Another Catholic Diocese Wants Komen Ties Broken Over Abortion Involvement

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 21, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Another Catholic Diocese Wants Komen Ties Broken Over Abortion Involvement Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
February 21
, 2008

Little Rock, AR ( — Another Catholic Diocese has asked parishes and schools within its jurisdiction to break their ties with the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure because of its involvement with abortion. Komen has come under intense scrutiny over the years for making donations to Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion business.

In this case, the Diocese of Little Rock is asking that Catholic groups there no longer support or fundraise for the breast cancer organization.

The decision could have significant financial effects for Komen as several Catholic churches and schools have hosted teams for the annual race, according to an Arkansas Catholic report.

The Respect Life Office issued a statement on February 4 explaining its decision. It said the diocese "acknowledges the beneficial work" of Komen.

However, "due to its policy allowing affiliates to offer financial support to abortion providing facilities" and "the continued denial that abortion may well lead to the development of breast cancer, the Respect Life Apostolate neither supports nor encourages participation in activities that benefit Susan G. Komen for the Cure."

The diocese says its research found Komen affiliates in 22 states giving grants to Planned Parenthood abortion businesses for breast cancer screenings.

Yet, it pointed out the irony that Planned Parenthood’s 2004-2005 annual report showed 9,900 more abortions and 26,000 fewer breast exams.

"Based on these documented facts, the Respect Life Apostolate does not endorse Susan G. Komen for the Cure," it concluded.

The pro-life office urged Catholics to contact Komen with their objections to its stand on abortion and its involvement with Planned Parenthood. It provided several listings for groups in Arkansas that help women with breast cancer issues but have no involvement in abortion.

In November 2006, the Phoenix, Arizona diocese asked parishioners to tell Komen to stop giving money to Planned Parenthood.

"Some will argue the grant is earmarked for areas other than abortion or contraception, so the affiliation between the organizations is inconsequential," Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted said of the Komen grants to Planned Parenthood.

"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," he explained.

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

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.

Silver eventually 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 –