Here’s a ‘fun’ topic that comes up at least once a year around this time: Susan G Komen’s Race for the Cure and it’s ties to Planned Parenthood. The question that comes up is this? Since Susan G. Komen gives $ to Planned Parenthood, should Catholics and those who are opposed to abortions still suppor Komen and participate in the Race?
It’s important to do a little research and understand the issue before making that decision.
First, here is the statement from Susan G. Komen and message points concerning their connecting with Planned Parenthood. You should read all of those in their entirety but here are some excerpts:
“…Komen Affiliates provide funds to pay for screening, education and treatment programs in dozens of communities, in some areas, the only place that poor, uninsured, or under-insured women can receive these services are through programs run by Planned Parenthood.”
They continue to explain how they monitor the use of their funds to PP:
“…we monitor our grantees twice a year to be sure they are spending the money in line with our agreements, and we are assured that Planned Parenthood uses these funds only for breast health education, screening and treatment programs.”
It is true that non-profit companies that receive grant money are supposed to use it according to an agreement or contract between the parties (Komen and PP in this case). And they may very well do just that. (However, I can’t help but have my doubts on that account).
The Susan G. Komen statement also quotes the opinion of two Catholic ethicists on the ethics of being involved with Susan G. Komen and other such philantrophic organizations that have connections with Planned Parenthood.
In How to Assess the Moral Permissibility of a Catholic Health Care Organization’s Involvement, Dr. Hamel, senior director of ethics at the Catholic Health Association, and Dr. Panicola, corporate vice president of ethics, SSM Health Care, they wrote:
“The principle of cooperation is a time-honored principle in the Catholic moral tradition used to assess the moral permissibility of one party’s involvement or cooperation (the cooperator) with another party engaged in serious wrongdoing (the principal agent). In this context, “wrongdoing” refers to various actions prohibited by the church as those outlined above. Some types of cooperation are morally permissible when there is sufficient moral distance and serious enough reasons, while others are not…when using the principle of cooperation in assessing a CHCO’s [Catholic Health Care Organization] cooperation with a PO [Philantrophic Organization], it is necessary to address two levels of concern: whether the PO is cooperating in the wrongdoing of another organization, and, if so, how and to what extent; and whether the CHCO’s cooperation with the PO is morally acceptable…”
That’s all a little hard to follow but to sum it up, these ethicits conclude by saying:
“The fact that some Komen affiliates, at times, provide funding to Planned Parenthood specifically and solely for breast health services cannot on the face of it [be] construed as wrongdoing. This is all the more true in those cities where the local Komen affiliate has not funded and does not fund Planned Parenthood projects. If there is any cooperation at all (and we do not believe there is), at most, it would be remote material cooperation which, as the Catholic tradition teaches, can be justified for a proportionate reason. The good that Komen does and the harm that would come to so many women if Komen ceased to exist or ceased to be funded would seem to be a sufficiently proportionate reason.”
Ok now I’m no ethicst but here is my opinion nonetheless. I’ve heard this logic before and I understand it but I don’t 100% agree with it. In fact, I see a lot of flaws with it personally. But you know, I’m just a simple mama.
Like I said, it is possible that PP only uses Komen money for breast health. And so it is possible that by giving Komen my money I am not paying indirectly for any abortions that Planned Parenthood might pay for. However, I would still be indirectly giving some of my money to Planned Parenthood. And I want absolutely nothing to do with them at all. I was taught, and I believe, that 2 wrongs or any wrongs never can make a right. Sure it may be right and good for Planned Parenthood to help women receive breast health treatment that otherwise wouldn’t, but it doesn’t excuse or diminish their direct involvement in the sin of abortion. (yes, people abortion is still a sin).
I know that I can’t control where every little penny of mine goes but when I can, I will.
Besides all that chewy ethical stuff, others still question whether Komen’s grants to PP are just kicking themselves in the behind due to the possible link between abortions and breast cancer. I’m no researcher so I can’t say, as a matter of fact, whether there is or is not a direct or indirect link between abortions and breast cancer. However, I believe there is a very good reason to think that there might be. I also think the chances of a link existing between forced abortions and breast cancer are higher than the chances of a link existing between unintentional miscarriage and breast cancer. A miscarriage usually happens by itself, that is, without a forced intervention. Because of this, the body is able to go through its own natural healing process, though still a very difficult and sorrowful one. With a forced abortion, the biological processes that are going on in the woman’s pregnant body are interrupted. The woman’s body is going about its own business, growing a baby and then suddenly, BAM! No more baby. But what about all those shattered hormones left in the wreckage? They don’t just disappear. Some may eventually find their way out as the woman’s body purges itself from the trauma. But, some will stay and accumulate…and what happens when high amounts of unused hormones accumulate and have nowhere to go?
So like I said, I’m not saying abortion does or does not cause breast cancer any type of cancer. But it isn’t outside of the realm of scientific possibility. Aside from abortion, we can’t forget about Planned Parenthood’s other little ‘gift’ to women in the form of a little pill. Now if they start painting those pink and Komen starts passing those out during the races, then we’ll definitely have something to talk about. If a pill like that is strong enough to make a woman stop ovulating, then it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to think of what else it could do to a woman’s body. Once again…when you purposfully force an unnatural change in a woman’s body, there will be consequences.
Now from here we could go on and talk about the safety of mammograms. Or even about the dangers of plastic bottles for a woman’s breast health or any other number of other connections between Komen grantees and breast cancer. But that would just open up a whole new can of worms. And they’re not very pretty.
So I’m not going to tell anyone whether they should or should not participate in the Race. I know it makes a lot of women feel like they are a part of something big and important. It can a be a lot fun and those who do run do it with the best of intentions.
It’s one thing to boycott something, but it’s another thing to come up with a replacement or alternative at least. So I was more than thrilled and impressed when I heard that some people in their local area got together and organized their own informal race to benefit a local pregnancy crisis center. You can join their efforts or start one of your own if you are so inspired. Check it out here:
Everyone has to make their own decision. For me, I have decided not to support them or participate in the Race and I try and avoid any and all other associations with Komen and the Race for the Cure because of what i’ve already said.