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Friday, February 03, 2012

Komen, Part II

Well, Komen folded to political pressure. It's important to remember that all this pressure had nothing whatsoever to do with breast cancer screenings. If Komen had de-funded a breast cancer screening organization run by the Catholic Church because of its efforts to resist having to fund contraception for employees, all of the protesters would have approved, whatever this would have done to the availability of breast cancer screenings. The issue here is solely abortion: for many on the left today, it has the status of a sacred right. For them, Komen's move was as if a feudal lord in 1200 refused to trade with a monastery, because they practiced Christianity.

UPDATE: Daniel has made me realize my original NeoNazi example was bad, because it gives the protesters an out. Now I will re-frame this the right way.

UPDATE II: In fact, we know the protesters would not be upset by the move vis-a-vis the Catholic Church I mention above, because the Obama administration is trying to close Catholic charities (if they won't fold and fund contraception) for precisely that reason, and the protesters ain't protesting!

23 comments:

  1. I think you might have this backwards Gene.

    It seems to me the "sacred right" status of abortion comes on the side of the people that would cut funding for cancer research because of it.

    Of the broad spectrum of my facebook friends that jumped on this, I know there's a mix of pro-choicers and pro-lifers. Their message was simply "this is a really dumb reason for withdrawing your support from cancer screening".

    Yes, nobody would have made a peep if it were neo-Nazis.

    That's because nobody puts abortion on par with Nazism.

    We fought a war over the Nazi holocaust. Only a handful of people have ever tried to use lethal force against this so-called "holocaust" associated with abortion. So you're right - people do view these two things differently. But the consensus seems to have been that Komen was the petty one that forgot its mission of fighting cancer.

    And Komen, to its credit, came around to realizing the validity of the point.

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  2. After all, let's be honest about one very clear point: between Komen and the protesters, Komen initiated this one.

    There's some disagreement over why Komen made the decision that it did. I personally find both explanations plausible. But don't lay this at protesters feet when they're just responding to a distinction that Komen made initially.

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  3. This disagreement between you and me - I should note - is a good example from enthusiastic Rothbardians of why the non-aggression principle is so hard to apply in real life.

    Aggression relies on initiation and initiation is in the eyes of the beholder.

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  4. ONE LAST POINT!

    Yes, yes, yes - I know we didn't "fight a war over the Nazi holocaust".

    But we did fight it over a Nazi European bloodbath.

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  5. "It seems to me the "sacred right" status of abortion comes on the side of the people that would cut funding for cancer research because of it."

    Very funny, Daniel. Because Komen, of course, was still going to spend every single penny that they had spent fighting breast cancer on fighting breast cancer. It would just go to different places.

    "That's because nobody puts abortion on par with Nazism."

    But NeoNazis in the US do not kill a single person, as far as I know. But OK, let's change it to a (non-violent) white power group. Same result, right?

    "And Komen, to its credit, came around to realizing the validity of the point."

    Even funnier. They folded under intense social opprobrium. They didn't "realize" anything.

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  6. re: "Even funnier. They folded under intense social opprobrium. They didn't "realize" anything."

    Maybe. We can't really know. I guess I just have more faith in them than you :)

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  7. OK, Daniel, I fixed the NeoNazi analogy.

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  8. And Komen initiated what, exactly? For two years they had given PP $700,000: about .07% of PP's budget. Then they stopped.

    If I ever give to a non-profit, once I stop I am *initiating* something with them?!

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  9. Obama administration: promoting access to health care for all people regardless of their views on abortion.

    Komen: (allegedly - we still don't quite know why they did this) determining where they're going to promote access to health care based on the views of a given organization on abortion.

    I would probably tell the Obama administration it makes sense to carve out a larger exception on that one, but regardless I'm not sure it's as convincing as you think it is Gene!

    If you have a protester who doesn't hold abortion to be a "sacred right" and does want a broad promotion of access to health care, why would they protest the Obama administration on this? Why wouldn't they consider protesting Komen?

    You seem to think this is a slam dunk indication of preoccupation with the abortion question. I don't see how it is. It seems to me someone entirely indifferent to abortion would be miffed that Komen applies this litmus test and glad that the administration doesn't.

