Eighteen of the more than 120 Komen affiliates in the United States contributed about $569,000 to Planned Parenthood affiliates in the United States during 2009-10, according to a report released Aug. 24 by American Life League (ALL), a Virginia-based, pro-life organization. ALL staff confirmed the grants by examining Komen affiliates' 990 Internal Revenue Service forms for tax-exempt organizations.
The report came on the heels of news that the Catholic bishops of Columbus, Ohio, and Toledo, Ohio, called for schools and other institutions in their dioceses not to participate in fundraising efforts for Komen. A statement from Ohio's bishops said individual Catholics are free to make their own decisions, since none of Komen's Ohio affiliates donate to Planned Parenthood, according to an Aug. 20 article in The Columbus Dispatch.
The Archdiocese of Cincinnati already had banned fundraising for Komen, The Dispatch reported.
In providing their reasons for the prohibitions, the bishops cited Komen affiliates' giving to Planned Parenthood and the foundation's unwillingness to say it will not support stem cell research that destroys embryos, according to the newspaper.
Komen said in a June statement its affiliates give to Planned Parenthood for breast screenings and breast health education. Planned Parenthood does not offer mammograms, but Komen said grants to the organization may pay for mammograms at other sites. In the last five years, grants to Planned Parenthood have paid for almost 5,000 mammograms and more than 139,000 clinical breast exams, according to Komen.
"It makes no sense whatsoever for Komen to give money to Planned Parenthood," said Rita Diller, director of ALL's Stop Planned Parenthood initiative, according to LifeNews.com. "Komen's claim that women in some areas would not be able to receive breast cancer care without giving grants to Planned Parenthood is horribly misleading, at best, since Planned Parenthood does not provide breast cancer care -- only manual exams and referrals."
In North Dakota, the bishops of Fargo and Bismarck issued guidelines for charitable giving that included Komen on a list of organizations they encouraged parishioners not to contribute to, The Bismarck Tribune reported in March.
Komen's best known fundraisers are its five-kilometer runs/walks -- known as the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure Series. More than 1.6 million people participate each year in the runs/walks in 130 cities in the United States and 16 overseas.
While ALL's research found 18 Komen affiliates gave to Planned Parenthood, the breast cancer foundation reported in April that 19 of its affiliates contribute to the abortion/family planning chain. Komen did not specify the total given by those affiliates.
Planned Parenthood affiliates in this country performed more than 332,000 abortions in 2009, the last year for which statistics are available.
Compiled by Tom Strode, Washington bureau chief for Baptist Press.
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