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Friday, February 3, 2012

Open letter to Susan. G. Komen Foundation

To the Susan G. Komen Foundation:

           There are those who would make the events of the past week about politics, but it truly goes much deeper than that. The fact that some in this country allow themselves to reduce human life to a political bargaining chip is a sad indictment of where we have come as a nation. Planned Parenthood, whatever other services they choose to perform, refer, or support, is first and foremost in the business of ending human life. Abortion may make up a small percentage in terms of “services offered,” but the 2010 numbers state that abortion services account for over half of Planned Parenthood’s income. The fact that the Susan G. Komen Foundation can continue to offer support – either verbal or financial – to an organization that clearly values a woman’s convenience more highly than her health speaks volumes.

            When I was a child, the worst thing my parents could ever say to me was that they were disappointed in me. When they were angry, I certainly got punished. When they were furious, I got an earful. When their faces turned red and the veins in their temples began to pop, when they sputtered and stuttered because they were too exasperated with me to form sentences, I was sure to hear about it later. But I was all right with that, because anger fades quickly. The situation would be rectified, and life would go on as usual. But when their faces fell because they knew I could be better than I was, when they looked as though they might cry because I failed to act in a way that reflected my intelligence and potential, that was devastating. Most of the time they didn’t even have to say the word, but when they did tell me that I had disappointed them, I was devastated. Disappointing them meant that I had betrayed their trust, something that would not be given again right away.

            When the Susan G. Komen Foundation announced earlier this week that they would be severing ties with abortion giant Planned Parenthood, I, like many others, was hopeful. I was excited to finally be able to offer my own support to an organization that has helped millions through funding breast cancer research without compromising my deeply held belief that all life is sacred. I was ready to put on the t-shirt, wear the pink ribbons, and recommend that all of my pro-life friends do the same.  In fact, I immediately took to Twitter and Facebook in support of Komen, encouraging others to help defend against the onslaught of negative attacks and comments from those who were upset over the situation. I posted an article on my personal blog urging my readers to offer their support to Susan G. Komen in any way that they could.

            During the few days that Komen stood their ground, standing by the decision to withhold funding for Planned Parenthood, the internet nearly caught fire. I watched in disbelief as businesses, politicians and individual citizens lashed out in anger. They made nasty and hurtful comments. They threatened to withdraw their support. They threatened major boycotts. And they accused the Susan G. Komen Foundation of cowering in the face of political pressure from pro-life groups and the religious right. The irony of course, is that they accused Komen of valuing politics over women’s health when they refused to continue to support Planned Parenthood. And then they protested Komen’s decision by threatening to withdraw all of their support for the Susan G. Komen Foundation, proving that their political agenda meant more than continuing to support an organization that has helped millions of women since its founding.

            When I heard this morning that the Susan G. Komen Foundation had reversed its decision to continue to withhold funding from Planned Parenthood, I was not angry. I was not even terribly surprised. I was, however, extremely disappointed. I was saddened by the fact that Susan G. Komen would allow principle to be offered up as currency in the political marketplace. I take solace in the fact that I was not one of the hundreds of thousands of pro-life advocates who jumped at the chance in the last few days to finally donate to Susan G. Komen without feeling as though they were doing so at the cost of innocent souls. But I also find it unbearable to think about the possibility that many may have donated to Komen on my word.

            I know that I am not alone in my disappointment, and while I truly hope that Susan G. Komen will continue to work for women’s health, I do not believe that a continued partnership with Planned Parenthood will work toward that end. I do not believe that an organization that profits from ending the lives of unborn humans can be trusted to value a woman’s life beyond the profit that it can provide for them.

            I wait for the day that the Susan G. Komen Foundation values the lives and health of women more highly than the political capital available from compromise, and my donations and support will wait for that day as well.

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