How dare a private organization spend its money the way it wants to? Liberals opine about ObamaCare and the Susan G. Komen Foundation

In the past week, two decisions came out regarding the way in which private organizations spend their money.  The first decision was the Obama administration’s announcement that businesses in America must provide their employees with insurance that covers birth control, sterilization, and abortifacients.  The only exception was for businesses that had no employees other than those dedicated to a core religious mission (i.e., a convent that doesn’t employ any janitorial or gardening staff, but only nuns, who serve in all capacities, both religious and non-religious).

One year from now, by government diktat, religious organizations that are doctrinally opposed to any forms of birth control, abortion, or sterilization must nevertheless fund these activities.  This will affect every religiously run school, health care center, or other charity in America, of which there are many.  It will also affect most parishes, to the extent that the only employees aren’t priests and nuns.

The other decision that hit the news regarding the way in which private entities can spend their money came, not from the government, but from an actual private entity.  The Susan G. Komen foundation, which is dedicated to finding a cure for breast cancer, announced that it will cut its ties to Planned Parenthood.  As an aside, Susan G. Komen is privately funded; Planned Parenthood, of course, receives substantial monies from the government.

Komen claimed that it cut funding because Planned Parenthood is running afoul of Congress, a problem that makes it impossible for Komen, under its charter, to provide funding.  Planned Parenthood claims that Komen, under the leadership of one of Sarah Palin’s friends, is punishing Planned Parenthood for providing abortions and abortion counseling.

In the conservative world view, those stories are bass ackward.  When it comes to the Church, the government should not be telling religious institutions to spend their money on activities antithetical to their core doctrines.  And with regard to business, conservatives believe that private foundations have the perfect right to withhold funds from organizations that engage in activities they find offensive.  It’s very different in liberal land.

My insight into liberal land comes through my “real me” Facebook account.  Because I’ve spent most of my life in the Bay Area, I’d say that roughly 90% of my Facebook friends are liberal leaning.  I therefore get to see what energizes them (and why), as well as what they ignore completely.

I can tell you that what my friends ignored completely was the Obama administration’s assault on religious freedom.  Not a single person I know commented upon the fact that the Catholic Church is outraged, and on the move, because of the requirement that it fund birth control and abortions.  As far as my friends were concerned, this was a non-issue.

Liberal pundits are equally unable to see why this matters.  Megan McArdle hones in on the liberal argument supporting the administration’s mandate, which is that if religious institutions are going to go into business (i.e., healthcare or education, both of which are activities in which they’ve engaged for millennia), they need to play by big boy rules, which translates to bowing down to government diktats that touch upon doctrinal issues.  If they don’t want to play by those rules, they shouldn’t be doing anything more than administering the sacrament:

[From the liberal viewpoint] the regulations seem to have nothing to do with whether the Catholic hospitals or other charities take public money; rather, it’s the fact that they provide services to the public, rather than having an explicitly religious mission.

I’ve seen several versions of Kevin’s complaint on the interwebs, and everyone makes it seems to assume that we’re doing the Catholic Church a big old favor by allowing them to provide health care and other social services to a needy public.  Why, we’re really coddling them, and it’s about time they started acting a little grateful for everything we’ve done for them!

McArdle shreds this argument with a little real world logic:

In the universe where I live, some of the best charity care is provided by religious groups–in part because they have extremely strong fundraising capabilities, in part because they often have access to an extremely deep and motivated pool of volunteers, and in part because they are often able to generate significant returns to scale and longevity. And of course, the comparative discretion and decentralization of private charity, religious or secular, makes it much more effective in many (not all ways) than government entitlements.

In this world, I had been under the impression that we were providing Catholic charities with federal funds mostly because this was the most cost-effective way of delivering services to needy groups.

Simply put, the religious organizations that run charitable programs are doing the government a favor, not vice versa.  Nevertheless, the Obama government has just decided to bite the hand that feeds it — not that my Facebook friends care.

What my Facebook friends do care about, deeply, is Komen’s decision to cut funding to Planned Parenthood.  They are outraged and are furiously sharing Facebook links from Planned Parenthood and other pro-Choice advocacy groups that find it morally wrong that a private entity, offended by Planned Parenthood’s approach to a core moral issue, might have rethought its charitable outreach.  Some examples:

Tell the board of Susan G. Komen: Don’t throw Planned Parenthood under the bus!
The Republican plan to defund Planned Parenthood is working — but if we take action now we may be able to stop the latest attack on women’s right to health care. It was just announced that Susan G. Komen for a Cure will no longer fund free or low-cost breast cancer screenings for millions of women.

