I have written in the space about the commercialization of breast cancer. I don’t know the Komen Foundation aside from the fact that it claims to be in the business of raising money for breast cancer programs, detection and research. I don’t know if they are good at it. I don’t know if a donation to the organization is a worthy donation. All of these things, I cannot say. I do know that cash is made on that little pink ribbon. I would say my overall temperature on the SGK Foundation is tepid.
However, some things just aren’t right.
Bishop Leonard Blair of the Diocese of Toledo has issued a letter in which he states that, given the possibility that the Susan G. Komen may, at some point in the future, contribute to groups conducting embryonic stem cell research in the fight against breast cancer, Catholics “would be wise to” not contribute to that foundation.
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.
In order to avoid even the possibility of cooperation in morally unacceptable activities, the other Bishops and I believe that it would be wise to find alternatives to Komen for Catholic fundraising efforts.
The local affiliate of the foundation responds.
We remain committed to our mission of saving lives and ending breast cancer forever. Susan G. Komen for the Cure has never funded abortion or embryonic stem cell research. Funds from the Northwest Ohio Affiliate have never gone to Planned Parenthood.
I have heard about this Planned Parenthood/Komen Foundation connection for a number of years. I find it simply tough to believe that a foundation whose focus is on saving lives, would even get in the abortion arena.
I was right. From the official stance of the Komen Foundation, issued just this past month, comes this explanation.
Some have asked questions about Susan G. Komen for the Cure funding a handful of breast health programs sponsored by Planned Parenthood. We’d like to explain our position.
Komen for the Cure has more than 120 Affiliates in the United States, and each Affiliate is responsible for assessing its community and determining local breast health needs. Komen Affiliates provide grants to local organizations that educate, screen, treat and support residents in their area. Our Affiliate network funds nearly 2,000 local organizations annually.
Nineteen Komen Affiliates fund breast health services through Planned Parenthood programs that have provided breast health education and breast screenings for hundreds of thousands of low-income, uninsured or medically under-served women. In some areas, Planned Parenthood may be the only local source of breast health care.
Decisions to fund Planned Parenthood programs are based on a thorough assessment of breast health needs and resources in the communities served by our Affiliates.
In addition to education, women served at Planned Parenthood may receive a clinical breast exam, and when further screening is needed, a referral to either a state program or a private mammogram provider. In the latter case, the mammogram may be paid for by the Komen-Planned Parenthood grant. It is important to note that Komen only gives grants to nonprofit organizations, and many mammography providers are for-profit.
Affiliate funding to Planned Parenthood is reviewed twice-yearly to ensure that it is being used only for breast health services. If reviews showed the funds being used for any other purpose, the funds would be withdrawn.
Komen does NOT fund abortions.
Fewer than 20% of the Komen affiliates even contribute to Planned Parenthood programs. Of those that do, none contribute to any program other than those that support breast health, especially abortions.
As I wrote in the outset, I cannot vouch for the foundation. But I think what the Bishop has done in this case is to call out a sinner before he even commits the sin. Reminds me of the Inquisition.