Reuter’s recent review of the Susan G. Komen Foundation’s internal documents reveals a close and complicated relationship between the US Catholic Church and the Komen Foundation, which both receives funding from the Catholic Church and has allocated over $17.6 million to US Catholic universities, hospitals, and charities.

Reuters reports that such intense financial pressure from the Catholic Church significantly contributed to the Komen Foundation’s January decision to end its partnership with Planned Parenthood. Since 2005, the Catholic Church has vocally objected to the Komen Foundation’s relationship with Planned Parenthood and has limited donations to the Foundation in many states, including Arizona, Florida, Indiana, and Missouri.

The Catholic Church’s opposition to the Komen Foundation’s link to Planned Parenthood mounted in 2011 once Cardinal Timothy Dolan became the President of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops. That year, Ohio bishops announced they would end statewide donations to the Komen Foundation. Although Planned Parenthood clinics in Ohio were not recipients of Komen money, the Bishops expressed concerns that Church money would be sent to the Komen headquarters in Dallas and ultimately be given to Planned Parenthood. Bishops in North Dakota then followed suite in denying money to the Komen Foundation or participating in fundraisers.

Despite the Catholic Bishop’s reluctance to provide grants and funding to the Komen Foundation, Catholic-affiliated institutions have continued to receive money from the Komen Foundation. In 2011 alone, Catholic institutions received $7.4 million from the Komen Foundation. By comparison, Planned Parenthood received only $684,000 from the Komen Foundation in 2011. Arthur Caplan of the Center for Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania stated, “It is morally inconsistent, and difficult to explain, why you would condemn donations but continue to accept grants. It makes no ethical sense at all.”

In January, the Susan G. Komen Foundation for the Cure announced that, in accordance with its new policies, it would no longer award grants to Planned Parenthood affiliates to conduct breast cancer screenings, education, and treatment. The Komen Foundation then reversed its policy in early February, following a great public outcry from the women’s rights community.

Reuters 3/18/12; Jezebel 3/16/12; Feminist Daily Newswire 2/2/12, 2/3/12

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