Komen defenders are confused. On hostages, gangsterism, and rights.

After the uproar involving the Susan G. Komen Foundation’s decision to defund Planned Parenthood led to Komen backing off, there’s been a series of Komen defenders displaying considerable confusion.

The nub of the confusion is this: The implicit claim that Komen has the right to decide which groups to fund but Komen’s donors should not criticize those funding decisions nor decide to themselves withdraw their funding when they don’t like Komen’s decisions.

Here’s examples, some using rather charged language about Planned Parenthood:

[T]here is more than a little gangsterism in the response from the PP set. Daniel Foster, You Should Find the Anti-Komen Backlash Disguisting, Even If You’re Pro-Choice

[Planned Parenthood’s] allies demonized the charity, attempting to depict the nation’s most prominent anti-breast cancer organization as a bedfellow of religious extremists. . . While Planned Parenthood’s target in the Komen case was new, its tactics are not. In the past two years, we have seen the abortion giant (and the politicians it funds) hold for ransom a diverse array of hostages. Robert George and O. Carter Snead, Planned Parenthood’s Hostages.

Gangsterism? Hostages?

In her resignation letter as Vice-President for Public Policy at Komen, Nancy Handel wrote, “I believe that Komen, like any other nonprofit organization, has the right and the responsibility to set criteria and highest standards for how and to whom it grants.”

On that, Handel was right. But criticizing and deciding how to spend our money are rights we all have — including those who disagreed with Komen’s decision regarding Planned Parenthood.

Amy Fried

About Amy Fried

Amy Fried loves Maine's sense of community and the wonderful mix of culture and outdoor recreation. She loves politics in three ways: as an analytical political scientist, a devoted political junkie and a citizen who believes politics matters for people's lives. Fried is Professor of Political Science at the University of Maine. Her views do not reflect those of her employer or any group to which she belongs.