Friday, February 3, 2012

Seeing Pink Over Abortion

Todd Kelly says that as a 501(c)(3) with a mission of breast cancer awareness, prevention, and treatment, Susan G. Komen for the Cure went way off message:

I don’t have their financial records, but I’m betting that – to use a round number – no one donated money to them to help out either the Pro-Life or the Pro-Choice cause. I’m pretty sure they donated to fund breast cancer research. Large donors may file suit against Komen for the return of some or all of their historical donations, and Komen might actually lose such a suit.

By putting themselves in the position they have, the Board of Komen has ensured that their name is no longer synonymous with breast cancer research. Instead, it’s deeply entangled with the vitriolic debate on abortion. And...that’s going to be a pretty deep pit of quicksand from which to pull themselves out. Personally, I don’t know that they ever fully can. They are certainly going to take it in the shorts over time, even if they do survive. And the reason for that won’t be because they were the champion of the life of a fetus, and it won’t be because they were the champion of a women’s right to choose.

It’s because by trying to be either one, you can’t be the champion of fighting breast cancer.
Fair enough. I know lots of breast cancer contributors and activists. Their views on abortion probably run the gamut. But Kelly doesn't say how Komen could have avoided becoming entangled in the issue as soon as it decided to fund anything at Planned Parenthood, which has a broader portfolio, unless his argument is that it's a matter of mindset and how one communicates the single-minded passion of purpose. "Listen," Komen might say. "Our goal is to save women from breast cancer. If Planned Parenthood helps with that, we are going fund them. If BP wants to open cancer screening centers instead of car washes at your neighborhood AM/PM, we'll fund that. Others can worry about abortion, pro-lifers, and the Gulf of Mexico."

Andrew Sullivan addresses some of the ambiguities of the issue, including generational ones, here.

Photo by Reuters

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