The Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation rolled over and showed its yellow underbelly in announcing that it is suspending its partnership with Planned Parenthood.
Planned Parenthood has been enduring unrelenting assault from Republicans and Blue Dog Democrats alike seeking to make access to legal abortion services functionally impossible. They have endured unreasonable requirements placed on their facilities that no other type of outpatient surgery is subjected and has been the target of baseless investigations on both the State, and now the Federal, level.
Leslie Aun, a spokesperson for the Komen Foundation cited a newly adopted policy that the Foundation would not issue any grants to, “organizations that are under investigation by local, state or federal authorities.”
It seems a Federal investigation launched by Conservative Florida Republican Congressman Cliff Stearns may have been the tipping point for the Komen Group which has partnered with Planned Parenthood to provide breast health services for women since 2005 in the face of fierce opposition from anti-abortion groups so insane that in December the Southern Baptist Convention recalled the Here’s Hope Breast Cancer Awareness Bible, released by their publishing arm, LifeWay Christian Resources, because $1.00 from every sale was donated to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation to support breast health education and treatment for low-income and under-insured women. The Komen Foundation has donated about $680,000 to at least 19 affiliates. The grants paid for 170,000 breast exams, 70,000 mammograms, and 6,400 biopsies in women who otherwise may have waited due to financial concerns until their medical diagnosis becomes a death sentence.
Thom Rainer, speaking on behalf of the Southern Baptists, whose religious beliefs Jimmy Carter disavowed after 65 years as a member, in part because of “a denominational statement that prohibits women from being pastors and tells wives to be submissive to their husbands,” that the former President believes, “violate the basic premises of my Christian faith,” stated that it was against the “core values” of the Southern Baptists, “to even have an indirect relationship with Planned Parenthood.”
It seems “indirect relationship” is what’s on Congressman Stearns, in his role as Chairman of the Energy & Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, had mind when he launched his investigation into whether Planned Parenthood impermissibly mixes Title X family planning funds, Medicaid funds, or any other Federal Funding with its abortion services which are banned by law from being funded with taxpayer dollars.
Congressman Sterns, who also sponsored a Bill titled “The Informed Choice Act” that would have provided taxpayer funding for so-called “crisis pregnancy centers” to purchase ultrasound equipment, “to provide free examinations to pregnant women needing such services, and for other purposes,” was acting on a report he received from an organization known as Americans United for Life.
The citation-free report contends that “even the federal government does not know” how much money Planned Parenthood receives and how it is spent even though Democratic Congressman Henry Waxman notes that Planned Parenthood is routinely audited by both the HHS Inspector General and by state Medicaid programs and that the results of those audits are published publicly.
There are two other sections of the AUL report that are particularly interesting. The first complains that “Planned Parenthood failed to provide the young women who sought its advice essential information, including the fact that induced abortion increases the risk of miscarriage by 55 percent in subsequent pregnancies, and that there exists a heightened risk of suicide and psychiatric admissions to women who have had an induced abortions,” “facts” that are patently untrue. The second assertion is that some devices that the sane people among us believe to be contraceptives, such as IUDs and the Morning After Pill, should actually be counted as abortion and any Planned Parenthood clinic where an IUD is inserted or Plan B is handed out are actually practicing abortion. Americans United for Life, whose website has a link to send a thank-you email to the Susan G. Komen Foundation, also puts forth the false claim that abortion causes breast cancer.
Congressman Sterns is demanding Planned Parenthood turn over financial records for the past twenty years. It is a tactic seen used at the State level. When Indiana acted to defund Planned Parenthood in that State the argument was used that if a Planned Parenthood also had abortion services and there was not a separate electrical meter used when the abortion suites were in use then taxpayers were “subsidizing” abortions hence splicing pennies in increments so small that it really isn’t money at all anymore, just ideological desperation played out on the battlefield of women’s bodies. All Congressman Sterns is trying to do is defund Planned Parenthood through the frivolous use of the legal process.
Even if Congressman Sterns went away, unlikely as he’s been re-elected with around 60% of his District’s vote there would still be the State and even Local politicians hoping to make a name for themselves by trying to out-do each other over who can take the toughest stand against women’s reproductive rights and a United States Citizen’s right to privacy. Kansas saw an out-of-control Johnson County, Kansas District Attorney Phil Kine, attempted in 2003 to subpoena the private medical records of Planned Parenthood patients to support accusations that the local Planned Parenthood there was performing late-term abortions and covering up child rape. The Kansas Supreme Court ruled that Planned Parenthood would have to provide the redacted records but by that time the records in question had been destroyed. These missing records resulted in 23 felony and 23 misdemeanor charges being dropped but subsequent Johnson County District Attorneys have pursued a remaining 58 misdemeanor charges in court that paperwork was handled correctly. Phil Kline, who now teaches at Liberty University Law School in Virginia, the school Jerry Falwell founded, and, distressingly for a law professor, recently stated, “I don’t expect the judicial system to get to the truth.” The Planned Parenthood records had been destroyed in 2009 after the murder of Dr. George Tiller, who had been acquitted of charges in Kansas shortly before being shot to death by anti-abortion terrorist Scott Roeder while Dr. Tiller attended services at his Church, the Reformation Lutheran Church in Wichita.
This all seems to be part of a larger, more sinister, pattern. From assaults on women’s reproductive rights, including our right to access contraceptives, to Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito’s assertion that the Constitution doesn’t apply to women, to Rick Santorum staffer Jamie Johnson’s claim that a female president would be working against, “God’s higher desires” to the Right Wing’s embrace of such spectacular sexual sinners as David Vitter and Newt Gingrich while piously invoking “family values” giving us a chilling glimpse into the patriarchy's mindset as it works to achieve social control over women and minorities. From the Right Wing all of this is to be expected but what the Susan G. Komen Foundation did in becoming a Quisling for the Evangelical Woman Hater’s Club just goes to show that Sisterhood isn’t for Sissies.