While our sympathies are with Komen in this whole kerfuffle, we must say that the group has displayed an appalling naiveté in its approach to the matter. It’s reminiscent of the last big controversy the group was involved in, which we wrote about in 2009. In that instance, Komen hosted a conference in Alexandria, Egypt, for “international advocates.” Komen was sandbagged when Israeli doctors who’d been invited to the event received disinvitations from the Egyptian health minister. The Egyptians backpedaled, but by then it was too late for the Israelis to attend.
In breaking ties with Planned Parenthood, Komen made the same mistake: It failed to understand it was dealing with intolerant fanatics. Planned Parenthood’s attitude toward abortion opponents is not unlike that of Egyptian officials in the old regime toward Israelis.
Further, Komen offered a rationale for its decision–a new policy denying grants to groups under governmental investigation–that seemed disingenuous and provided a point of attack for Planned Parenthood and its allies. “I’m reminded of the McCarthy era, where somebody said: ‘Oh,’ a congressman stands up, a senator, ‘I’m investigating this organization and therefore people should stop funding them,’ ” Politico quotes Sen. Barbara Boxer as saying on MSNBC.