Susan G. Komen for the Cure: Don’t Succumb to Right Wing Attacks. Restore Planned Parenthood Relatio
I just signed a petition to Nancy G. Brinker, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Susan G. Komen for the Cure: Stand firm for women and restore your relationship with Planned Parenthood immediately.

Women’s lives vs. politics
Susan G. Komen for the Cure just bowed to anti-choice pressure and eliminated breast health funding for Planned Parenthood, even though this means thousands of women could be denied the screening and early detection that saves lives. Tell them to put women’s lives ahead of politics.

Most of my Facebook friends, in posting these links, announce that they’ll never give money to Komen again, but are at that very minute cutting a check to Planned Parenthood.  In other words, they understand how the marketplace works; they just don’t like it.

What I especially love about all the comments I’ve seen is the moralizing:  “Breast cancer isn’t pro-choice or anti-choice.”  “It’s immoral to stop funding breast cancer research.”  “How can Komen put politics ahead of morality?”  In making these arguments, my friends are oblivious to two pertinent points.

First of all, Komen isn’t stopping its funding for breast cancer research.  It’s simply finding a new partner with which to work, either because its current partner is corrupt and in trouble with Congress (the official Komen line) or because its current partner engages in acts that the Komen organization finds morally wrong.  By making breast cancer screening available through a morally corrupt entity, Komen understands that it is essentially funding that corruption, a nuance that eludes the liberals.

Second, it’s the Komen Foundation’s own money.  Last I heard, and despite the Obama administration’s most recent assault on the Church, in America people (and corporations) have a Constitutional right to spend their money (or not spend their money) as they please.

People should think long and hard about the pairing of the ObamaCare/Catholic Church battle, and the Planned Parenthood/Komen battle, because these two fights perfectly represent two sides of the same coin:  namely, the liberal belief that there is nothing, including the Constitution, to stop the government and the liberal elites from dictating how individuals and private entities should spend their money.

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  • mkimura1976

    I find it rather amusing when lay employees sue the Catholic Church because their employers do not cover birth-control, abortions, or their homosexual lifestyle. When Obama decide that he can dictate how the Catholic Church does business in the US, then he is being over-reaching and blurring the line between Church and State (IMHO).
    When Planned Parenthood partnered with the Susan G. Komen Foundation, I couldn’t support them because of it being with an organization that supports abortion. I can support an organization that tries to raise awareness and education for breast cancer research, but abortion? No.
    When I heard that Komen decided to break-up with Planned Parenthood, I was happy. Now I can support Komen without having to sacrifice my stance on abortion.
    When I heard the government dictate on the Catholic Church I was angry. Government has no right to dictate what a private, and religious organization can offer to its employees that directly contradicts its principles.
    Do I feel sorry about the liberals screaming and crying? No. Any organization can support whatever causes they choose, and I have the right to not support them.
    Sorry if this is long-winded, and somewhat meandering. Thank you. 

  • jj

    I never donate a dime to any of this stuff.  Now I’m going to have to write a check to Komen.  (I write ’em, I don’t cut ’em – never understood that locution.)  Planned Parenthood, if they’d been raised right, would realize that their only job vis-a-vis Komen all these years has been to, once a year, very humbly, stand up and say “thank you” when they are handed a check.  Their basic problem seems to be shared by all liberals everywhere: shitty parenting, which has led  to a fundamental lack of manners.
    On the other hand, I’m having a lot of innocent fun on the PP Facebook page.  What a bunch of thinkers!