    Certainly some of these protesters are just pro-choicers getting riled up, but I think most people are just frustrated that something with such broad appeal as cancer screening is getting caught up in the abortion wars (well, I shouldn't say abortion "wars" because as I've noted almost everyone who calls this a holocaust is suspiciously docile in the face of mass murder).

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  10. "Obama administration: promoting access to health care for all people regardless of their views on abortion."

    No, the Obama administration will be CLOSING Catholic charities who can't, as good Catholics, fund contraceptive services. No one was checking up on anyone's "views"! No Catholic hospital was asking their employees if they THOUGHT contraceptives were OK, or even if they were using them at home. They just say, "We can't pay for this." Because of these Catholic charities VIEWS, they won't be able to stay in business, and people will lose acces to health care.

    "Komen: (allegedly - we still don't quite know why they did this) determining where they're going to promote access to health care based on the views of a given organization on abortion."

    Views?!!!!!! Planned Parenthood is the largest abortion provider in the US, delivering about 300,000 a year. Did Komen say anything like "If you are for choice, you can't get a screening?!" How is this about VIEWS?!

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  11. I cannot remember exactly where I read it, but supposedly 'Komen' has a bylaw that states that they will not do business with any entity that is under investigation. 'Planned Parenthood' is currently under a Congressional investigation for using taxpayer funds for abortions. Of course, they say they aren't using any taxpayer funds for abortions, which is kind of an absurd proposition to make, because if you're receiving funds from any entity then surely they are fungible.

    In either case, I don't think that abortion itself plays the large role here because 'Komen' certainly didn't have any problems in the past and they haven't made any big changes to their management (positions) recently.

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  12. Ah, my mistake. You were saying that abortion funding was the key gripe of the left against Komen. I agree.

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  13. First - I agree it's a bad decision on the administration's part. But let's be clear - if any charities close it's Catholic charities who are deciding that their institutional opposition to abortion is more important than extending comprehensive health insurance to their employees and continuing to provide charity.

    That's the thing about resisting things you don't believe in. You have to take moral responsibility for that trade-off. You can't push it off on the Obama administration if you think that denying your employees comprehensive health care is so horrendous that you'd sooner stop providing charity than provide those benefits.

    In a sense I'd actually admire that move. Too many people cry bloody murder about abortion and then don't do much of anything about it.

    If people genuinely thought of abortion as a holocaust there ought to be more action against it. I would consider the Catholic charities more sincere than most pro-lifers if they actually decided to shut down. But let's be clear - that's a tradeoff THEY'RE making. The Obama administration seems to want charities to continue their good work, and it wants people to have comprehensive health insurance. It's the charities that are definitively prioritizing one over the other.

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  14. And I should note - if one were to argue that the Obama administration has no right to regulate health insurance or guarantee a certain standard of benefits, that would be one thing. That's a separate argument.

    But you can't claim that that's the position that the Catholic church is backing here. The current pope along with a lot of Catholic social reformers are extremely comfortable with the idea of positive rights and the public provision or guarantee of private welfare. The pope's comments about positive rights are so strong the make me a little leary!

    This isn't a matter of the administration taking an action that the Catholic church doesn't think it has a right to take. It's a matter of violating a very specific position of the Catholic church. If Obama had just mandated that people can't be rejected for pre-existing conditions, for example, Catholic charities would probably not be raising a stink. It's not about the mandate, we should all keep in mind. It's that the Catholic church doesn't like this one particular mandate.

    That's fine if they value that so much, but that's a decision the charities are making, not the Obama administration. The ball is in the Catholic charity's court, and it's their call whether they say "forget the charity work - we want to deny women comprehensive health insurance". That's their call.

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  15. "comprehensive health care"

    Contraception is not health care. Pregnancy is not an illness.

    I suppose if the Obama administration says, "We welcome orthodox Jews in our administration. So long as they come to the Friday night pork dinner and eat with us," that you'll say, "Hey, it's not the administration's fault there are no Orthodox Jews involved!"

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  16. I don't mean to offend Catholics here - and I'll say it again: I think Obama made a dumb call here. We can have religious carve outs and still find a way to make comprehensive health insurance available, I'm sure.

    But the positions are:
    - Obama administration wants (1.) charity work done, and (2.) comprehensive health insurance available.

    - Catholic charities want (1.) charity work done, and (2.) don't want comprehensive health insurance available.

