Catholic Diocese in Arizona Takes on Komen Foundation Over Abortion

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 3, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Catholic Diocese in Arizona Takes on Komen Foundation Over Abortion Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
November 3
, 2006

Phoenix, AZ ( — A Catholic diocese in Arizona appears to be the first to directly take on the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation over its long-standing relationship with Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion business. The Phoenix diocese is asking parishioners to tell Komen to stop giving money to Planned Parenthood.

Komen and some of its affiliates across the nation have contributed tens of millions of dollars to Planned Parenthood.

The money is used for breast screenings instead of abortion, but abortion has been a leading factor in the rise of breast cancer cases since Roe v. Wade.

"Some will argue the grant is earmarked for areas other than abortion or contraception, so the affiliation between the organizations is inconsequential," an editorial approved by Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted that appeared in the Thursday edition of the Catholic Sun diocesan newspaper.

"But the sad reality is that the grant money now frees up Planned Parenthood funds for those other areas opposing life and counter to our Catholic faith," it explained.

The editorial came after the newspaper featured an article on some area women who participated in Komen’s Race for the Cure and it received complaints from pro-life advocates aware of the Komen-Planned Parenthood connection.

In the Phoenix area, Komen, whose race netted it 40,000 people and $1.8 million, game $25,000 to Parenthood of Central and Northern Arizona, the Arizona Republic reported.

In comments to the Republic, Pat Elder, executive director of the Arizona chapter of Komen, said the money was given to Planned Parenthood because it was the only local organization performing free or low-cost breast exams.

Ironically, a local Catholic hospital is also involved with Komen and St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center donated $10,000 to the Komen group as a race sponsor this year and it received a $75,000 grant from the organization.

Sister Margaret McBride, a hospital vice president, told the Phoenix newspaper that news of the Komen link to Planned Parenthood and the editorial in the newspaper will prompt the hospital to look into its funding.

"I am not sure how the diocese will interpret that," she said. "This (news) will open us up to having a conversation with the bishop."

But Shonna James of the Foundation for Senior Living, another local Catholic agency, said she has no problems with the Planned Parenthood grants. Olmsted has authority over that group.

According to former Komen public relations director Kristin Kelly, Komen affiliates awarded $38.4 million in grants to support community outreach programs in 2003. That figure includes 21 grants to their local Planned Parenthood chapters totaling more than $475,000.

The grants prompted medical research analyst and Hispanic outreach director Eve Sanchez Silver to resign from her leadership position within Komen.

Earlier this month, Silver had a meeting with Komen officials about their grants and abortion’s link with breast cancer.

"SGK officials did not appear to have knowledge of simple breast facts," Silver said in a statement received.

Silver explained that the breast is an organ that is not mature at birth and SGK officials appeared to be surprised to learn that the breast does not become fully mature until after 32 weeks of pregnancy.

As a result of that state of development, interruption of pregnancy via an abortion before 32 weeks leaves breast cells exposed to estrogen, which is highly carcinogenic.

She indicated the Komen representatives also appeared to be "more concerned about assisting women after they had contracted breast cancer, than informing them to avoid breast cancer risk by avoiding abortions and having [an] early, full term pregnancy."

"This is an appalling lack of concern for the women the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation is supposed to be helping," Silver added.

Related web sites:
Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation –
Eve Sanchez Silver –
National Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer –