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FIRST-PERSON: Komen hands abortionists a big victory

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
ALEXANDRIA, La. (BP) -- Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the well-known and respected breast cancer charity, has been the subject of a serious game of political football. In the end, abortion supporters applied intense pressure and scored a big victory for their cause and a small monetary win for Planned Parenthood.

News broke Jan. 31 that Komen was ceasing grants to Planned Parenthood designated for breast-health related services. The grants totaled approximately $680,000. Komen officials insisted the decision to defund Planned Parenthood had to do with the fact the organization is currently under congressional investigation -- and not with Planned Parenthood's abortion services.

Those leading the intense attacks on Komen, mostly women's groups and elected officials -- all who are pro-abortion -- were unconvinced. They insisted the organization had caved to pressure from pro-life groups and set out to force Komen to reverse its course.

On Friday, Komen apparently reversed its decision to defund Planned Parenthood. "We will continue to fund existing grants, including those of Planned Parenthood, and preserve their eligibility to apply for future grants," Nancy G. Brinker, founder and CEO of Komen, said.

As far as I am concerned, though, Planned Parenthood's involvement with abortion would be a good reason for Komen to cease its grants, which constitute less than .00068 percent of Planned Parenthood's annual $1 billion budget -- yes that's billion with a "b."

It is well-established that Planned Parenthood is the top provider of abortions in the United States, performing about one-fourth of all abortions in the U.S. -- more than 300,000 a year.

Planned Parenthood officials claim that abortions constitute only 3 percent of the services they provide. Technically, that is true. However, it is also very misleading.


Of the 10.5 million services (note that is services, not clients) Planned Parenthood provided in 2006, 289,750 were abortions, which is approximately 3 percent. This figure, however, does not include the fact that a woman visiting Planned Parenthood for an abortion will receive multiple services. Examples range from a pregnancy test, to some type of counseling to the actual abortion. Each service that is rendered is counted separately by Planned Parenthood.

In 2006, PP served 3.1 million clients. Of this number, 9 percent received abortions.

Komen's grants to Planned Parenthood are designated and can only go to pay for breast-health related services; no Komen money can go directly to pay for abortions. However, every dollar Komen gives to Planned Parenthood for breast-health services frees up a dollar that can be spent on abortions.

The Komen decision drew the ire of 26 U.S. senators -- 25 Democrats and one independent. The Washington legislators signed a letter calling on Komen to reconsider its decision. The letter was made public by the Washington Post.

But Komen is a private, non-profit organization. How it spends its money is none of the legislators business. That these elected officials publically bullied a private organization on how it spends its money is arrogant. Especially when you consider that Komen's contribution to Planned Parenthood represents less than .00068 percent of the organization's budget.


Interestingly enough, Planned Parenthood reported that $400,000 had been collected within a day of the Komen announcement. Additionally a family foundation from Dallas gave $250,000 and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg pledged $250,000 to match any future donations.

It seems money that would have been lost by the Komen decision had been replaced, with some to spare, and all by private donations. This is how it should be. Those who believe in Planned Parenthood's mission, which includes providing abortions, can support them. Other private groups, like Komen, should not feel compelled to do so.

I have to wonder, "Where were all those donations before the Komen decision?" If the concerned donors, like Mayor Bloomberg, were so supportive of Planned Parenthood, why are they just now stepping up with their generous gifts?

The harshest critics of Komen accused the organization of caving into pro-life groups. They insisted the non-profit group was playing politics with regard to women's health issues. These groups were unwilling see a single penny diverted from the nation's largest abortion provider.

Komen has raised approximately $2 billion for breast cancer research. Abortion advocates were willing to ignore what Komen has done and scream over Planned Parenthood losing a miniscule portion, .00068 percent of billion-dollar budget.

Brinker insisted the initial decision to defund Planned Parenthood was not political. Now she says the reversal had nothing to do with politics. Those watching the process know better; it was only about politics -- pressure politics.


House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, called the reversal a "big victory." She added, " just goes to show you when women speak out, women win."

In this instance, women who support abortion may have won. However, the pro-life cause -- and the unborn -- definitely lost.

Kelly Boggs is a weekly columnist for Baptist Press and editor of the Baptist Message, newsjournal of the Louisiana Baptist Convention. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook ( and in your email (

Copyright (c) 2012 Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist Press

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