As much as the Susan G. Komen foundation wants to fight breast cancer, it apparently doesn’t see the point in saving a boob unless there’s some kid around to drink milk from it.
Well, that’s one way of looking at the Komen foundation’s politically-charged decision to discontinue its funding of breast cancer screenings at Planned Parenthood facilities. The other way is to realize that the Komen foundation has merely joined the growing army of Christian evangelicals who have been taking aim at Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest provider of abortions, the past few years.
And surprise, it’s an election year. The economy is still in the dumps, and even though the president is black most Americans still blame Republicans for our financial woes. So, it makes sense that the Christian White—er, right—are banging on their God drums once again, attempting to push their unwanted-babies agenda into the headlines. But the Komen foundation’s entrance into this ongoing cultural war is a particularly disheartening one. In taking a political stance on abortion, the group is essentially holding cancer research hostage, not to mention the lives of the thousands of women who benefit from Planned Parenthood’s services.
Most of those women, by the way, are living in poverty and have few if any options when it comes to monitoring their health. And if those women can no longer get breast exams at Planned Parenthood, they’ll just end up getting them in some dark alleyway from some shyster with a coat hanger.
Oh, wait: that’s what they do when they can’t get abortions.
Scratch that last thought, as it doesn’t apply in this case anyway because Planned Parenthood will still comfortably be able to perform the tens of thousands of breast exams it does each year. Without question, Planned Parenthood will miss the money, but with an annual budget of over $1 billion dollars, the yearly loss of Susan G. Komen’s seven or eight hundred thousand dollars won’t exactly lead to the wholesale suspension of any services. Besides, according to The Washington Post, Planned Parenthood raised over $400,000 in online donations since Susan G. Komen officially severed ties with the family-planning organization on Tuesday.
The lesson here is that when fanatical Christians attack, liberals donate.
Thankfully, this is merely a symbolic move meant to satiate Susan G. Komen’s evangelical donors and not one that will heavily impact Planned Parenthood. Sadly, though, the move will likely have a huge impact on cancer research, as pro-choice advocates are tearing up their pink ribbons, dropping out of Komen’s three-day race for the cure, and returning all those pink boxes of cereal they bought to support the organization.
Current public perception aside, the Susan G. Komen foundation has for over three decades done an amazing job at raising both awareness of breast cancer and money to fight it. In fact, until recently, the group was one of the few non-profits in America beyond reproach, universally admired for the services it provided. It’s mind-boggling then that Komen’s board members would jeopardize the future of that great and important work by taking a purely symbolic stance on abortion.
Sadder still is that they’ve turned a charitable organization into a political one. If other such groups take their lead, pretty soon the Salvation Army will only help people out once they’ve been baptized, the Red Cross will force you to invite Jesus into your heart before your transfusion, and your grandmother will have to say grace before the Meals-On-Wheels driver hands over dinner. If you want to call that Christian charity, go ahead; I’m going to stick to calling it extortion.
The ironic thing is that, while Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider of abortions, they’re also America’s leader in preventing them. Between the birth control and contraceptives they provide and the counseling and family planning they offer, the group prevents hundreds of thousands of unwanted pregnancies each year. If the Christian right had their way and Planned Parenthood was run out of town completely, the number of abortions in America would increase dramatically.
Which wouldn’t sadden me in the least, though I’m probably not the best person to speak on the subject because I love abortions as much as I likely would the child I’ll coincidentally never have to have. Seriously, I think they’re so wonderful, I’d give them out for Christmas gifts if I could.
Of course, I’m not a Christian fundamentalist—most of whom would probably be saddened by a dramatic spike in abortions. Still, I find it hard to believe Christians so greatly value the sanctity of life when they clearly don’t value the sanctity of anything else. Women’s rights, the separation of church and state, the basic principles of the Constitution, quality education, science, the welfare of the needy: all of these things are disposable to the Christian right when it comes to their pursuit of a god-fearing America. It’s an America in which all sins have been outlawed, which for Christians is a good thing because it’s easier to outlaw temptation than to develop the strength of character required to resist it.
Still, many Christians strongly believe that God’s will directs everything, and that’s why they argue that a fetus is only conceived because God wants that baby to live. Following that line of logic, though, you pretty much have to accept as well that if you develop cancer, God wants you dead.
And perhaps it’s this kind of thinking that led Susan G. Komen’s board members to make a decision that could so adversely impact its ability to continue doing the good deeds they’ve done for decades. Still, I hope they do continue that work, and I’d encourage people angered by the foundation to seek out other groups devoted to cancer research and preventative health care to donate to instead. Because unlike God and apparently the Susan G. Komen foundation: If you get sick, I want you to live.
Unless you’ve yet to develop a consciousness or a heartbeat, in which case: Merry Christmas.
On that note, I’ll leave you with a simple question: How many unborn fetuses did God abort when he flooded the world back in the days of the Old Testament? The truth is, I don’t know the answer to that question, or if there even is an answer to it.
But if there is one, I imagine the number is a far greater total than Planned Parenthood will ever reach, so if you want to boycott the wicked might I suggest you start first with your church?