In light of the recent controversy between Planned Parenthood and the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation, I decided to dig deep and really consider how I feel about this controversy.
So, I did a little research. And here is what I came up with:
A whole lot of inconclusive, but a bit of hard data, from a website that I trust (Charity Navigator) and some from the newspaper (Dallas Morning News) that I take with a grain of salt the size of Idaho.
Here are the goods:
Both Planned Parenthood and Komen have very large net asset bases sitting behind them: respectively, PP has $104 million and Komen has $166 million.
In 2010, PP had $86 million in revenues and $80 million in expenses, adding ~$6 million to its assets.
Same year, Komen had $312 million in revenues and $316 million in expenses, subtracting ~$4 million from its assets.
As best as I can tell, with my searches on the Internet revealing less than I hoped for, less than $1 million dollars per year, and possibly quite a bit less than that, moves from Komen to PP annually. In fact, the article in the Dallas MN stated that "$700,000 in national funding from Komen this year alone" (2012) would be lost.
Let's put that into perspective:
By making the decision to de-fund PP, Komen has pulled .008% dollars of their annual revenue from them.
Or, put another way: if your boss demoted you by the same percent and you were making $50,000/year, you'd lose ~$1.10/day.
Sure, it would piss you off. Sure, you might consider whether or not to buy your coffee at Starbucks or drink the swill provided by the office. Sure, demotion isn't fun and you might consider your employment options.
But, is it life-altering? NO.
Has this decision changed the ultimate fact that both charities stand to benefit women? One, through research, education, and assistance (Komen) and one through free or low cost breast exams (PP)? NO.
Really, the amount of money we're talking about is miniscule for organizations that swim in the million of dollars of revenue each year.
So, why such a backlash? Politics.
On both sides of the fence, from the minute PP and Komen became financially-tied together, people have been claiming "victory" or accepting "defeat" in the all-out war on abortion.
In the end, the sad part for me is that this is just another ridiculous example of how polarized this country has become. How company's and charity's decisions, which generally are about the bottom line, are grabbed for political gain and twisted and shaken and used for self-serving agendas.
And, I bought into this group-think, until I read the news about PP being defunded by Komen.
How about this stance: The only standard one can reasonably expect a charity to live up to is the principles on which the charity was originally founded and the policies it puts forth to protect its assets and mission statement. If you are going to contribute, it is your job to understand what those entail.
If Komen was being hypocritical in pulling funding from PP, it would be because they were working against their founding mission statement or stated policies. In this case, Komen is following its policy of withholding money from any agency being investigated by local, state or federal authorities. And, whether or not PP likes it, that is the position it finds itself in.
As best as I can tell from their mission statement, Komen doesn't have a pony in the race of the pro-life/abortion movement. So, trying to make them the bad guy in this equation is just ridiculous.
When you factor in what PP stands to lose as a percentage of its revenue, the backlash can't simply be about money. That would be preposterous.
And, if I hear one more person say "It's a matter of principle", I'm going to throw up. This is a matter of policy. And PP stands in violation of a policy explicitly stated by Komen. Period.
And, while I agree that portions of this debate are surely a matter of Christian values, we should lead in love, not hate.
Once again, I see our country working to divide itself into camps, instead of trying to find the common ground. If you put a critical eye to the situation and ask yourself "What do these organizations truly have in common?", you'd find...
the common ground here is the BREAST HEALTH OF WOMEN OF ALL SOCIO-ECONOMIC LEVELS IN AMERICA.
Sounds pretty darn American-pie to me.
So, stop making it political. If you ethically disagree with a charity, don't support it. Choose a charity you ethically agree with and send your money that way.
The bottom line is that our disagreements may stop vital progress on breast health for all women in this country, simply because we can't figure out how to get along.
I, for one, can think of few things more ridiculous than that.