Catholic officials in Arkansas will meet with Susan G. Komen Foundation representatives next week to discuss their instruction to the faithful to withdraw their support from the foundation, which works to prevent and educate about breast cancer. Its primary fund-raiser is Race for the Cure.
At issue are Komen grants to Planned Parenthood, whose affiliates in some states provide abortion. A Feb. 4 Diocesan statement said some 25 percent of funds raised by Komen in Arkansas goes to the national organization, which in turn makes grants to Planned Parenthood. But Komen says that no national organization money goes to Planned Parenthood (though its affiliates may award such grants), and no money from either the foundation or its affliates helps fund abortions.
Marianne Linane, the director of the Diocesan Respect Life office, said today that Msgr. J. Gaston Hebert, who heads the diocese, based his decision to issue the statement “on some erroneous information.” Linane could not say whether the Diocese may back off its position. The Diocese also wants Komen to advise women that abortion is linked to breast cancer, a viewpoint held by only the slimmest minority of researchers and rejected by the National Cancer Institute.
The Little Rock Diocese’s statement was based on one issued from the Archdiocese of St. Louis, which did not forbid but advised against support for Komen. Like Arkansas, no Planned Parenthood affiliates in Missouri offer abortion services. However, Komen does provide funding to Catholic hospitals in Arkansas for breast cancer outreach and recently awarded grants to two researchers at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.
UPDATE: Linane has asked for a clarification. She said the diocese is not certain it was misinformed about Komen funding. However, a letter from Komen to the Diocese says it was. The issue will be discussed next week.