fell short in an effort to ban abortions based on the sex of the fetus as Republicans and Democrats made an election-year appeal for women’s votes.

The legislation would have made it a federal crime to perform or force a woman to undergo a sex-based abortion, a practice most common in some Asian countries where families wanting sons abort female fetuses…

“It is violence against women,” said Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., of abortions of female fetuses. “This is the real war on women.”

More here, and more to come.

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Apr 09

Some people are getting a lot of traction out of this. In spite of its contrivance as an election year strategy. 

Which became a trendy meme parroted in media. Take the Economist, for example, which is lamentable since it’s usually so much more sensible. Lexington ran this column.

It is also a mistake to assume that women’s preferences are driven only by hot-button issues such as abortion and contraception, which Mr Santorum has driven so unhelpfully up the news agenda. Polls show that women lean towards the Democrats for many other reasons. They are, for instance, likelier to believe in activist government and stronger regulation. On abortion, it turns out, men and women have similar attitudes. Just over half of both sexes think it should be legal in all or most cases, and about 43% think it should be illegal in all or most cases.

There’s so much wrong with that paragraph, better to just let it stand on its own.

Yet it is hard to believe that the Republicans’ problem with women has not been aggravated by Mr Santorum’s obsession with who is doing what to whom in the bedroom, or by Mr Romney’s promise to defund Planned Parenthood, the organisation on which millions of poor women depend for family planning (including abortion), or by the antics of Republican state legislatures. In recent months newspapers have carried startling reports about Republican-governed states pushing women who seek early abortions to have a probe inserted into their vaginas, in order to provide an image of the unborn child, in the hope that the picture will change their minds.

So let’s see… One shot aims to ridicule, simplify and demonize Sen. Santorum. So would the equal and opposite be true by saying that Mr. Obama has an obsession with contraception and abortion? Rhetorical question… Another shot, this one at Mr. Romney, overlooks the decades long serious efforts in Congress to stop throwing hefty sums of taxpayer funds at the highly profitable abortion giant Planned Parenthood, portrayed here as the salvation of millions of poor women looking for benevolent family planning, whatever that term has come to mean, in addition to the ultimate extreme of abortion, which means no family and no planning.

Then there’s the rest of that paragraph, those “startling reports about Republican-governed states pushing women who seek early abortions to have a probe inserted into their vaginas,  in order to provide an image of the unborn child, in the hope that the picture will change their minds.” Besides the obvious partisan political nature of the shot, there’s the crassness and dishonesty of the rest of it. A few points…One: Exactly how does the abortionist go about the business of eliminating that “unborn child” without a far more violating instrument into the woman? Two: Some state laws, like one proposed in Illinois for instance, aim to offer women the option to see an ultrasound, which she may choose or decline, which may be done non-invasively. And Three: The reason is to provide women fully informed consent, so they, you know, can make a choice. Who benefits if they can’t change their minds? Who’s trying to avoid giving women a choice to make up their minds?

And what is this “politics of women” business? What does it mean? Who does it speak for? Are feminists okay with Lexington’s derogatory remarks here? Kudos for getting two things right, “the snake pit of politics” that targeted Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin for sexist media coverage. Right on, there. But perhaps Lexington isn’t familiar with Susan B. Anthony women in politics.

As long as media beat this drum, there are fortunately other voices to meet the challenge, willing to parse truth from nonsense.

New Hampshire Republican senator Kelly Ayotte, who endorsed Romney and campaigned with him before the Granite State’s GOP primary, stresses in an interview that Romney’s message will ultimately prove appealing to women.

The issues that matter most to women voters are also the issues that play to Romney’s strength, Ayotte notes. Above all, she says, women are concerned about the unemployment rate: They want to make sure they and their families have good jobs. Like everyone else, women want a strong economy. The other top two issues Ayotte lists for women: gas prices and the debt…

Ayotte pushes back against the Democratic notion that the GOP is waging a “war on women,” as supposedly evident in the party’s position on various issues, such as opposition to the requirement that employers at religious institutions provide insurance coverage for birth control, including sterilization and abortion-inducing pills.
 
