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Diocese of Little Rock Entranced by Komen

Contact: Life Decisions International, 540-631-0380, ext. 22, for reporters/journalists media@fightpp.org; general e-mail: ldi@fightpp.org


FRONT ROYAL, Virginia, March 11 /Christian Newswire/ -- On February 7, 2008, the Respect Life Apostolate of the Diocese of Little Rock issued a statement saying that it "neither supports nor encourages participation in activities that benefit Susan G. Komen for the Cure." Now, less than a month later, the Diocese has reversed its position. The decision was made after Komen assured the Diocese that local fund-raising will not benefit Planned Parenthood.


"Despite the efforts of some to make this issue sound complicated, the facts are clear," said Douglas R. Scott, Jr., president of Life Decisions International (LDI). "The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation allows its chapters to fund Planned Parenthood and several of them do so. The Diocese of Little Rock has essentially said it is acceptable to be associated with a group that funds an abortion-committing goliath so long as local dollars are not going to the group. This kind of disconnect is exactly what Komen officials were hoping to achieve and they clearly succeeded."


"I had been assured that 25% of the money given here in Arkansas goes to the national Komen foundation, which provided grants to Planned Parenthood, a major provider of abortions," wrote Diocesan Administration Rev. J. Gaston Hebert in explaining the new position. "If that were true, money donated in Arkansas could have indirectly funded abortions. Regardless of the exceptional work done by Komen...the good accomplished would not have been a legitimate reason to participate in the death of unborn children...However, the reality is that the national Komen foundation does NOT give grants to Planned Parenthood--and, therefore, money given to Komen in Arkansas does NOT, even indirectly, fund abortion. Thus, my major reason for releasing the position statement was NOT valid."


"In other words," Scott said, "as long as my specific dollar is not going to Planned Parenthood, it is morally acceptable to be associated with an organization that allows its chapters to support an enterprise that killed 264,943 preborn human beings in 2005 alone. "Scripture calls on Christians to have nothing to do with evil. If a Komen chapter in California was actually committing abortions with money raised locally, would Rev. Hebert use the same logic? If the answer is 'no,' I would sure like to hear his rationale."


Scott said that other than the obvious connection between any parent organization and their affiliated chapters, the issue is not whether the parent directly funds Planned Parenthood, but whether the parent directly supports a chapter that directly funds Planned Parenthood. "The parent could prohibit funding of Planned Parenthood by its chapters but Komen has steadfastly refused to do."


"I would note that there is [sic] a relatively small number of affiliates of Komen that do give grants to Planned Parenthood..." Rev. Hebert wrote. Scott wondered if the Diocese would have come to a different conclusion if every Komen affiliate, with the exception of those based in Arkansas, supported Planned Parenthood. "Based on the logic used to defend the new position, the answer is that it would not have mattered."


"Even this partnering...unintentionally gives credence and acceptability to Planned Parenthood due to Komen's excellent reputation," Rev. Herbert continued. "Exactly!" Scott responded. "The partnering, which is actually quite intentional since it certainly did not happen by accident, does give credence and acceptability to Planned Parenthood."


"I have assurance from those who receive grants here locally from Komen that stringent safeguards are placed upon those funds being used for their designated purpose," Rev. Hebert wrote. "Therefore, the conclusion reached in our statement that grant money could 'free up funds to support other areas' appears also to be untrue. But, in any case, let's remember that in Arkansas no grants are made to Planned Parenthood."


The Reverend is accepting at face value the statements made by Komen personnel. Interestingly, Planned Parenthood uses the same argument to dismiss objections to corporate support of its programs. "Corporations that donate to Planned Parenthood usually claim the support is 'restricted' for a specific, seemingly altruistic program run by Planned Parenthood," Scott explained. "Not only does the donation give the corporate 'stamp of approval' to Planned Parenthood, unrestricted funds that had been supporting the program are now released to pay for much more controversial projects."


"Our statement implied that there exists a link between procured abortion and increased risk of breast cancer and that Komen dismisses that link," Rev. Hebert wrote. "The National Cancer Institute states that there exists no link between abortion and breast cancer. The preponderance of scientific research states that no such link exists, but there is a minority opinion that insists that such a link exists."