  • bizcor

    Thank you Bookworm for this post. I now understand what just happened on my daughters FaceBook page. She “liked” a picture that came from the occupy wall street crowd that said “pink shirts” , “pink this” or that didn’t prevent breast cancer, but planned parenthood did. She innocenty put it up because she thought it was promoting breast cancer prevention. I have been slowly and carefully weaning her from the notion that the liberals are correct. She is beginning to see the light. In the past she has just waved me off but now that she in business dealing with business people she is hearing from her clients the same sentiments I have been expressing for years. 
    This may sound like a proud father but bear with me here. This young woman loves all creatures great and small and works with animal shelters and the like to help save abandoned animals from the gas chambers. Because she has such a big heart she naturally wants help everyone and has been snookered into the belief that these liberal programs are there to help those in need. She has worked all her life and is now beginning to see sloth for what it is.
    One day when she was in her early teens we were walking on a streetin New York and saw a woman with a small child sitting on the sidewalk begging. She was furious with me because I would not put money in the jar.
    At Christmas time she came to visit and expressed her concern that the world was going to dramatically change for the worse in her lifetime. I told her if she didn’t start paying attention to what was going on around her it would and may anyway because so many others are sucked into the liberal line.
    I am going to forward this post to her and ask her to please read it very carefully because you dear Bookworm have have expressed exactly what is going on so much better than I would be able to and it is coming from someone other than Dad so maybe it won’t sound like a lecture.

    • Bookworm

      Thanks, bizcor. Banging away at people doesn’t seem to work in terms of changing their minds. Tapping away delicately, however . . . . That seems to make a difference. Good luck with your daughter, who sounds like a lovely person who just needs to stop seeing the world through the knee-jerk liberalism of popular culture.

  • Danny Lemieux

    Bizcor, have you explained to her the difference between helping someone in need versus enabling bad behavior?

    If you teach someone how to fish, you teach them how to feed themselves for a lifetime. If you give someone a fish, you teach them how to beg for fish for a life time. 

  • bizcor

    We’re getting there Danny, we’re getting there.

  • pst314

    Liberals don’t like private charity, because they believe that everything should be controlled by the government.
    I remember how, in the sixties, the left constantly vilified and defamed private philanthropic and fraternal organizations. Nobody could be seen as doing good unless they were either far-left or part of the government.
    The totalitarian tendency of progressivism is not accidental, it’s inherent.

  • Sparki777

    Is it not just the slightest bit bizarre that people who are lambasting the Komen Foundation because “It’s immoral to stop funding breast cancer research” are simultaneously refusing to donate to the Komen Foundation from now on?

  • Ymarsakar

    The power mad ambition of the Left knows no bounds. Those that thought otherwise and said Obama or Democrats or whatever was just no better or worse than the alternatives, will be purged come the Revolution.

  • DL Sly

    Bizcor, your dilemma reminds me of the old saying, “If you aren’t a liberal when you’re 20, you don’t have a heart.  If you aren’t a conservative when you’re 40, you don’t have a brain.”

  • bizcor

    Yes DL I know that saying and I believe it was Winston Churchill who said it. My daughter did immediately remove the FB post because I convinced her at the very least it would be bad for business. She isn’t really a liberal she is naive. She is also a product of the public school system which I didn’t play enough attention too while she was attending. Stupid me I thought they were teaching the three “Rs”. I am also divorced from her mother and didn’t live with her during the high school years so I wasn’t there day to day. The other thing is she really doesn’t pay attention to politics and again naievly believes it is all a bunch of hooey and they are al lthe same. Unfortunately she’s not to far from wrong. What I am trying to teach her is that she can make a difference not only by voting but by getting involved. She gets involved with the animals and if any one trys to propose an ordinance against Pit Bulls I can guarentee you she will be there in hot opposition. I am teaching her how to be a business person and how to also understand why OWS is wrong and the Tea Party is right.
    Book when ever I tell someone about you I feel compelled to give them your BIO because… a female Jewish lawyer, living in San Francisco SCREAMS LIBERAL LIBERAL LIBERAL. I mean Barbara Streisand liberal. And you are not. Interestingly some of the loudest proponents of conservatism are those converted. Andrew Klavin immediately springs to mind there are some others but I don;t want to lose my train of thought.
    So Bookworm I am chipping gently away at my lovely little child, she is petite but she’s pushing 30 and it’s time for her to take the reins. She will, I know her, she will. One of these days she may even become a contributer to this blog…wouldn’t that be nice…a family affair. We’ll sign her up as kidbizcor or something.
    So folks thanks for the thoughts, well wishes, and suggestions… 

  • RigelDog

    The real puzzler is why anyone insists on linking Planned Parenthood to breast cancer screening.  PP has essentially nothing to do with breast cancer.  If a woman gets a gynocological exam, the doctor may do a quick breast palpation.  This method of detection is rarely successful—so why is it so necessary for Komen to devote money to an organization that does not advance Komen’s one and only cause?  It’s like saying the American Heart Association should fund PP because they check heartrate and blood pressure and occassionally catch some anomaly and tell the woman she should follow up with her GP. 