“They make a mistake when they think women are a monolithic group,” Ayotte says. “Women have diverse opinions on these issues.” She points to a USA Today/Gallup poll of battleground states in which women ranked government policies on birth control as the sixth most important issue to them this election, behind health care, gas prices, unemployment, the national debt/deficit, and international affairs. Democrats want to push the “war on women” storyline because they think it will work well for them, Ayotte says. “But at the end of the day, women have very different opinions, and they’re going to vote on a broad array of issues.”
 
Republican pollster Kellyanne Conway agrees that Democrats’ strong push on their liberal social policies could backfire. “It presupposes that women care, discuss, and vote only according to those issues,” she says, referring to contraception and abortion. That premise, she adds, “insults women.”

Yes it does. Colleen Carroll Campbell puts it this way:

In honor of Women’s History Month, I’d like to make a request of America’s political and media elites on behalf of America’s women: Stop lumping us together.

To be more specific: Stop telling us “what women want” in the next president, which political stands are sure-fire winners (or losers) of “the women’s vote” and what constitutes “the women’s view” in debates over everything from the morality of abortion to the limits of government and the best path to national prosperity.

While you’re at it, please stop quoting a handful of self-appointed “women’s advocates” as if they were proxies for all 156 million Americans who carry two X chromosomes. Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards no more represents my views than Sarah Palin represents hers. And I think I can speak for all women in saying that no single woman or women’s group speaks for us all.

And while we’re at it, please stop lumping us into identity politics altogether. Just who does that benefit?

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Feb 21

Some audacious claims have been made in Washington lately on behalf of women. They clearly speak for Planned Parenthood and women in league with their cause. Where are all the women for whom they do not speak?

Here.

Like countless other women, we’ve been closely following the Obama administration’s attempt to compel religious institutions to provide contraceptive coverage in violation of their beliefs. And like countless other women, over the past several days we’ve heard House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and others repeatedly ask those who oppose the contraceptive mandate, “Where are the women?”

Here we are.

Equal rights. Now pay equal attention to these voices. Because word spread like wildfire that they were being represented in a public statement.

We listened to prominent women purport to speak for us. We watched them duck the fundamental religious-liberty issues at stake. And we saw them assume that all women view cheaper contraceptives and abortion-causing drugs as unqualified goods.

In response, we circulated an open letter to a few dozen of our female friends in support of the competing voice offered by Catholic institutions on matters of sex, marriage, and family life. The letter spread, and in 72 hours we received some 750 signatures from a diverse group of women across the country, including women serving overseas. Signatures are still flooding in. Doctors, nurses, lawyers, teachers, mothers, business owners, community volunteers, scholars — women from all walks of life are proud to stand together with the Catholic Church and its invaluable witness.

I am one. My signature went on the statement in the early going, but they were so inundated with responses they could only work so fast, and decided to post it now and add on daily.

Most of us are Catholic, but some are not. We are Democrats, Republicans, and independents. Many work or have worked for a Catholic institution. We are proud to have been associated not only with the work that Catholic institutions perform in the community — particularly for the most vulnerable — but also with the shared sense of purpose found among colleagues who chose their job because, in a religious institution, a job is also a vocation.

To a woman, we are deeply troubled by the mandate’s violation of fundamental religious-liberty protections…

Those who invoke “women’s health” against those of us who disagree with forcing religious institutions or individuals to violate deeply held beliefs are more than a little mistaken — and more than a little dishonest. Even setting aside their simplistic equation of “costless” birth control with “equality” and “women’s health,” note that they have never responded to the large body of scholarly research indicating that many forms of contraception have serious side effects; or that some contraceptives destroy embryos; or that government contraceptive programs inevitably change the sex, dating, and marriage markets in ways that lead to more empty sex, more non-marital births, and more abortions. It is women who suffer disproportionately when these things happen.