"Rev. Hebert has essentially articulated the position held by Planned Parenthood and its legions with regard to the connection between abortion and breast cancer," Scott responded. "And this is Planned Parenthood's position because it serves to advance Planned Parenthood's agenda."


"It is important that the stance of the Catholic Church always be based upon truth," Rev. Hebert wrote. "The position statement issued on February 7 was based upon unintentional error. To let that statement stand would be an act of injustice. With apologies to Komen, to those fighting breast cancer and to the survivors, to the Catholic clergy and faithful who were embarrassed by this mistaken policy, I rescind the position statement in its entirety... Again, I offer a sincere apology for the unintended turmoil and misunderstanding created by the statement that has now been rescinded."


"Unbelievable!" Scott said. "Rev. Hebert is actually apologizing to Komen. His statement has done a great deal of damage to our work and that of other pro-life activists because he is now effectively doing Komen's bidding. Rev. Hebert has been an apologist for Komen. We trust the Reverend is well-intentioned, but I must say that I look forward to a day when our biggest problems come from people outside the Pro-Life Movement."


Rev. Hebert wrote that the earlier statement issued by the Diocese was a "position paper" and not "a mandate." He said that individuals, parishes, schools and groups are "free to make their own decision" as to whether to support Komen. "I will state very plainly," he continued, "after meeting with the Komen officials of the Arkansas affiliates, that these are good people highly dedicated to the finding a cure for breast cancer and preserving life; this is their only goal."


"Let's face it; telling the flock that you neither support nor encourage participation in an event is not exactly a strong statement," Scott said. "If the Diocese were serious about encouraging people to do the right thing the statement would have read, 'The Respect Life Apostolate of the Diocese of Little Rock strongly urges Catholics to forgo participation in fund-raising activities that benefit Susan G. Komen for the Cure.' Where is the leadership? Where is the direction? Where is the willingness to take a stand? I am sure the people who work for Komen are wonderful and dedicated. They all probably have nice smiles as well. But the issue is the connection with Planned Parenthood."


Scott said the initial decision made by the Diocese was based on two indisputable facts: 1) The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation allows its affiliates to donate funds to Planned Parenthood; and 2) Consistent with the position held by Planned Parenthood, the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation has refused to act upon the many studies that have shown a connection between abortion and breast cancer. "This was true before the meeting between Rev. Herbert and Komen officials. This is true after the meeting between Rev. Herbert and Komen officials. So what has changed? Diocese officials have met with some nice and convincing people whose job it is to alleviate concerns about its alliances and practices. This tactic is wise. All Komen has to do is convince people they should only worry about what the group is doing in their own neighborhood and not be concerned about its activities elsewhere, no matter how awful they may be."


"Much of the statement released by the Diocese of Little Rock will be familiar to pro-life leaders," Scott said. "This is because it is strikingly similar to statements made by Komen itself. It seems that all Komen had to do to immunize itself from criticism is some smooth talking. This has resulted in a divided and confused Pro-Life Movement. And a divided and confused Pro-Life Movement serves to protect Komen's ungodly alliances and practices."


"If Komen had to choose between successful fund-raising for the fight against breast cancer or an association with Planned Parenthood, wouldn't it choose the former?" Scott asked. "The charity is apparently not at the point where its leaders feel they must make a choice. And this is largely because they are not feeling enough heat."


The Boycott List, published by LDI, includes a "Dishonorable Mention" section that identifies charitable organizations that are aligned with Planned Parenthood. LDI has done extensive research on the connection between Komen and Planned Parenthood. Everything published by LDI has been checked and rechecked for accuracy. "We wish Rev. Hebert would have given us an opportunity to respond to what Komen officials told him before issuing the new statement," Scott said. "But he did not do so and now the damage is done."


Life Decisions International (LDI) is dedicated to challenging the Culture of Death, concentrating on exposing and fighting the agenda of Planned Parenthood. LDI's chief project is a boycott of corporations that fund the abortion-committing giant. To learn more about Planned Parenthood, please visit: http://www.fightpp.org/show.cfm?page=wrong