Planned Parenthood this month fooled some reporters all the time and others part of the time-but when it goes out of business some years or decades from now, February 2012 will be seen as the beginning of its end.
To understand the significance of two weeks of sound and fury, keep in mind three major players: One, the Susan G. Komen Foundation, the 30-year-old leader in the fight against breast cancer; two, Planned Parenthood (PP), the 96-year-old organization that doesn't do many mammograms but performs more than 300,000 abortions (bringing in more than $150 million) each year; three, PP's media allies, particularly the 161-year-old New York Times.
Komen over the past year realized that its PP donations were a mistake, for at least two reasons. Why not give directly to community health groups that do mammograms, and cut out the PP middle man? And when raising funds for baseball, hot dogs, apple pie, and the fight against cancer, why dirty your hands with abortion?
Komen, like many other foundations, celebrates marriages but prefers quiet divorces. It quietly told PP that it would make five grants already in the pipeline but did not expect to process any new ones. In the nonprofit world, this happens all the time: A foundation giveth, a foundation taketh away. Disappointed dollar-seekers typically smile, bow, and try again next year. But hell hath no fury like Planned Parenthood scorned.
In what became the lead story of The New York Times on Feb. 1, PP bayed about Komen betraying women. Other media hounds picked up the scent. Soon, replacements for Komen's annual half-million or so were on the way-about $250,000 from New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and millions from other donors.
By Feb. 3, the pressure from online petitions and on-call politicians-26 pro-abortion senators attacked Komen-was sufficient to push the foundation to make an ambiguous announcement: PP would be allowed to apply for future grants. That was enough to produce another Times headline: "Cancer Group Backs Down on Cutting Off Planned Parenthood."
Maybe yes, maybe no: Komen cleverly hushed the media storm by not ruling out further funding, but it did not make any promises. We'll have to wait and see what the Komen board does when new grant requests come in. Those who only read the Times could have a Belshazzar feast of celebration over dollars flowing like wine and a whipped defector begging for forgiveness. But in the long run this is a PP defeat for at least two reasons: More foundations will be reluctant to donate and more Americans have learned that PP does little for women's health.
As the American Life League said in a statement, "Getting into bed with Planned Parenthood is like joining the Mafia: They will tell you when you are done. You don't tell them."
PP gets lots of taxpayer dollars, is facing congressional investigation, and opposes giving women information that might reduce its 90 percent kill rate for unborn children on its premises. Six states are cutting off PP funding. The organization may be one election away from losing the roughly $300 million it grabs from Washington each year. It doesn't take a Daniel to see that PP is being weighed in the balances and found wanting.