Right now, I am trying to bring my blood pressure back down to something close to normal. A little while ago, I read a story, now in wide circulation, in the Washington Post: “Why Komen Defunded Planned Parenthood.”
The Associated Press reports that Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the nation’s leading breast-cancer charity, will cut off its funding to Planned Parenthood affiliates, where the foundation has traditionally paid for preventive screening services.
According to the AP, the move will mean “a cutoff of hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants, mainly for breast exams.”Planned Parenthood confirms that Komen is the first, and only, organization to cut off funding since the Congress began debating the issue in earnest last winter.In some ways, the Komen decision isn’t particularly surprising. The group has been under pressure from anti-abortion rights groups not to fund Planned Parenthood. It also hired a vice president last year who had previously advocated for the group’s defunding in her run for Georgia governor. With a congressional investigation underway, Komen pulled its support.
The Komen Foundation has been skating on thin ice with me for some time. Their pinkwashing efforts have turned a diagnosis of breast cancer into a retail opportunity for corporations all around the country. As a breast cancer survivor, I am aware that fighting disease takes big money, and I understand that a certain amount of commercialization may reap big rewards. I have continued to support my local race because I like the fact that most of the money raised stays in my community and goes to local organizations like Planned Parenthood, who deliver care to the women who need it most and are least likely to have insurance. But this is the end.
I am enraged that the anti-choice lobby has so terrified health care organizations that a misogynist bully like Congressman Cliff Stearns can undermine a decades-long relationship simply by mentioning the A word. Anti-abortion politicians simply will not accept that not every single thing in this world has to do with abortion. To them, women’s health and abortion are one and the same, and to provide funds and/or support to any group that advocates for choice is the same as killing a fetus.
Just as one person can blackmail entire organizations, one person can bring down a villain like Stearns. Remember Joseph Welch, who ended McCarthyism with one simple question? How long will we have to watch as the Susan G. Komen Foundation and others who call themselves our allies betray the cause of women’s health care?
I encourage each of you to contact the national Komen Foundation here Their homepage will give you contact information for your local affiliate. Komen’s Facebook page is here. And this is a perfect opportunity to make an extra donation to your local Planned Parenthood. If you donate, please let them know what prompted your gift.