Catholic Bishop Drops Komen Support Over Planned Parenthood Ties

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 13, 2011   |   11:39AM   |   Toledo, OH

A Catholic bishop in Ohio says his “misgivings” about the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation over its ties to the Planned Parenthood abortion business make it so he is suggesting that Catholics not support the organization.

In a letter, Most Reverend Leonard P. Blair, the Bishop of Toledo, Ohio, said numerous questions Catholic have raised about Komen prompted him and his fellow Ohio bishops to investigate and his conclusion is that Komen has Planned parenthood connections and may support embryonic stem cell research.

“They are open to embryonic stem cell research, and may very well fund such research in the future. They are also contributors to Planned Parenthood, which, though it may claim to provide needed medical services to poor women, is also the largest provider of abortions in our country,” Blair writes.

Those ties are sufficient for him to suggest to Catholics that they not participate in Komen events and he said the Catholic Church in Toledo, Ohio will not support Komen.

“In order to avoid even the possibility of cooperation in morally unacceptable activities, the other Bishops and I believe that it would be wise to find alternatives to Komen for Catholic fundraising efforts,” he writes. “For that reason, I am directing that in the fight against breast cancer, fundraising carried out under Catholic auspices, including our schools, should be channeled to our locally known Mercy Cancer Centers instead of Komen.”

Blair says Catholics should not back down in supporting women dealing with breast cancer or helping them prevent it, but he said Catholics have a moral obligation to help groups like Mercy that do so without other morally compromising positions.

“Through Mercy, we can help local women who are without financial means to receive specialized care which includes treatment, detection and support in their fight against breast cancer. We can be assured that at Mercy, these women will receive a high level of compassionate care that respects their human dignity,” he wrote. “While we want to do everything possible to support the search for a cure, sadly the landscape of medical research today is sometimes marred by the erroneous belief that research is not bound by moral norms rooted in faith and reason, as reflected in the teaching of the Church. That teaching holds, for example, that it is not morally acceptable to destroy one human life, even in its embryonic stage, in order to save another human life.”

The Catholic bishop has already faced criticism from liberals in Ohio over his letter and the Catholic diocese released a statement yesterday in response.

“Bishop Blair’s letter is neither a condemnation, censure, nor–as the Blade claimed–a “ban” on the Komen Foundation,” the statement says. “Individual Catholics who want to contribute to Komen locally can continue to do so on the basis of Komen’s assurance that no local funds go to Planned Parenthood or to embryonic stem cell research. However, there are some who in good faith continue to have misgivings about Komen’s association with Planned Parenthood and its openness to embryonic stem cell research.”

“In the Diocese of Toledo, Mercy Cancer Centers are a very appropriate local way to channel donations raised under Catholic auspices for the fight against breast cancer,” the statement added.

The Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation has long denied that abortion plays any role in elevating the risk for women of contracting the deadly disease. That’s despite a wealth of research over decades showing an average increased risk of about 40 percent for women having abortions compared to those who carry their pregnancy to term. But the contributions Komen affiliates make to Planned Parenthood, which does more than 25 percent of all abortions in the United States and aggressively promotes abortion abroad, provide another sources of frustration for pro-life people who otherwise would support the group.

In an interview with the Daily Caller in October, Komen spokesman John Hammarley provided the latest figures showing the link between the two groups.

He confirmed 20 of Komen’s 122 affiliates have made donations to Planned Parenthood and, last year, those contributions totaled $731,303 — which confirms earlier pro-life analysis of Komen’s figures on its web site reported earlier this year.

The Komen spokesman also confirmed Komen affiliates contributed about $3.3 million to the abortion business from 2004-2009.

Another problem for pro-life advocates is the fact that Planned Parenthood is reducing the number of breast cancer screenings while increasing its abortions.

According to the 2008 Annual Report from Planned Parenthood, breast cancer services decreased by 4% and abortion procedures increased by 6%.

The longtime ties between Komen and Planned Parenthood may have resulted in some backlash from the pro-life community. The Komen annual report reveals Komen brought in almost $22 million less, or 6% less, in 2009 than it made in 2008. That could be a result of the difficult economic times or may also come as a result of pro-life advocates increasingly boycotting Komen.

Meanwhile, the newest research on the link between abortion and breast cancer reveals abortion certainly plays a role in increasing the breast cancer risk.

An August 2009 study called abortion a “known risk factor” for breast cancer and cited a study conducted by the prestigious Janet Daling group of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle.

Daling and her colleagues showed between a 20 and 50 percent increased breast cancer risk for women having abortions compare to those who carried their pregnancies to term.

And microbiologist Dr. Gerard Nadal, who has a PhD in Molecular Microbiology from St John’s University in New York, has spent 16 years teaching science, most recently at Manhattan College, has been profiling more than 100 studies on his blog showing abortion’s link to breast cancer.