Politicians Harshly Criticize Komen’s Decision to Restrict Funding to Planned Parenthood
WASHINGTON, D.C., February 3, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – In the harsh public and media backlash that greeted its decision to restrict funding to Planned Parenthood, some of the Susan G. Komen Foundation’s most strident critics have been members of Congress.
Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-CA, called Komen’s decision a “trumped-up excuse” for ending support for Planned Parenthood and described Komen founder and CEO Nancy Brinker’s explanation as “gobbledygook.” Invoking “the McCarthy era,” Sen. Boxer blamed the foundation’s new grant criteria on “political pressure…coming from the far right-wing that just don’t [sic.] believe” taxpayers should fund “a full range of reproductive health care.” (You can watch the video of her appearance today here.)
“This is the 21st century,” Boxer said.
Her colleague, Patty Murray of Washington, agreed that Komen had “put in place a policy that says directly that they will not provide funding for organizations like Planned Parenthood because of a partisan witch hunt in the House.”
Boxer and Murray joined 20 other U.S. Senators, all Democrats, in writing a letter to the Komen foundation stating its new policy would deprive women of “potentially life-saving screenings because of a politically motivated attack.” The letter, which was initiated by New Jersey’s Frank Lautenberg, was signed by Senators Boxer, Murray, Mikulski, Wyden, Blumenthal, Feinstein, Franken, Begich, Cantwell, Gillibrand, Menendez, Shaheen, Merkley, Tester, Akaka, Sanders, (Sherrod) Brown, Leahy, Baucus, Cardin, and Kerry.
A member of the House, California Congresswoman Jackie Speier, raised the issue of the Komen foundation’s tax-exempt charitable status in a speech on the House floor. Speier said, “I guess it means that Susan G. Komen has become a 501(c)(4), because no longer do they want to be providing [funding to] nonprofits. They want to become a political advocacy group.” She asked Americans to call Komen “and tell them that you want them to stick to what they know.”
Paul Rondeau, executive director of the American Life League, told LifeSiteNews.com the political attacks showed “just how dangerously powerful Planned Parenthood has become.”
“This is simply a protection racket, he said. “They do not do mammograms, or diagnostics, or treatment. They simply refer them out.”
“Compromise has allowed them to threaten to destroy another organization if they refuse to continue paying them for services they don’t even provide,” Rondeau said. “More sickening, 22 pro-abortion Democratic senators stood by their side as they did it.”
Randau said these Democratic politicians hoped to “crush Komen, who is in the business of saving lives, to protect Planned Parenthood, who is in the business of terminating the next generation.”
Prominent members of the House also voiced opposition to the private charity’s policy. Former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, who represents San Francisco, told reporters Thursday, “this decision on their part is to the detriment of women’s health.”
Rep. Jim Moran, D-VA, issued a statement calling the reduced funding “deeply troubling” and urged Komen not to “let politics interfere with protecting women’s health.”
Directly addressing such criticism, Nancy Brinker said in an online video posted Thursday, “We will never bow to political pressure. We will always stand firm in our goal to end breast cancer forever.”
On Friday, Brinker posted a statement clarifying the foundation’s stance. Many interpreted it as a reversal.
“It just goes to show you when women speak out, women win.” Pelosi said on Capitol Hill Friday. “They made one decision. Now they have reversed it. We have a good outcome. ”
Pro-life organizations are waiting on further developments to see if the nuanced statement actually signals a change in policy toward funding Planned Parenthood on a mass scale or merely restates its new policy.
You can contact the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation here. However, heavy e-mail traffic has intermittently shut down its website.