  • MacG

    Sparki777,  My sediments exactly!  I watched a woman on the TV last night express that she emphatically won’t walk for Komen any more either aaaand that will help how?
    They won’t give to Komen who focuses on what they are concerned about but will give to an Organization that can use private donations for what ever they want.  So their money might not even go to what they want to support.
    So let’s look at the opposing reasons for the separation.  Komen PP is in trouble with Congress.  PP says it’s because Komen is bowing to political pressure from ‘anti’-choice people – namely Sarah Palin.  It seems to me that the Komen foundation knew what kind of services PP provided when they started donating to them so why would a little pressure from a personna non-grata like Palin have any influence?  Komen’s reason stands out as the most likely.  
    If PP is in trouble with the Congress I can’t imagine what the eight or so PP ‘offices’ in the SF Bay area (San Rafael CA office included) did to get cutoff from their PP funding because their book keeping practices were not in keeping with PP standards.   Hey! Where was the outrage about that?  BTW another group has taken their place so not to worry :(

  • Earl

    RigelDog has it right….Komen did an “audit” of the grants they were giving and what was being accomplished with them.  Then they rewrote their guidelines for who gets grants – favoring those entities that do actual screening for breast cancer.
    When it became clear that PP doesn’t do any sort of effective breast cancer screening; that the extent of their involvement is to do breast palpation during routine exams; and that when the occasional one raised a red flag, the next step was a referral to someone who actually screens, they struck PP off the list for grants.
    I’m not sure why Komen aren’t saying this plainly – probably because there is a certain amount of political correctness among those who run the organization, just as there is among so many who have supported it.  The brass probably figured that the “in trouble with Congress” rationale was less likely to bring down the wrath of the left….forgetting that the rationale doesn’t matter to the left….it’s all about the MONEY, baby!!

  • Mike Devx

    The Komen Foundation is finding out that there are no friendships on the Left… none.  Only allies for The Cause.  And the instant you step off the reservation, you become an enemy, a persona-non-grata, and you are crucified.

    If the Komen Group thought they could play this small departure nicely, and still get along with those people… boy have they had their eyes opened!  You do NOT get to have disagreements with the party line and survive.


  • shirleyelizabeth

    People here have probably seen this, but it was just pointed out to me by a friend and I watched in disbelief:
    A Superhero for Choice

  • Pingback: Komen and HHS: The Day of the Bully Dawns « The Anchoress()

  • Earl

    So Komen got beat up and backed down…..despite the fact that the ANNOUNCED rationale for stopping grants to PP is still in place.  They should have been honest, as is pointed out in this WSJ column by James Taranto:
    Komen would have been better off approaching the matter straightforwardly, by announcing that it wished to opt out of the abortion debate and would not support groups that take a position on either side of the issue, including Planned Parenthood. This would not have averted the smear campaign that followed, for Planned Parenthood and its supporters have internalized the notion that abortion is health, and are determined that everyone else internalize it too. But an honest position would have been easier to defend. No one would have been able to dent Komen’s integrity.
    Found here:

  • Ymarsakar

    “In truth, Komen was under no obligation to fund Planned Parenthood. Its decision not to do so was not punitive and did not even appear to be. The episode is reminiscent of George Orwell far more than Joe McCarthy. Komen’s actual aim was to extricate itself from the divisive national battle over abortion by severing its connection with a leading combatant.”

    Does everyone here see how the Left controls their people, their allies, and their cannonfodder goons? Now how exactly, pray tell me, is anyone going to be able to break through this Gordian knot using politics? Are you somehow going to enlist the aid of organizations like klueless Komen on the war against the Left?

    More likely the Left will use the Komens against you, using the old law of the jungle. Might makes right.


  • Ymarsakar

    Sly, there was an individual who visited here before Obama took full regime power in the US. She called herself a conservative and religious Christian when she was young. Now she’s an artistic poet of the Left, writing poetry for Leftist causes. Then there’s this other guy who also said he was a conservative and eventually outgrew it.

    What do you call those then? 

  • Danny Lemieux

    Brain dead?

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