No one speaks for all women on these issues. Those who purport to do so are simply attempting to deflect attention from the serious religious-liberty issues at stake. We are proud to stand with the Catholic Church and its rich, life-affirming teachings on sex, marriage, and family life. We call on President Obama, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, and our representatives in Congress to respect religious voices, to respect religious liberty, and to allow religious institutions and individuals to continue to provide witness to their faiths in all their fullness.

Women speak for themselves. And many, many more are speaking up in league with them by the hour.

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Feb 15

The national firestorm over the HHS contraceptive mandate and conscience rights, President Obama’s ‘war on the church’ and constitutionally protected religious liberty is a confrontation necessitated by unprecedented government action. But all that fire is distracting us from the spark of ignition: Why did the federal government mandate health insurers to cover contraception, sterilization and the morning after pill in the first place?

Why these particular drugs, of all things? Why not other “preventive health services” of which there’s a wide array? They (HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and President Obama) claim it’s because they’re keenly intent on providing healthcare “for the health of women and families,” but nothing is provided for, say, infertility treatment for women who want to become pregnant and couples who want a family.

I saw a spokeswoman for the ‘Reproductive Rights Center’ vigorously arguing for this mandate and wondered…what are “reproductive rights”? There’s no reproduction going on in their business and the rights they represent are limited to choosing or endorsing or providing for their services, which are contraception and abortion.

Under the administration of the most pro-abortion president in American history, the abortion movement has grown into a mafia-style outfit, with power and clout that was well known but still somewhat hidden until the Komen takedown two weeks ago. Planned Parenthood is advising the White House, which is how we got to this point in US history with drugs that can be both carcinogenic and abortifacent being mandated by the ’Health Secretary’ (this sounds so Orwellian) for insurance coverage free of charge to women, provided for even by religious institutions against their fundamental moral beliefs.

Obama did not consult religious leaders on this. He did not consult objective and expert medical experts or healthcare professionals on this. He consulted Planned Parenthood.

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Feb 05

Some big media writers are using strong language to criticize the strongarm tactics Planned Parenthood used on the Komen foundation last week.

Take a look at just three pieces…

In this WSJ piece, James Taranto calls it ‘totalitarian feminism.’

In breaking ties with Planned Parenthood, Komen made the same mistake: It failed to understand it was dealing with intolerant fanatics…

Further, Komen offered a rationale for its decision–a new policy denying grants to groups under governmental investigation–that seemed disingenuous and provided a point of attack for Planned Parenthood and its allies. “I’m reminded of the McCarthy era, where somebody said: ‘Oh,’ a congressman stands up, a senator, ‘I’m investigating this organization and therefore people should stop funding them,’ ” Politico quotes Sen. Barbara Boxer as saying on MSNBC.

Here’s an important point almost no one else in major media is making:

In truth, Komen was under no obligation to fund Planned Parenthood. Its decision not to do so was not punitive and did not even appear to be. The episode is reminiscent of George Orwell far more than Joe McCarthy. Komen’s actual aim was to extricate itself from the divisive national battle over abortion by severing its connection with a leading combatant.

The conservative Media Research Center notes that CNN “aired a pretty one-sided piece including statements from Planned Parenthood’s president Cecile Richards…No supporter of Komen’s position or critic of Planned Parenthood was included. Even more appalling than that lack of balance, though, was CNN’s echoing the charge of “right-wing ‘bullying,’ ” while the network was participating in Planned Parenthood’s effort to bully Komen.

The Ministry of Information–sorry, the New York Times–editorializes:

“With its roster of corporate sponsors and the pink ribbons that lend a halo to almost any kind of product you can think of, the Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation has a longstanding reputation as a staunch protector of women’s health. That reputation suffered a grievous, perhaps mortal, wound this week from the news that Komen, the world’s largest breast cancer organization, decided to betray that mission. It threw itself into the middle of one of America’s nastiest political battles, on the side of hard-right forces working to demonize Planned Parenthood and undermine women’s health and freedom.
The truth is that Komen blundered into a political battle by supporting Planned Parenthood in the first place and was attempting to back out of it quietly.”

