In the Wake of the Komen / Planned Parenthood Debacle

Scott Stantis cartoon from the Chicago TribuneHaving grown up in the pro-life movement, I know better than to take anything the mainstream media says at face value, especially when it comes to abortion. As kids, my siblings and I used to get a kick out of how badly the press would butcher the spelling of our family name—let alone the details of pickets and protests we attended.

So when I saw Friday’s Associated Press headline declaring “Komen drops plan to cut Planned Parenthood grants,” I knew I had to see for myself what Komen was really saying. Not surprisingly, the reality is rather far from what that AP and other news outlets were reporting.

Yes, Susan G. Komen for the Cure did issue a statement Friday “apologizing” for the their recent decision not to give any more grants to Planned Parenthood.

But—and this is a big “but”—they didn’t actually say they will resume giving Planned Parenthood grants.

What they did say is that Planned Parenthood can apply for grants in the future.

However, that’s no guarantee they’ll get them. And given the fact that Planned Parenthood doesn’t actually do mammograms—which is what those grants are for—it seems likely they won’t.

We’ll just have to wait and see.

Pro-Lifers To Keep a Close Eye on Komen

So what does all this mean for us pro-lifers?

First, it means that we cannot support Komen with financial gifts—not before we see they’ve actually stopped giving to Planned Parenthood for good. (It would also help if they were to squarely face the evidence linking breast cancer to abortion and contraception.)

Second, it means that we in the pro-life movement need to work all the harder to keep the focus on the real foe in this story, Planned Parenthood.

As James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal put it, Planned Parenthood basically executed a mafia-style shakedown on Susan G. Komen for the Cure. They were willing to totally destroy the nation’s largest breast cancer research and education organization, rather than lose the $600,000 in grants—a pittance to them (one twentieth of a percent of their annual budget)—they got from Komen.

Planned Parenthood Hurt by the Controversy

By the end of the day Friday, it looked like Planned Parenthood might emerge from this debacle unscathed, perhaps even stronger than they were before. They certainly showed what kind of muscle they can flex with that billion dollar budget and a host of allies in the media.

But now it looks to me that—whatever Komen’s fate may be—Planned Parenthood was hurt by last week’s controversy.

As pro-life blogger Gerard Nadal points out, the real reason Planned Parenthood wants Komen as a partner is to create the phony public image that they help women and distract attention from their huge role in the abortion industry.

But over the past week, thousands of Americans have learned for the first time that Planned Parenthood is an abortion provider—in fact, the largest abortion provider in the country. Even if people believe the lie the abortion is only a “tiny fraction” of their mission, it’s always bad for Planned Parenthood to be directly linked to abortion.

That “tiny fraction” myth (which I saw deflate from 10% to 5% to 3% a few years ago, as Planned Parenthood found better and better ways to do the math) took a hit, with the likes of Ross Douthat in the New York Times debunking it, while simultaneously upbraiding the media for their bias in this controversy.

Planned Parenthood: Schoolyard Bully

Planned Parenthood was also hurt by appearing to be a bully. For the most part, the mainstream media cast Planned Parenthood as the victim, but some—including the Wall Street Journal, Kathleen Parker in the Washington Post and Mark Steyn in the Orange County Register saw it the other way around.

And it’s not only some in the media who are recognizing Planned Parenthood’s strong-arm tactics for what they are. No doubt Planned Parenthood’s other corporate donors are seeing it, too.

Planned Parenthood’s scorched earth policy with Komen will probably keep some of them from ever considering severing ties with the abortion giant, but I’m sure others are now looking for ways to quietly back out of that potentially poisonous relationship. More importantly, corporations not currently giving to Planned Parenthood will think twice before doing so now.

Job One for Pro-Lifers: Expose Planned Parenthood

But whether I’m right or wrong about Planned Parenthood coming out of this controversy a loser, one thing is clear: We in the pro-life movement have to redouble our efforts to expose Planned Parenthood for the evil organization they truly are.

Even many of us who have been fighting Planned Parenthood head-to-head for years were stunned at how much firepower they unleashed on Komen (and us) last week. Maybe we needed to be stunned.

If the November elections actually unseat our pro-abortion president and the pro-abortion leadership of the Senate, depriving Planned Parenthood of federal Title X funding will become a real possibility. We’ve just gotten a taste of how Planned Parenthood will react to that. We’ll be better prepared for this battle than we would have been.

At the Pro-Life Action League, we are looking hard at how we can contribute to the effort to rip off the mask of respectability from Planned Parenthood, confront their propaganda and convince those in media and government to reconsider supporting them so blindly.

And for all of us in the pro-life movement, our new refrain must become, “What have I done to expose Planned Parenthood today?”

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