Planned Parenthood’s Fig Leaf
It’s a business with plenty to hide.

A Planned Parenthood rally in Richmond, Va., February 25, 2011.


Mona Charen

Planned Parenthood would appear to have won this latest skirmish in the abortion wars. The Susan G. Komen Foundation for the Cure, having first decided to withdraw future grants to the world’s largest abortion provider, quickly retreated under a barrage of accusations, complaints, and threats.

No fewer than 26 Democratic senators signed a letter to Komen saying, in part, that “it would be tragic if any woman — let alone thousands of women — lost access to these potentially lifesaving screenings because of a politically motivated attack. We earnestly hope that you will put women’s health before partisan politics and reconsider this decision.”

Intoning that “politics has no place in health care,” New York mayor Michael Bloomberg made a $250,000 matching grant to Planned Parenthood. Ever alert to the politically correct posture on everything, Bloomberg added that “breast-cancer screening saves lives and hundreds of thousands of women rely on Planned Parenthood for access to care.”

But the real firepower came from the press and the Internet. NBC’s Andrea Mitchell bore down on Nancy Brinker, the Komen Foundation’s founder, pressing her to admit that women’s health would suffer as a result of the Komen board’s decision. The decision was “all about politics,” reported the Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times editorialized that “for a long time Komen’s name will be connected more with ugly politics than with pink ribbons.”

The Komen Foundation caved under the pressure with all of the groveling its opponents could have wished for. “We want to apologize to the American public,” said the group’s press release, “for recent decisions that cast doubt upon our commitment to our mission of saving women’s lives.”

So, all together now, Planned Parenthood is all about saving women’s lives, and any criticism of PP is “ugly politics.”

Except that observers of events over the past week may draw other conclusions. They may notice that any criticism, even implied criticism, of PP leads to a full-dress onslaught by the Left and its media allies. And they may detect a certain over-eagerness on the part of PP to downplay their abortion work.

The Susan G. Komen decision elicited such a heated response because it threatened to remove the “women’s health” fig leaf from PP. By now, everyone has learned that Planned Parenthood, its own claims notwithstanding, does not provide mammograms. It provides referrals for mammograms. Considering that 80 percent of PP clients are under the age of 35, and only five percent of breast cancers are found in women under the age of 40, it is unlikely that very many of PP’s manual breast exams and referrals for further screening are medically significant. Mayor Bloomberg could surely find better recipients for breast-cancer-screening contributions.