In case you missed the drama, Planned Parenthood and the Susan G. Komen Foundation have had a rocky relationship this week. To summarize; Komen cut off funding for PPH (they sponsor over 170,000 breast exams each year) which set off an intense reaction from both sides of the pro-life/pro-choice divide. Then, after a surprisingly silent day or so, Komen reversed its position and declared that it would continue with its funding.

Ultimately, I think Komen is going to lose out from this whole debacle. Before the threatened funding cut, Komen’s relationship with PPH was far from common knowledge. I wasn’t really aware of it, and I have a vested interest in both organizations. Now, however, Komen is going to be forever linked to its decision. If they had chosen to continue with the cut funding they would be a pro-life organization, and supporters of Planned Parenthood, like myself, would search for different breast cancer organizations to support. Never mind that many of those organizations have never donated to PPH in the first place or taken any kind of side in the abortion debate.

Now that Komen has returned it’s funding, there are still some pro-choice advocates (again, like myself) who are wary of the organization. The publicity turned up a fair amount of dirt on Komen, like their habit of suing smaller breast cancer fundraisers for use of the phrase “the cure.” Or their ill-advised partnerships with organizations like Kentucky Fried Chicken and Mike’s Hard Lemonade. On their own, these missteps seem like well-meaning blunders, but combined with the Planned Parenthood scandal, I find myself wary of the organization as a whole.

Meanwhile, Komen’s decision to return funding to Planned Parenthood will certainly damage their reputation among pro-life groups. And because of the drama and publicity of this whole flip-flop, many people who never knew that Komen and PPH were partners are now very aware of that fact.

The funny part of all of this? Right after I heard the news of the cut funding I did a vague Google search for alternative cancer charities to Komen. Every single link that turned up was from pro-life groups trying to spread the work of Komen’s attachment to PPH. I accidentally found myself reading all sorts of propaganda about both organizations like the photo-negative of everything I had just been reading from the opposite side. A strange way to bring two sides of an argument together.

In the end, though, we are all on the same side when it comes to breast cancer. The fact is, if Komen had never started donating to Planned Parenthood in the first place , there would never have been in issue in the first place. The issue is not, nor has it ever been that one must be pro-choice to be anti-cancer (or vice versa.) In some ways, Komen deserves props for even daring to go there in the first place (although I doubt they anticipated the political hotspot PPH would become when they first signed on as a sponsor.) I hope there are at least a few pro-life advocates out there that don’t care if a woman’s life is saved because she is screened at Planned Parenthood or somewhere else. But if the majority want to send their money to a charity that has avoided the controversy altogether, I certainly can’t hold it against them.

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