It’s official. The Komen Foundation has “apologized” for its Planned Parenthood decision and appears set to reinstate the funding*, thus making our editorial this morning both premature and, in a more profound sense, too late. So, you’re on notice: If you currently donate to PP, you may never stop doing so.
In the NROHQ kitchen just now, Charlie Cooke wondered aloud, and here I paraphrase: “Does anyone on the Left even ask the basic question of whether a private charitable organization has the right to dispose of its money as it sees fit?” But in fact, that anyone thinks there is a question here is a sign we’ve already lost.
The Komen Foundation is a private organization. Planned Parenthood is ostensibly a private organization as well, but one with the highest of public profiles, a maximally polarizing mission, and a conduit of taxpayer dollars. If either of the two should be wary of politicizing its decision-making process, it should be PP, no? And yet Komen is getting hammered for a practical organizational decision (for the zillionth time: PP does not provide mammography) while pro-choice auxiliaries are gleefully fomenting the rage.
Will Wilkinson, who is pro legal abortion and probably the libertarian with whom I agree least often, gets it exactly right on this score, observing that there is more than a little gangsterism in the response from the PP set:
You know, I’m not a big fan of Komen’s brandification of breast cancer, I dislike seeing pink ribbons plastered over everything, and I think Planned Parenthood is real swell, abortions and all. So I’m not especially inclined to come to Komen’s aid. But I’ll be damned if this doesn’t look a bit like PP throwing it’s weight around, knocking a few pieces of china off the shelves, sending a message to its other donors: “Nice foundation you got there. Wouldn’t want anything to, you know, happen to it.”
Will goes on to point out, correctly, that the Komen rescission has been a fundraising bonanza for PP, and is also likely to redound to Komen’s pecuniary benefit in the long-run. He might have added that, in the first instance, there was never going to be a net loss in funding for women’s health. Komen was retargeting the $680,000 they granted Planned Parenthood, not dousing it with kerosene and setting it alight.
Look, the beauty of free speech is that, if you’re inclined to do so, you can write a check to PP in an act of solidarity, or write a check to Komen as an expression of moral approval. That’s all fine. But there’s something quite a bit different, something creepy and not a little despicable, about the Planned Parenthood set’s besmirching Komen’s good name across a thousand platforms for having the audacity to stop giving them free money. And I don’t care why that decision was made, frankly. If it was made because PP is controversial and under congressional “investigation,” that’s a perfectly valid reason for an organization to disentangle itself. If it was made because they judged that money would have a greater impact if directed toward the provision of actual mammograms and not just clinical screenings, that makes sense. And if the decision was made because a controlling faction at Komen feels a moral disgust toward the dismemberment of viable fetuses and would rather not subsidize an outfit that does that 300,000 times a year — well that’s fine, too. None of those rationales justifies the outrageous non-sequiturs about how Komen “hates poor women.”
Imagine I volunteered to run a cub scout troop, and for years, when the annual soapbox derby came near, I knew I could count on Joe’s Deli as good for a hundred dollar donation. If one year Old Man Joe decided he didn’t want to donate any more — because he didn’t like the design of our racer, or because he thought his hundred bucks was better spent on a little league team, or because he disapproved of the scouts’ stance on gays — what on earth would justify me going on public access TV to grill Old Man Joe on why he hates kids? What would justify me hacking the Joe’s Deli web site or maliciously editing Old Man Joe’s Wikipedia page? What would justify me goading a handful of my city councilman into standing up at the next town meeting and publicly calling on Old Man Joe to reinstate his donation?
Nothing. Nothing would justify that. Nothing at all.
*This is actually not clear. The situation remains in flux.