Many comments have surfaced this week on the issue of Thirty-One, the company founded on biblical principles who donates to organizations that fund Planned Parenthood. We were one of several LIFE news outlets to report this. Many jumped to the defense of this company, which is based on the Proverbs 31 scripture about a godly woman. However, for some it’s been hard to reconcile how a company based on the Bible and Christian principles could also be sending money to places that provide abortions. Today Thirty-One made an official statement confirming their donations after a series of denials that the blogs were true.
Here’s their statement, which you can link to above:
As you can see, it says, in part:
We support initiatives that align with this mission, which is why we focus our giving on organizations that support leadership and economic independence for women and girls such as Salvation Army, Women’s Fund of Central Ohio, Dress for Success Worldwide, Girls Scouts and YWCA of Central Ohio.
Thirty-One Gives has not provided any direct funding for Planned Parenthood or any other activities outside the scope of our mission.
This funding shell game has been an issue for pro-lifers for a long time. Recently the biggest public appearance of it was with the Susan G. Komen foundation funding Planned Parenthood. All along, Komen has asserted it gives money to the abortion provider for breast cancer screenings, not abortions. We have reported on the issue of fungibility of funds many times. It’s impossible, of course, to donate money to a place that provides abortions and not add to their funding. That’s the shell game; move it around a bit and put it in the right accounts, but the nature of funding is the more money someone has for one thing the more it frees up money for another thing. If you give me money only for groceries, I can use it for groceries, but then I can turn around and use my grocery money for things you didn’t want me to buy; and I can still say I used your money for the purpose for which you gave it.
For sake of brevity and argument, I’ll focus this blog on the local Ohio organization involved with Thirty-One. I will note, though, that Thirty-One’s founder, Cindy Monroe, according to its own site, sits as an honorary member of the Ohio’s Heartland Girl Scout Council and multiple connections have been shown with Planned Parenthood; this video also confirms it.
The Women’s Fund of Central Ohio is an agency that, according to its own information has recently funded a grant at Planned Parenthood of Central Ohio. This link, also from the Women’s Fund of Central Ohio’s own website, shows that it regularly funds Planned Parenthood, and this year $20,000 has been pledged. A look at its most recently available IRS Form 990 tax return (WFCO 2010 990) for charitable organizations shows the same information.
$20,000 isn’t huge money to an affiliate that made over $3 million in revenue, as you can see here (PDF link to return: PPCO 2010 990):
The average early abortion costs about $451. Just for comparison’s sake, the $20,000 the Women’s Fund gives them each year pays for about 44 abortions. Of course, 1) we don’t know how much Thirty-One actually gave to the Women’s Fund to make a comparison, just that they admittedly did and 2) I don’t think that Thirty-One Gives is giving money to anyone for the expressed purpose of abortion either, but when you play around a fire, smoke gets on you. It’s impossible to give money to places that help fund Planned Parenthood and call yourself innocent of abortion.
My deepest concerns with this is that many people have joined Thirty-One looking for a Christian business opportunity. The Komen Foundation, as a recent but not isolated, example never claimed to be based on the Bible or Christian principles; Thirty-One does. That’s the greatest tragedy of it all. A whole lot of Christians are trying to reconcile their trust in a company who now is doing something they can’t support.
In fact, Thirty-One actually denied any wrongdoing publicly as this email today shows.
No blog, ours or the others, has accused them of “directly” funding Planned Parenthood; we reported information obtained from their own website, which today’s release confirms.
I think the real question here is why a company that is made up of so many Christian women can’t take that money and funnel it to a crisis pregnancy center. How about local community clubs at churches? If one bases a company on Christian principles, then there’s nothing wrong with funding local places that espouse the same principles. We can truly help empower women by doing things like supporting their pregnancies, and helping their children. Plenty of places fund these organizations with feminist roots, who base female empowerment on sexual independence or birth control. What could Thirty-One’s money do if given to a local ministry organization to fund a program to empower women to actually be godly, to also uphold the biblical foundations upon which the company is founded?
Between the Women’s Fund of Central Ohio and the past documented connection of Girl Scouts and YWCA to Planned Parenthood, one has to wonder why a company that is serving many Christians and using the Bible needs to entangle itself so deeply with the world and call it good.