Catholics asked to stop Komen donations
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - The Diocese of Little Rock is urging its members not to donate to a breast cancer foundation known for its fundraising races across the globe because the group supports Planned Parenthood.
The diocese says the Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation, which has invested about $1 billion in cancer outreach and research, gives money to Planned Parenthood to hold breast exams and offer education to women in its clinics.
“Donors cannot control how an organization designates its funds,” a diocese statement reads. “Therefore, money donated for a specific service … directly frees up funds to support other areas of an organization’s agenda.”
Marianne Linane, director of the diocese’s “respect life” office, said those other agendas includes abortions and contraceptive services. The Catholic church’s policy is that abortion is wrong in every instance.
[But allowing women to die from breast cancer is ok?]
Linane said the Little Rock diocese, which oversees all churches in Arkansas, used the same statement sent out by the church’s St. Louis diocese last year. However, the end of the Little Rock letter included addresses of Arkansas hospitals parishioners could donate to that would eliminate “the administrative funds for a middle broker.”
Monsignor J. Gaston Hebert sent the statement to parishes and Catholic schools this month and planned to send out a follow-up letter, Linane said. Hebert did not return a call for comment Tuesday.
Little Rock follows other dioceses in raising concerns with the foundation. In 2005, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charleston abandoned its support of the foundation, while in 2006 the newspaper of the Catholic Diocese of Phoenix took issue over Komen’s Planned Parenthood funding.
Rebecca Gibson, a spokeswoman for the Komen foundation, said the group invested $69.6 million in more than 1,600 community-based education and screening programs during 2007. Planned Parenthood received less than 1 percent of that money, she said.
“It’s insignificant in relation to all of the funding we do,” Gibson said. “I think it’s just really unfortunate undue attention is being shed on organizations that are providing vital services in those communities.”
The diocese’s decision comes as northwest Arkansas prepares for its running of the Race for the Cure on April 19.
Officials estimated Little Rock’s running last year brought out more than 43,000 participants and raised more than $1.65 million.