The Times’s view exemplifies feminism’s gradual transformation into a totalitarian ideology. Totalitarianism politicizes everything, so that neutrality is betrayal–in this case, neutrality on abortion is portrayed as opposition to “women’s health.” As we wrote last year, this is also why purportedly pro-choice feminists can hate Sarah Palin and her daughter for choosing not to abort their children.

Komen would have been better off approaching the matter straightforwardly, by announcing that it wished to opt out of the abortion debate and would not support groups that take a position on either side of the issue, including Planned Parenthood. This would not have averted the smear campaign that followed, for Planned Parenthood and its supporters have internalized the notion that abortion is health, and are determined that everyone else internalize it too. But an honest position would have been easier to defend. No one would have been able to dent Komen’s integrity.

Speaking of honesty, and the New York Times, Ross Douthat has this good column.

IN the most recent Gallup poll on abortion, as many Americans described themselves as pro-life as called themselves pro-choice. A combined 58 percent of Americans stated that abortion should either be “illegal in all circumstances” or “legal in only a few circumstances.” These results do not vary appreciably by gender: in the first Gallup poll to show a slight pro-life majority, conducted in May 2009, half of American women described themselves as pro-life.

But if you’ve followed the media frenzy surrounding the Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation’s decision — which it backpedaled from, with an apology, after a wave of frankly brutal coverage — to discontinue about $700,000 in funding for Planned Parenthood, you would think all these millions of anti-abortion Americans simply do not exist.

From the nightly news shows to print and online media, the coverage’s tone alternated between wonder and outrage — wonder that anyone could possibly find Planned Parenthood even remotely controversial and outrage that the Komen foundation had “politicized” the cause of women’s health.

“That ubiquitous pink ribbon … is sporting a black eye today,” Claire Shipman announced on ABC News Thursday, while Diane Sawyer nodded along. On MSNBC, Andrea Mitchell dressed down the Komen foundation’s founder, Nancy Brinker: “I have to tell you,” Mitchell said, “this is shocking to a lot of your longtime supporters. … How could this have taken place?” In story after story, journalists explicitly passed judgment on Komen for creating a controversy where none need ever have existed.

Conservative complaints about media bias are sometimes overdrawn. But on the abortion issue, the press’s prejudices are often absolute, its biases blatant and its blinders impenetrable. In many newsrooms and television studios across the country, Planned Parenthood is regarded as the equivalent of, well, the Komen foundation: an apolitical, high-minded and humanitarian institution whose work no rational person — and certainly no self-respecting woman — could possibly question or oppose.

But of course millions of Americans — including, yes, millions of American women — do oppose Planned Parenthood. They oppose the 300,000-plus abortions it performs every year (making it the largest abortion provider in the country), and they oppose its tireless opposition to even modest limits on abortion.

Both sides of the abortion debate ‘should find the anti-komen backlash disgusting,’ says Daniel Foster at NRO’s The Corner. Like the other two pieces above, this one is worth reading all the way through, following its links and its logic.

The Komen Foundation is a private organization. Planned Parenthood is ostensibly a private organization as well, but one with the highest of public profiles, a maximally polarizing mission, and a conduit of taxpayer dollars. If either of the two should be wary of politicizing its decision-making process, it should be PP, no? And yet Komen is getting hammered for a practical organizational decision (for the zillionth time: PP does not provide mammography) while pro-choice auxiliaries are gleefully fomenting the rage.

