A short post, as I don’t have too much insight to add to the controversy surrounding the decision by the Komen Foundation to defund Planned Parenthood. But I do want to address one particular point, which I’ve seen brought up a few times by folks who I normally respect, and charitably will assume are just in possession of some bad information. Here’s John Lindley, espousing the position succinctly (from a post titled “About Damn Time”):
Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure is defunding Planned Parenthood. Wesley J. Smith offers one explanation. Jonathon Turley has a similar albeit differently slanted take. Here is an altogether different possible rationale for Komen’s decision: Planned Parenthood is the nation’s largest provider of abortions + Abortion is the single most avoidable risk factor for breast cancer.
Let’s nip this one in the bud, shall we? From the National Cancer Institute:
In February 2003, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) convened a workshop of over 100 of the world’s leading experts who study pregnancy and breast cancer risk. Workshop participants reviewed existing population-based, clinical, and animal studies on the relationship between pregnancy and breast cancer risk, including studies of induced and spontaneous abortions. They concluded that having an abortion or miscarriage does not increase a woman’s subsequent risk of developing breast cancer. A summary of their findings can be found in the Summary Report: Early Reproductive Events and Breast Cancer Workshop.
NCI regularly reviews and analyzes the scientific literature on many topics, including various risk factors for breast cancer. Considering the body of literature that has been published since 2003, when NCI held this extensive workshop on early reproductive events and cancer, the evidence overall still does not support early termination of pregnancy as a cause of breast cancer. To view regular updates on this topic, please go to the Breast Cancer PDQ® summary, which is part of NCI’s comprehensive database.
Other organizations which concur with the NCI: the World Health Organization, the American Cancer Society, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the Royal Academy of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
So, just to be clear, the decision on the part of the Komen Foundation to defund Planned Parenthood had absolutely nothing to do with women’s health and everything to do with either caving in to or actively supporting an ideology that vehemently opposes abortion rights, even at the cost of a woman’s health.
But the idea that this move has anything to do with positively helping women’s health is unsupported bullshit. Treat it as such.