April 29, 2011

Be Our Guest / Ann Heilman

Vigilance is needed when considering support of various organizations

A few weeks ago, it was posted in our parish bulletin that our Catholic school was going to participate in a walk to raise money for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF).

JDRF is one of the nation’s leading advocates of human embryonic stem-cell research, and in 2008 donated $4.9 million specifically to this kind of research.

In fact, JDRF is quite open about their position as they have a clear statement of support on their website. They also have a rather sinister brainwashing page on their “For Kids” link that equates embryonic stem-cell research to simple organ donation.

The Catholic Church has a different view. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ website’s “stem cell campaign” page states that, “The Church opposes the direct destruction of innocent human life for any purpose, including research.”

Furthermore, the bishops say, “Embryonic stem-cell research treats innocent human beings as mere sources of body parts, as commodities for our use.”

It is pretty clear that JDRF and the Catholic Church are at odds on this issue.

Thankfully, when informed about JDRF’s position, the school principal responded that he had not known about their support for human embryonic stem-cell research, and immediately canceled the fundraising portion of the event for JDRF.

The fact that he “didn’t know” is the motivation behind this letter to the editor—to inform other Catholics in the archdiocese the truth about JDRF.

Another charity that many Catholics are familiar with is the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. This foundation has strong ties to Planned Parenthood, the nation’s leading abortion provider. It was estimated that Komen gave Planned Parenthood almost $7.5 million in 2009 (Texas Right to Life).

Komen defends the link to Planned Parenthood on its own website by saying, “We are assured that Planned Parenthood uses these funds only for breast health education, screening and treatment programs.”

This may be so, but it seems then that the less financial burden for Planned Parenthood thereby frees up resources and energy for more abortions.

The pro-life group Live Action recently exposed the fact that Planned Parenthood, in fact, provides no mammograms at its clinics. So what exactly is Komen’s money to Planned Parenthood going for?

I would urge people to consider supporting breast cancer research foundations that are not tainted by ties to our country’s leading abortion advocate and provider.

One such group is the Vera Bradley Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

On a more local level, and for those who particularly wish to participate in a breast cancer walk event, there is the “Women of Hope” walk on Oct. 1 for the St. Vincent Hospital Foundation. Their website is www.stvincentwomenofhope.org.

(Ann Heilman is a member of St. Luke the Evangelist Parish in Indianapolis.)

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