Will Wilkinson, who is pro legal abortion and probably the libertarian with whom I agree least often, gets it exactly right on this score, observing that there is more than a little gangsterism in the response from the PP set:

“You know, I’m not a big fan of Komen’s brandification of breast cancer, I dislike seeing pink ribbons plastered over everything, and I think Planned Parenthood is real swell, abortions and all. So I’m not especially inclined to come to Komen’s aid. But I’ll be damned if this doesn’t look a bit like PP throwing it’s weight around, knocking a few pieces of china off the shelves, sending a message to its other donors: “Nice foundation you got there. Wouldn’t want anything to, you know, happen to it.”

Look, the beauty of free speech is that, if you’re inclined to do so, you can write a check to PP in an act of solidarity, or write a check to Komen as an expression of moral approval. That’s all fine. But there’s something quite a bit different, something creepy and not a little despicable, about the Planned Parenthood set’s besmirching Komen’s good name across a thousand platforms for having the audacity to stop giving them free money. And I don’t care why that decision was made, frankly.

Look at it this way…

Imagine I volunteered to run a cub scout troop, and for years, when the annual soapbox derby came near, I knew I could count on Joe’s Deli as good for a hundred dollar donation. If one year Old Man Joe decided he didn’t want to donate any more — because he didn’t like the design of our racer, or because he thought his hundred bucks was better spent on a little league team, or because he disapproved of the scouts’ stance on gays — what on earth would justify me going on public access TV to grill Old Man Joe on why he hates kids? What would justify me hacking the Joe’s Deli web site or maliciously editing Old Man Joe’s Wikipedia page? What would justify me goading a handful of my city councilman into standing up at the next town meeting and publicly calling on Old Man Joe to reinstate his donation?

Nothing. Nothing would justify that. Nothing at all.

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Feb 05

It has been deeply revealing and we have learned much.

First of all, that the relationship existed. After all the years of doubt or uncertainty by many contributors to the Pink Ribbon campaign over whether the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure donated some of those funds to Planned Parenthood, it’s all out there now. So there will never be another Pink October or any other fundraising campaign in which ubiquitous pink ribbons  and the Komen logo of the breast cancer awareness giant will not be associated with Planned Parenthood, the abortion giant.

Second, we saw the full weight of Planned Parenthood’s power and fury. On a hair trigger, they and their supporters fired off relentless rounds of volleys through a vast social media network. And they either pressured or cajoled nearly two dozen US senators to leap into the fire and lobby on their behalf, all on practically no notice.

Senators Frank Lautenberg, Patty Murray and 20 other Democrats have prepared a letter, obtained by Reuters, saying Komen’s move “threatens to reduce access to necessary, life-savings services. We urge Komen to reconsider its decision.”

They certainly didn’t take the time to research the veracity of their claim about access and services, and anything else pertaining to the truth of the matter.

“It would be tragic if any woman, let alone thousands of women, lost access to these potentially life-saving screenings because of a politically motivated attack,” said the letter, which was due to be sent later on Thursday.

It all worked, and fast, which is a big lesson for the pro-life movement. Whatever else Planned Parenthood is, it is highly successful in everything it does nationally, at the local level and highest levels of government obviously up to the White House itself. And it is highly successful as a force to be reckoned with because it is relentless in applying pressure and mobilizing rapid response forces that frame a message, make it go viral and then make it stick. They make it clear that there will be consequences to non-compliance with their demands, and they follow through.

This, with another tenor but no less tenacity, is a model for the pro-life or any movement to notice and consider. Leave aside PP’s bullying for another post…

Social activism can change policies and laws when people unite behind a cause with a fervent commitment, make a clear statement meant to ’stick’, mobilize a network through social media, make a sustained effort to make the message go viral, and refuse to go away or back down. And make it clear there will be consequences to the response or lack of one.

The movement should be unapologetically forceful, but unassailably positive and relentlessly determined. And it helps when it’s an election year.

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Feb 04

First, the backoff happened with head-spinning swiftness. Second, it’s still unclear what the statement by the breast cancer awareness foundation really meant.

The uncertainty is not for lack of news stories.

