Thursday, February 28, 2008

Being careful where you donate

CNA has a story that is part of a bigger issue that has caused me no small amount of heartburn in recent times:

Little Rock, Arkansas is the latest diocese asking its members to halt their support for the Susan G. Komen Foundation due to a portion of their proceeds being given to Planned Parenthood, the largest abortion provider in the United States.

In a February 4 statement, Little Rock diocesan administrator Monsignor J. Gaston Herbert addressed Catholics as a way to inform them of the ties between the Komen Foundation and Planned Parenthood.

“Due to its policy allowing affiliates to offer financial support to abortion providing facilities and its endorsement of embryonic stem cell research, and the continued denial that abortion may well lead to the development of breast cancer, the Respect Life Apostolate neither supports nor encourages participation in activities that benefit Susan G. Komen for the Cure.”

It's not that I'm desperately attached to sending money to the Komen Foundation. What saddens me is thinking about all those women who have unwittingly donated indirectly to Planned Parenthood. Is that an overstatement? Far from it. Money, once it goes in to a sufficiently large organization, becomes an essentially fungible resource - meaning in this case that you cannot donate money to one cause without it indirectly becoming a donation to another cause whether you want it to or not. That's one of the most disconcerting parts about donating to a large foundation - you just don't know for sure where all the money goes without a considerable amount of research.

The reply from the Komen Foundation is a classic example of modern relativist and consequentialist thinking:

Rebecca Gibson, a spokeswoman for the Komen foundation, told the AP that the group invested $69.6 million in more than 1,600 community-based education and screening programs during 2007. Of that, Planned Parenthood accounted for less than 1 percent of the funding, she said.

"It's insignificant in relation to all of the funding we do," Gibson said. "I think it's just really unfortunate undue attention is being shed on organizations that are providing vital services in those communities."

That boils down to "we don't donate them that much money so stop worrying that we're helping to fund an untold number of abortions". Will people like this ever understand that you can never do evil that good may come of it? It's simply not an option. Perhaps someone should mail a few thousand copies of the Summa to the Komen Foundation so they can learn some proper Thomistic principles...