Friday, 3 February 2012

A candle in the wind?

As you will no doubt be aware, a major US breast cancer charity, Susan G Komen for the Cure, recently withdrew funding for Planned Parenthood (PP) which operates hundreds of abortion-performing family clinics.  Whilst this was claimed as a victory by pro-life organisations and campaigners who for many years have been protesting against Komen's links with PP,  Komen's spokeswoman Lesley Au said that this was less to do with pro-life pressure than with the fact that Congress were investigating PP for irregularities.

Unfortunately CNN reports that - under pressure within its own organisation and affiliates as well as from lawmakers - Komen has now reversed this decision and released a statement stating, "We want to apologize to the American public for recent decisions that cast doubt upon our commitment to our mission of saving women's lives (why do we need to perform abortions to do this??). We will continue to fund existing grants, including those of Planned Parenthood, and preserve their eligibility to apply for future grants, while maintaining the ability of our affiliates to make funding decisions that meet the needs of their communities."  You can read about the strength of the opposition to Komen's decision in the CNN report here.  The Guardian also carries a report here.

This is a tragedy from the pro-life point of view and a deeply disappointing decision.  Given Komen's original statement about the reason for its withdrawal of funding (Au:"the cutoff results from the charity’s newly adopted criteria barring grants to organizations that are under investigation by local, state or federal authorities"), it also reflects the strength of the pressure applied to Komen from its affliates and from lawmakers, for nothing has changed with regard to the Congressional investigation.  The American Life League claimed that PP was "lashing out at Komen across the internet and throughout the media" and Austin Ruse, the President of C-Fam (a pro-life organisation that monitors developments at international organisations such as the UN) and publisher of Friday Fax, urged pro-lifers today to sign an e-petition pledging their support for Komen's decision to discontinue funding PP projects and urging its Chair and Founder Nancy Brinkman to stand firm against pressure.  Unfortunately the petition seems to have been too late from the moment it was launched...

This post was meant to be an encouraging one illustrating that there are signs of pro-life hope "out there" in America; what happens in America sets the scene on the world stage in so many ways.  Unfortunately one flicker of hope has just been extinguished by an ugly blast of political pressure (Komen denies that this is the case, but to my mind it is difficult to make sense of their actions in any other light).  Let us hope and pray that another hopeful sign reported on by LifeNews will not suffer the same fate.  It seems that Komen are to stop funding embryonic stem cell research centres.  Please God they are not pressured to change their minds on this too.

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