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 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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Jul 21

There’s a lot in the news about contraception and health care and Planned Parenthood right now. And a lot more that should be.

The scope of this is staggering.

Let’s go through just a few of the many stories.

Contraceptives are now recommended to be required in health care law.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is praising a recommendation from the Institute of Medicine that insurance companies be required to offer free contraceptives to all women in a report she called ” historic,” suggesting she may make the recommendation an official policy.

The prospect of free, government-ordered contraceptives and even agents to induce abortion, has ignited a national debate. Some are clearly pleased.

Many are clearly not.

After the Institute of Medicine (IOM) this week publicly backed government-mandated birth control coverage, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is standing in the breach against what would prove a massive victory for abortion giant Planned Parenthood…

“Pregnancy is not a disease, and fertility is not a pathological condition to be suppressed by any means technically possible,” said Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, chairman of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Tuesday.

Like other conservative leaders, the USCCB pro-life chairman noted that the mandate would violate the conscience rights of Americans morally opposed to birth control, and objected to coverage of “emergency contraception” such as ella, a chemical functionally identical to the abortion drug RU-486.

But the cardinal’s challenge did not stop there: DiNardo noted that the IOM report was so radical as to have indicated interest in recommending full abortion coverage as well. The report stated that, “despite the health and well-being benefits to some women,” abortion was outside of the project’s scope given federal legal restrictions.

“But most Americans surely see that abortion is not healthy or therapeutic for unborn children, and has physical and mental health risks for women which can be extremely serious,” wrote the cardinal, who noted the celebration of Planned Parenthood, “the single largest abortion provider in the United States,” over the report.

“I can only conclude that there is an ideology at work in these recommendations that goes beyond any objective assessment of the health needs of women and children,” he said.

That’s an understatement.

Let’s go back to some coverups by federal agencies for the abortion industry. Like this one that would have been called famous had it been reported by the media.

Though it did get reported.

Less than two months since the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force issued new guidelines recommending against routine mammograms for women in their forties, a second breast cancer scandal involving a U.S. government panel of experts has come to light which has implications for healthcare reform.

An April 2009 study by Jessica Dolle et al. of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center examining the relationship between oral contraceptives (OCs) and triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) in women under age 45 contained an admission from U.S. National Cancer Institute (NCI) researcher Louise Brinton and her colleagues (including Janet Daling) that abortion raises breast cancer risk by 40%.

(emphasis added)

“Although the study was published nine months ago,” observed Karen Malec, president of the Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer, “the NCI, the American Cancer Society, Susan G. Komen for the Cure and other cancer fundraising businesses have made no efforts to reduce breast cancer rates by issuing nationwide warnings to women.”

Brinton was the chief organizer of the 2003 NCI workshop on the abortion-breast cancer link, which falsely assured women that the non-existence of the link was “well established.”

(emphasis added)

Brinton has been out of reach of the media since the 2009 report that abortion raises breast cancer risk by 40 percent. Even liberal pro-choice writers checking on this incongruity have found the NCI website to only answer inquiries by linking back to the faulty and biased 2003 report.

The founders of the Breast Cancer Prevention Institute have abundant resources on their site detailing the scientific studies and medical evidence linking contraceptives and abortion to breast cancer.

Which is why it’s crazy to think that the Susan G. Komen For the Cure Foundation would be linked in any way with Planned Parenthood. They ought to extend their considerable resources to researching prevention before a cure is necessary. But that would direct them back to Planned Parenthood…

Which is why some U.S. bishops have finally called on Catholic institutions to redirect their charitable contributions and fundraising for breast cancer prevention and cure to other organizations without any morally objectionable connections. Toledo Bishop Leonard Blair issued this letter, for instance. Here’s a snip:

For some time, moral questions have been raised from various quarters about the research funded by the Komen Foundation. The Bishops of Ohio have discussed this and have looked into the matter. As best we can determine, at present the Komen Foundation does not fund cancer research that employs embryonic stem cells. However, their policy does not exclude that possibility. They are open to embryonic stem cell research, and may very well fund such research in the future. They are also contributors to Planned Parenthood, which, though it may claim to provide needed medical services to poor women, is also the largest provider of abortions in our country.

But they got that way by being extremely industrious and aggressive in their lobbying and political activism. Which gets back to the top and latest news story in this cycle…

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Oct 18

Women who have had abortions are at higher risk for breast cancer, a fact denied by certain organizations and institutes for a long time. Now it’s ‘Breast Cancer Awareness’ month again, and all sorts of information is coming out…

Some experts in science and medicine have been working for nearly a decade to make their findings widely available and well-known to the public, but some organizations and institutes have a vested interest in spreading awareness of only some information, and it doesn’t include anything negative about abortion. Like the National Institutues of Health and the National Cancer Institute.

But it’s finding its way out, anyway. In places abortion activists don’t control. Like…Iran.

Researchers in Iran have published the results of a new study showing women who have an abortion face a 193% increased risk of breast cancer. On the other hand, women who carry a pregnancy to term find a lowered breast cancer risk compared with women who have never been pregnant.

The study folllows on the heels of new reports indicating Komen for the Cure gave $7.5 million to the Planned Parenthood abortion business in 2009.

The findings were reported in the April 3, 2010 issue of Medical Oncology but are coming to the public’s attention only now.

It’s about time.

The Iranian study came just before another research study conducted by scientists in Sri Lanka, which found women who had an abortion in the past were 242 percent more likely to contract breast cancer.

That study was published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology and found a 3.42 odds ratio against women having abortions compared with those who kept their baby.

Abortion was the most significant factor in the study on breast cancer risk and researchers found a significantly reduced risk associated with prolonged duration of breastfeeding a newborn…

Combined with the Iranian study and others from the U.S., China and Turkey, five studies in the last 18 months have shown abortion elevates breast cancer risk.

Which gets back to the significant point that the most prominent and highly visible organization actively promoting fundraising for breast cancer research is giving some of their funds to Planned Parenthood.

“No matter whether they are giving $500,000 a year to Planned Parenthood, or $5, people who respect the dignity of human life and are trying to save people with disease don’t want any part of their money going to an organization that is subsidizing an abortion provider,” Bioethics Defense Fund attorney Dorinda Bordlee told the news web site.

There’s a lot of “Pink Money” being dropped in buckets and cans and all sorts of creative collection sites right now. People want to feel good about that contribution, that takes due diligence. 

Here’s a solid place to start.

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