Earlier today the Susan G. Komen Foundation released a statement "apologizing" for their decision earlier this week to cease grants to Planned Parenthood to pay for breast cancer screenings. Komen says it will "continue to fund existing grants, including those of Planned Parenthood," though what will happen in the future seems a bit murky.
Regardless, the same conservatives who cheered Komen's decision earlier in the week are now upset at the breast cancer awareness charity's apparent reversal of course. National Review's Daniel Foster this morning called the backlash to Komen "disgusting" and lashed out at Planned Parenthood and "the Left" for their "gangsterism":
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.
There are a couple of things to point out here. First, to look at the Komen situation and see Planned Parenthood as the bad-faith actor requires an astonishing amount of willful obtuseness. Komen's executives and PR team have spent the better part of the last three days dissembling their way through various media debacles claiming that they didn't alter their grant-making rules specifically to target Planned Parenthood (The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg obtained quotes from Komen insiders and uncovered internal documents showing this to be false).
As to the "gangsterism" charge and the exasperated kitchen quotes about "the Left's" lack of respect for a private organization's private donating decisions, I'd point out that anti-abortion rights activists have been pressuring Komen for years to end their relationship with Planned Parenthood. When Komen's decision was announced on January 31, National Review's Kathryn Jean Lopez celebrated the longstanding efforts by those activists:
This Komen-Planned Parenthood relationship has long been a target of pro-life activists and, media bias aside, this appears to be a remarkable turning point. Planned Parenthood may have trained the AP well -- and has been as American as apple pie to Republicans and Democrats alike for all too long -- but it has really seen itself exposed in new and deep ways since Lila Rose started her gutsy undercover work.
Scott Lemieux points out the obvious: the right of a private institution to dole out money in the ways they see fit does not exempt that institution from criticism. The anti-choice crusade against Komen's Planned Parenthood funding should be proof enough of that, and reason enough not to pop off about liberal "gangsterism" when things don't go your way.