Kathryn Lopez

But its decision doesn't deserve the backlash it has received. A fair-minded observer could reasonably see the decision as inevitable: In an era when so many of us have such unprecedented access to a vast array of information resources, it was hard for Komen to overlook the fact that Planned Parenthood is not a mecca for mammograms -- they don't do them; they don't have the facilities. Komen's mission to end breast cancer is not being directly served by Planned Parenthood.

Even with its regrettable backpedaling, Komen's reservations about working with the organization have struck a blow to the conventional spin that woman's health and pro-abortion views are inextricably linked.

The real pity of commentators looking for some kind of scandal in Komen's daring to review the Planned Parenthood grants is that there is actually a fair, nonpartisan way to analyze the news. That Slate article demonstrates this. Outrage, meanwhile, at the suggestion that there are people in Komen who might oppose abortion betrays a real ideological isolation. It so happens that pro-life Republican women get breast cancer too, and their personal combat with death isn't likely to convert them to an ideology that is disturbingly comfortable with erring on the side of death.

Unlike Terry O'Neill and her friends on MSNBC, I make no predictions about Komen's future. But it's safe to say that the discerning news consumer might just be a little more skeptical about "women's health" rhetoric, in light of some of the hysterics with which Komen's former political and media sisters have resorted to. Actual women's health deserves better, as do individual human lives, than ideological litmus tests and scorched-earth policies.


Kathryn Lopez

Kathryn Jean Lopez, editor of National Review Online, writes a weekly column of conservative political and social commentary for Newspaper Enterprise Association.