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Pro-life Leaders Praise Komen's Decision on Planned Parenthood Grants
By
Joseph Kenny
Source: Catholic News Service
Published: Thursday, February 2, 2012
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ST. LOUIS (CNS)—The Jan. 31 announcement by Susan G. Komen for the Cure that it will no longer give grants to Planned Parenthood affiliates for breast cancer screenings "shows we are making a difference and having an impact," said a coordinator of pro-life programs for the St. Louis Archdiocese.

Sarah Swaykus, who is with the Respect Life Apostolate, made the comments in an interview with the St. Louis Review, newspaper of the archdiocese.

Maureen Kane, the apostolate's parish and elementary program coordinator, said she was pleased that the Komen organization recognized the inappropriateness of working with Planned Parenthood and that she hopes "they can direct their attention to continuing to help people dealing with cancer."

Komen, an international organization based in Dallas, raises millions annually for the detection, treatment and research of breast cancer. One of its signature events is the annual Race for the Cure held in communities around the country.

Besides providing abortions, Planned Parenthood offers free breast exams and mammograms, considered key to early detection of breast cancer. The Komen foundation had previously said that it intended its contributions go toward these exams but could not control how funds were allocated at Planned Parenthood.

Leslie Aun, a spokeswoman for Komen, told The Associated Press that the organization's decision to end its relationship with Planned Parenthood was based on a new policy that says grants cannot be given to organizations that are being investigated by government authorities, whether it is at the state, local or federal level.

Planned Parenthood is currently the focus of an investigation by U.S. Rep. Cliff Stearns, R-Fla., to see whether public money was improperly spent on abortions.

The Planned Parenthood Federation issued a statement that Komen "appears to have succumbed to political pressure" by pro-life groups and others that have called to end of federal funding for Planned Parenthood.

In recent years, the St. Louis Archdiocese and several other U.S. dioceses have asked Catholic groups to suspend support for Komen, citing its contributions to Planned Parenthood and the fact the foundation does not exclude the possibility of funding research that uses embryonic stem cells.

Last April, the Archdiocese of St. Louis reissued one of its previous policy statements on the Komen foundation: "Due to its policy allowing affiliates to offer financial support to abortion-providing facilities, its denial of studies showing abortion as a cause of breast cancer, and its endorsement of embryonic stem-cell research, the Respect Life Apostolate neither supports nor encourages participation in activities that benefit Susan G. Komen for the Cure."

Last July Bishop Leonard P. Blair of Toledo, Ohio, told Catholic institutions and schools in that diocese to suspend fundraising efforts for Komen and instead direct such donations to a local group of Catholic-run cancer centers.

Father Shenan J. Boquet, president of Human Life International in Front Royal, Va., praised the Komen foundation for taking "the courageous step of separating themselves" from Planned Parenthood.

"The more organizations and companies who recognize Planned Parenthood for what it is—a corrupt, divisive and destructive fraud perpetrated against women's health, and especially against children—the more people of faith and reason can join together in supporting causes that truly improve women's health," he said. "Clearly, abortion is not good for women's health."

Charmaine Yoest, president and CEO of Americans United for Life, also praised Komen for its decision.

"As a breast cancer survivor, I applaud the decision of the Komen Foundation to discontinue their partnership with the nation's largest abortion provider," she said in a statement.

In a letter to Congress last April urging lawmakers to exclude from the federal budget any funding for Planned Parenthood or its affiliates, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston called the federation "by far the largest provider and promoter of abortions nationwide."

The cardinal, chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Pro-Life Activities, said that Planned Parenthood also has opposed "any meaningful limits on abortion, including modest measures such as public funding bans, informed consent provisions and parental notice requirements on unemancipated minors."


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