Abortion is still a volatile political issue, one for which its supporters among the culture elites can brook no disagreement. Despite the fact that, according to a 2009 Gallup poll, a majority of the country—including a plurality of women—now considers itself "pro-life," most of the big thinkers who shape the nation's opinions remain on the other side of the issue.
The debate came into sharp relief when the Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation—which funds breast health services and is probably best known for its sponsorship of "The Race for the Cure"—announced earlier this week it would no longer provide funding to Planned Parenthood, the nation's largest abortion provider.
The Komen foundation originally said the decision was based on a new policy, adopted unanimously by its board last October, not to fund groups that were under investigation by federal or state authorities as Planned Parenthood and some of its affiliates now are. Later that statement was amended by its founder, former U.S. Ambassador Nancy Brinker who, The Washington Post reported, explained her group wanted "to support groups that directly provide breast health services, such as mammograms," noting that "Planned Parenthood was providing only mammogram referrals."
The feminocracy, the leadership of the so-called "women's movement," immediately went on the attack because it cannot tolerate any deviation from the "group think" that dominates most public discussions of women's health issues. To them, to be pro-women's health requires support for abortion rights and they cannot allow for anyone, including a group like the Komen foundation that does so much good work, to even been seen as deviating from the party line.
On Friday, Brinker announced, essentially, that the attacks on her group had succeeded and that any existing grants made to Planned Parenthood affiliates would continue and that the group would remain eligible to apply for grants in the future. She also announced the new policy concerning organizations under investigation would be made more explicit so that only groups under criminal investigation would be disqualified from receiving funds.
The extent to which the bullying was effective can be seen in the opening line of Brinker's statement, in which she said the board of the Komen Foundation wanted "to apologize to the American public for recent decisions that cast doubt upon our commitment to our mission of saving women's lives." The head of a private charity should not be forced to apologize for trying to be an effective steward of the monies contributed to her group and for exercising its right to choose where and how its funds could be spent. Nevertheless the whole discussion, which appears to have produced an increase in contributions to Planned Parenthood over the past few days, keeps the spotlight where it belongs, on the group whose founder, Margaret Sanger, wrote in 1922, that her goal was "More children from the fit, less from the unfit."
- See a collection of political cartoons on healthcare.
- Read Peter Roff: Mississippi Voters May Change Abortion Debate.
- See a slide show of 10 things that are (and aren't) in the healthcare bill.