An organization fighting breast cancer said it was disappointed in the recall of Bibles whose sales were meant to fund breast cancer treatment and recovery. The recall by a Baptist publishing house stemmed from a link to Planned Parenthood.
LifeWay President Thom S. Rainer did not explain what would happen to the recalled Bibles once the Southern Baptist agency received them back from retail stores like WalMart and K-Mart.
The Southern Baptist Convention's publishing house, B&H Publishing Group (a division of LifeWay Christian Resources), pulled its "Here's Hope Breast Cancer Awareness Bible" just two months after it started offering the pink-covered Bible as a fundraiser to prevent breast cancer.
One dollar of each purchase of the Bible went to Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the largest breast cancer organization in the U.S.
However, LifeWay announced Dec. 14 it would start pulling the Bible from shelves due to concerns that some of the money would support Planned Parenthood.
LifeWay President Thom S. Rainer called the partnership with Komen "a mistake" as he explained the move to stop publishing the Bible.
"As this project has developed, we realized it was a mistake," LifeWay President Thom S. Rainer said in a statement. "B&H's mission to advance the gospel through distribution of God's Word is unchanged, so we will continue to seek innovative ways that are in keeping with LifeWay's core values."
Rainer did not explain when LifeWay learned of Komen's relationship with Planned Parenthood, which had long been public information.
He also did not explain what would happen to the recalled Bibles once LifeWay received them back from retail stores like WalMart and K-Mart (the Bibles were not sold in LifeWay stores).
A statement from Komen expressed disappointment that LifeWay pulled the Bible, noting that LifeWay had pledged $25,000 in donations from the sales.
"LifeWay and Komen for the Cure entered the partnership with the mutual hope that this Bible would have special meaning for women and their families during breast cancer treatment and recovery," read the statement from Komen. "We are sorry to hear that LifeWay has decided to end sales of the Bible, especially since proceeds from partnership were to support national breast cancer programs."
Rainer said LifeWay received concerns that Komen funds breast cancer screening services offered through Planned Parenthood, which also performs abortions.
Even though Komen does not fund abortions, Rainer argued the relationship was not appropriate.
"When our leadership discovered the overwhelming concern that some of Komen's affiliates were giving funds to Planned Parenthood, we began the arduous process of withdrawing this Bible from the market," Rainer said. "Though we have assurances that Komen's funds are used only for breast cancer screening and awareness, it is not in keeping with LifeWay's core values to have even an indirect relationship with Planned Parenthood."
Komen countered by explaining that the pink Bible would result in "no dollars going to Planned Parenthood programs."
In June, Susan G. Komen for the Cure released a document after previous concerns were raised about the organization's relationship with Planned Parenthood.
"Annually, Komen Affiliates fund programs that provide breast health education and breast screenings for hundreds of thousands of low-income, uninsured or medically under-served women via nearly 2,000 local organizations, including 19 Planned Parenthood programs," the foundation explained. "In some areas of the U.S., our affiliates have determined a Planned Parenthood clinic to be the best or only local place where women can receive breast health care."
The June statement said that when the foundation pays for breast cancer services at a Planned Parenthood site, it is for a breast screening, which can result in a referral for a mammogram (which might also be paid for by Komen).
The statement also noted that Komen reviews local providers twice each year to ensure funds are being properly spent.
"During the past five years, Komen Affiliate grants to Planned Parenthood have funded 139,000 clinical breast exams and nearly 5,000 mammograms, enabling the detection of 177 breast cancers," the June statement concluded. "Our mission is to help save lives by increasing screening rates among all populations of women across the U.S. and around the world. As long as there is a need for health care for vulnerable populations, Komen will fund the facilities that can best meet those needs."
In April, the debate about Planned Parenthood's non-abortion services flared up after Republican U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona claimed in a Senate speech that abortion is "well over 90 percent of what Planned Parenthood does."
Planned Parenthood instead contends abortion is only about 3 percent of its services. The Pulitzer Prize-winning independent fact-checking website PolitiFact.com rated Kyl's statement as "false."
After being challenged to back up the statement, Kyl's office released this statement: "His remark was not intended to be a factual statement but rather to illustrate that Planned Parenthood, an organization that receives millions in taxpayer dollars, does subsidize abortions."
Kyl later added that he "misspoke" when he made the 90 percent claim and removed the statement from the official congressional record.
Kyl's comments came as some congressional Republicans attempted to remove Planned Parenthood's funding, even though the organization is already prevented from using federal money for abortions.
LifeWay's description for its "Here's Hope Breast Cancer Awareness Bible" explained that it is designed to be "a reminder that God has not forgotten you, a friend, or loved one who has been impacted by breast cancer."
The Bible is now listed by Wal-Mart as "Not available at this time."
Brian Kaylor is a contributing editor for EthicsDaily.com.