The Komen paradox

Why would a group that seeks to end breast cancer give money to Planned Parenthood?

By Ginger Hutton

Susan G. Komen for the Cure—which sponsors the Race for the Cure and various pink-ribbon fundraisers to fight breast cancer—has a new ad campaign. It features slick posters with a photo of a very young baby resting on the arm of an adult. The caption reads: “Breast cancer affects more than just women.” This beautiful piece of advertising makes one think of the children who lose mothers and grandmothers to breast cancer and gives the impression that Komen (formerly known as the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation) cares deeply about those children.

Not surprisingly, a great many Catholic individuals and parishes support the Race for the Cure and other Komen programs. After all, preventing breast cancer is a good cause, and the foundation seems to do so much good.

One begins to have misgivings, however, when one looks more closely. Those who examine the Komen website will find the claim that no correlation exists between abortion and breast cancer—despite the fact that for more than 20 years a number of scientists have found evidence of a significant link between induced abortion and the development of breast cancer. Indeed, an article published in the fall 2007 Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons concludes that the increased incidence of breast cancer appears to be best explained by the higher rate of abortion and lower fertility. That article, “The Breast Cancer Epidemic,” calls abortion “the best predictor of breast cancer.”

Given the evidence that abortion is a major contributing factor in the development of breast cancer, why would Komen continue to claim otherwise? Perhaps the answer is suggested by the links between Komen and Planned Parenthood, the largest abortion provider in the United States.

Planned Parenthood affiliates have received at least 100 grants from Susan G. Komen for the Cure, and disturbing ties exist between some of Komen’s board members and Planned Parenthood, as a Right to Life of Indianapolis report indicates (

Nancy Brinker, Komen’s founder, has served on the advisory board of Planned Parenthood of Dallas and is a recipient of the Gertrude Shelburne Humanitarian award from Planned Parenthood of North Texas. In 2003 Planned Parenthood received a record $475,000 from Komen affiliates across the nation. The same year Planned Parenthood of Dallas built a new $5 million facility.

Thanks to Komen, a great many people who are opposed to abortion have unwittingly supported it. It’s very simple. You give to Komen, and it gives to Planned Parenthood. Even if the money does not directly fund abortion, as Komen claims, gifts that aid Planned Parenthood and allow its expansion benefit Planned Parenthood’s primary business, which is abortion.

Though Komen may also do good, its support of Planned Parenthood contributes to a great moral evil. For Catholics to know that and continue to fund Komen is morally untenable. But even if the moral considerations were set aside, the wisdom and efficacy of supporting Komen are questionable. It is simply irrational for an organization that claims to be trying to end breast cancer to fund an organization providing services that contribute to causing it.

Komen’s actions are at odds with its stated purpose—just as its posters suggesting concern for babies are at odds with funding an organization dedicated to killing slightly younger children. It is just as inconsistent for a pro-life Catholic to give money to the Komen foundation until it ceases funding Planned Parenthood and starts telling the truth about the link between abortion and breast cancer.

If you want to support the fight against breast cancer, consider giving to consistently pro-life organizations such as the Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer (, The Polycarp Research Institute, and The Breast Cancer Prevention Institute

Miss Hutton is a member of St. Mary Parish in Oak Ridge and a full-time godmother.

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