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Viewpoint 2/3: Cutting cancer-screening funds is pro-life?

Recently, the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation announced it would no longer provide any funding to Planned Parenthood for cancer screenings for women. The foundation is a global organization founded by the sister of breast cancer victim Susan G. Komen and dedicated to eliminating breast cancer. It provided about $700,000 in grant money to provide breast cancer screenings, education and other resources to lower-income women who use Planned Parenthood clinics.

The change comes after the organization was infiltrated with a new vice president, Karen Handel, who espoused “pro-life” views. Being pro-life is fine, except Handel’s job at the foundation is about preventing and treating breast cancer, not trying to stop abortions. Handel has abandoned the responsibilities she was hired to perform and instead has hijacked her organization to advance her own personal beliefs. If the Komen foundation was an anti-abortion organization, then this would be perfectly acceptable, but once again, it should be pointed out that the organization’s mission is about stopping breast cancer, not abortions.

In order to justify the decision, the foundation first claimed that its decision was because of a rule in its organization that states no funding shall be given to an organization under a pending investigation (an anti-abortion Republican from Florida, Representative Cliff Stearns, is investigating Planned Parenthood, saying he’s trying to find out if the organization used public money to fund abortions).

However, several sources in the media have stated that the rule was invented as an excuse to cut off Planned Parenthood. Later in the week, the foundation seemed to change its story by saying that Planned Parenthood wasn’t meeting new standards for receiving grants. Komen has faced a massive outcry from the public over its decision. One of its top officials, Mollie Williams, has resigned. Its website has been hacked. Many are cutting up Komen’s symbolic pink ribbons in protest.

Meanwhile, conservative activists are cheering Komen’s decision, making the claim that cutting funding for cancer screens would be saving lives. “Pro-lifers” have been pressuring Komen to cut funding from Planned Parenthood since 2005, blatantly lying that the money is used to subsidize abortions. They have previously used the same delusion to advocate for cuts in government funding for Planned Parenthood, despite a federal law that forbids the organization from using funds it receives from the government on abortions. Some conservative activists have even said that performing abortions are the bulk of what Planned Parenthood does when, in fact, only 3 percent of what Planned Parenthood does involves providing abortions. The other 97 percent consists of providing contraception, testing and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases, and giving cancer screenings.

It is perfectly acceptable for someone to disagree with the procedure of abortion, but even if one believes it to be murder, he or she should look at the actual effect Komen’s decision is going to have. In the end, regardless of how many abortions Planned Parenthood actually performs, the money being given to Planned Parenthood by Komen was only being used to fund breast and ovarian cancer screenings. This means that, by withdrawing the grant Planned Parenthood was recieving, Komen has made absolutely no impact on the number of abortions being performed. The funding for abortions will be unaffected, and the numbers being performed will not decrease. The only thing Komen’s decision has done is deprive 170,000 low-income women a year from being given life-saving cancer screenings. So much for being “pro-life.”

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