    Likewise:

    - Komen wants (1.) cancer screening done, and (2.) may or may not like the abortion stuff

    - PP wants (1.) cancer screening done, and (2.) abortion stuff

    No honest observer can look at this and say that the Obama administration is anti-Catholic charity or that PP advocates have something against cancer screening.

    I hope both of these issues get worked out nicely, but you just can't lay this at the feet of the two parties who are actually comfortable with everything and obliging on everything!

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  17. "we want to deny women comprehensive health insurance"

    Now you've got me flaming white hot angry. This is just a f*(^&*#g dishonest description of what is going on. Women who work at Catholic charities are free to pay for whatever health insurance they want. They are also free to take the Catholic charities insurance and buy their own damned condoms for a $1.50 a pack, or whatever they cost now. No Catholic charity checks on whether or not any employee is doing either of those things. All they are saying is, "Don't make us pay for them."

    This is not about "comprehensive health care": it is about crushing all opposition to modernity's sexual mores. As one person in the Obama administration was frank enough to say, "We are fighting a war."

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  18. Hey, Daniel, and Sandusky wanted good football stuff done, AND child rape. You can't lay the big hub-bub at Penn State at his feet!

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  19. Good afternoon, Dr. Callahan.

    I do not think that my first response went throug. (If it did, please delete this one.) It went something like this:

    Komen funds PP cancer screening for two years. Then, Komen stops.

    Those deriding Komen say that Komen's actions are philosophically based. Do they give any proof? No, except to say that all the proof they need is the fact that Komen stopped funding them, so it must have been a change in Komen leadership or a change in Komen politics or a change in Komen philosophy. The deriders, however, use no reasoning other than circular to prove their point.

    Those supporting Komen say that Komen has a policy to de-fund any organization that may have questionable financial practices. PP's practices have been and are being questioned by the review started by Congress. This review triggered the Komen policy and PP got defunded.

    If Tim Tebow was elected to head the Board of Directors for Komen, then I could support the idea that Komen had an internal change with said change leading to PP being on the outside. If an internal change has not happened, there is simply no good reason to believe the explanation of those deriding Komen -- especially in light of the fact that Komen had been previously been funding PP's cancer screening. It's not as if Komen suddenly just discovered what PP believed.

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  20. re: "I suppose if the Obama administration says, "We welcome orthodox Jews in our administration. So long as they come to the Friday night pork dinner and eat with us," that you'll say, "Hey, it's not the administration's fault there are no Orthodox Jews involved!"

    NO GENE!

    It's like saying "we welcome orthodox Jews and they can eat whatever they want but they can't refuse to contribute to the party fund because pork is served at some of our parties".

    Nobody is making anybody use contraception.

    And contraception is used medicinally as a hormone regulator - my sisters and my wife used it for this purpose long before they were sexually active. I gather this isn't uncommon at all. And while pregnancy isn't an illness it's a condition which needs to be planned and prepared for to ensure the health of the mother and the baby. You don't see your physician on a regular basis because you're ill all the time - you see a physician to maintain health and help plan your life in a way that guarantees your health. Reproductive health is no different.

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  21. re: "Hey, Daniel, and Sandusky wanted good football stuff done, AND child rape. You can't lay the big hub-bub at Penn State at his feet!"

    Ummm... you just said he was pro-child rape. Of course you can lay child rape at his feet Gene.

    I said the Obama administration is pro-reproductive health coverage.

    If you want to lay that at their feet, be my guest. Don't tell me they want to close down Catholic charities.

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  22. re: "Now you've got me flaming white hot angry. This is just a f*(^&*#g dishonest description of what is going on."

    No, it's not dishonest at all Gene.

    You and I may use the term "comprehensive health insurance" differently, but our different definitions are no reason to get "flaming white hot angry".

    You agree, don't you, that Catholic charities don't want to provide women with insurance coverage that includes contraceptives?

    Then what are you angry with me for? That's all I'm saying.

    Don't try to act like this is some assertion that the church is anti-health. I've said nothing of the sort.

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  23. "Ummm... you just said he was pro-child rape. Of course you can lay child rape at his feet Gene."

    The point is, if people just hadn't objected to his little child-rape sideline, he could have gone on providing great football services at Penn State. Just like if people simply wouldn't object to PP killing 300,000 babies a year, they cold do great cancer screening work.

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