Dear Komen Foundation…
I’ve always been a “Race for the Cure” fan. I’ve been to several, and have been deeply moved to see the thousands who turn out to run/walk. I’ve watched members of my family run/walk, in memory of my grandmother. I’ve cried tears when survivors are introduced. I even used your organization in a sermon illustration once.
But tonight, I am stunned to hear you are cutting off funding for Planned Parenthood’s breast cancer screenings.(1)
Based on what I am reading on the internet, I am not the alone.
My understanding is that you have cut off funding because Planned Parenthood is the target of a congressional investigation, launched by an untra-conservative member of that body.
This is a disturbing precedent on several fronts.
First, the political front. In a single decision, you have emboldened the most radical elements of our society, You have given them the encouragement that a mere investigation might result in groups like yours taking pre-emptive action.
Your spokesperson, Lesli Aun, said this: “We want to maintain a positive relationship with them…We’re not making any judgment.”
Actually, you are making a judgment. That’s exactly what you’re doing. Please do not pretend otherwise.
You want to “maintain relationship?” Then why do anything at this time?
Your actions speak louder than your words.
The second “front” is what you have done to split a community in this country who passionately support the health and well being of our nation’s women.
Tonight, you present women and men a “Sophie’s Choice” between supporting your organization and Planned Parenthood.
I know Planned Parenthood to be a fine organization the provides low-cost health services to millions of women in our country. A part of that health screening has been screening for breast cancer.
This is the funding you are cutting? Funding to prevent the very disease you claim to want to cure? This makes no sense whatsoever.
It is hyperpolitical, not a-political.
I was deeply moved by the comments of Patrick Hurd, who is CEO of a Planned Parenthood affiliate in Virginia, which was in turn a recipient of a 2010 grant from your organization. His wife, Betsi is battling breast cancer, and has been a participant in many of your races.
I think he put it best when he said this:
“…cancer doesn’t care if you’re pro-choice, anti-choice, progressive, conservative.”
So why do you?
(1) Disclosure: In addition to being a fan of your group, I am a fan of Planned Parenthood. Once upon a time, I served as a clergy member of the Religious Advisory Committee of Planned Parenthood of Dallas and Northeast Texas.
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