New Komen Foundation Policy Also Refuses Funding for Embryonic Stem Cell Research
Via Kombiz, it appears the Susan G. Komen Foundation's newest push towards the hard-right has resulted in another new policy as well. According to a statement released at around the same time as the Planned Parenthood defunding was being planned, the Komen Foundation will also be denying any funding for cancer research that uses embryonic stem cells [PDF]. The statement language is lifted directly from far-right rhetoric on the matter, saying they will only fund stem cell research "derived without creating a human embryo or destroying a human life."
This seems to go even farther than George W. Bush was willing to go, as it appears to offer no grandfathering of existing embryonic stem cell lines, but instead formalizes a blanket funding ban on all such research, no matter what the origin of the cells. It's about as extremist a position as exists on the matter.
But as Kaili said, merely cutting off funds for breast cancer screenings at Planned Parenthood was never going to be good enough. This was another demand from the far right, after they learned that the Komen Foundation worked with research groups that had apparently unrelatedembryonic stem cell research programs, like the National Cancer Institute and Yale, and apparently one the board of the Komen Foundation were just as eager to acquiesce to.
Now will it be enough? Of course not. There will always be more demands. Given all the objections from the far right over nearly all kinds of science, I'm guessing it's going to be increasingly difficult for the Komen foundation to find any sort of cancer research at all, once they've stripped every possible group (Yale is full of liberals! The National Cancer Institute is big government!) of funding. Who knows, maybe that's also part of the point—the Komen group has come under fire for quite a while now for very high administrative costs, compared to actual donations to breast cancer researchers.
This is already proving a disaster for the Komen Foundation. Once you institute an ideological litmus test for your funding decisions (and the group has no credibility on this front), people will begin to apply that same ideological litmus test to you. Now that the Komen Foundation has made it clear that their cancer research and prevention programs will be trumped by ideological motivations, I can't imagine why anyone wanting to donate money for anti-cancer efforts would not bypass them and give money directly to the groups that actually do that research and prevention.