The Susan G. Komen Foundation has reversed its decision to cut funding for Planned Parenthood and apologized “to the American public” for its handling of the issue.

A statement from founder and CEO Nancy Brinker and the Susan G. Komen Board of Directors says the foundation will immediately get in touch with its network and key supporters “to refocus our attention on our mission and get back to doing our work.”

“The events of this week have been deeply unsettling for our supporters, partners and friends and all of us at Susan G. Komen,” the statement says.

“We have been distressed at the presumption that the changes made to our funding criteria were done for political reasons or to specifically penalize Planned Parenthood. They were not.”

Komen touched off an uproar by announcing that it had adopted criteria excluding Planned Parenthood from grants because it was under government investigation, notably a probe launched in Congress at the urging of anti-abortion groups.

They leave aside the reasons for those investigations, as most articles did, which is a glaring omission. Congress and state governing bodies don’t enter into these things frivolously, especially when it comes to Planned Parenthood.

However…

In its statement, Komen now says it will change the criteria so it won’t apply to such investigations.

“We will continue to fund existing grants, including those of Planned Parenthood, and preserve their eligibility to apply for future grants,” the statement says.

It was a desperate measure to batten down the hatches against the storm.

But officials across the organization said they were still reeling from the fallout of what many described as a public relations fiasco created by Komen’s leadership.

“I felt like we were eaten alive,” said Logan Hood, executive director of Komen’s Aspen affiliate in Colorado. “We had no advance warning..?.?. We were sent into battle without armor.”

And they were criticized for that, too.

The situation has been a “total embarrassment” for Komen, said Tom Madden, chief executive of TransMedia Group, a Boca Raton, Fla.-based public relations ad crisis management company. “There should have been a lot of thought through that kind of decision, and it sounds to me like the ramifications and pressures they were under were not anticipated, which was a failure of planning. I can’t believe an organization like Komen wasn’t aware of what was going on.”

Reversing themselves is a sign that Komen is not a “thoughtful, contemplative organization,” Madden added. “This does not strike a chord that this is an organization that knows where it’s going and what it’s doing.”

Komen may have alienated both supporters and detractors in switching its position, Madden said. “They should have anticipated that,” he said. “Anticipation is a big part of crisis management. If you’re going to avoid a crisis, you have to vividly plan for it.”…

“I don’t think there’s been any permanent damage,” Madden said. “I think there’s going to be some anger on both sides, but that will dissipate eventually. The organization at its heart is very worthwhile. However, they must take aggressive action to really do a thorough and transparent analysis of what is best for women with breast cancer.”

Yes. Which begins with understanding some of the causes can be prevented.

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Feb 01

It seemed to take a long time to get public admission that the breast cancer awareness giant was even giving funds to the abortion giant. Once they did, they tried to focus on the good they intended it to do, and discounted the potential harm. Now, there’s no denial.

Susan G. Komen for the Cure has pulled its funding of Planned Parenthood. The story is spreading quickly.

Here’s what the Washington Post had to say.

The Associated Press reports that Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the nation’s leading breast-cancer charity, will cut off its funding to Planned Parenthood affiliates, where the foundation has traditionally paid for preventive screening services.

According to the AP, the move will mean “a cutoff of hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants, mainly for breast exams.”Planned Parenthood confirms that Komen is the first, and only, organization to cut off funding since the Congress began debating the issue in earnest last winter.

Komen said it could not continue to fund Planned Parenthood because it has adopted new guidelines that bar it from funding organizations under congressional investigation. The House oversight and investigations subcommittee announced in the fall an investigation into Planned Parenthood’s funding.

It’s not exactly a connection to the ‘abortion breast cancer link’, but it’s a leap in the right direction.

And it’s another occasion to repeat what breast cancer expert Dr. Angela Lanfranchi told me years ago, and recently again on radio…that seeking to cure breast cancer is well and good, but more attention should focus on preventing it. As she does at the Breast Cancer Prevention Institute.

Good step for Komen.

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