On Tuesday, January 31, after Susan G. Komen for the Cure announced it was pulling the plug on its funding for Planned Parenthood, a tidal wave of sorts was unleashed on Twitter and Facebook. People were immediately outraged (rightly so) and the comments, rebuttals and tongue lashings started flowing fast and furiously.
In my usual more slow-paced style, I had to mull this one over too. I guess I wouldn’t make a very good news reporter. I’m not a jump-on-the-story immediately kind of “reporter.” I’m more of an opinion page, letter-to-the-editor kind of writer.
I’m not going to rehash the facts of the whole story here. There are lots of good links and I’ve tried to include a few of them if you’re interested in more background.
How convenient; talk about putting a nice spin on a statement.
Planned Parenthood is being investigated and it’s no coincidence this investigation was initiated by Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL), who in turn was being pressured by anti-abortion groups such as Americans United for Life to take on Planned Parenthood. Some such individuals and groups have outwardly stated they wish to see Planned Parenthood dismantled entirely.
This leads me to ask my first question, who is bullying who?
It’s also important to note that many in the conservative camp have been twisting Komen’s arm of late, pressuring Komen to sever ties with Planned Parenthood.
For example, Life Decisions International has put Komen on its “boycott list.” Lifeway Christian Resources, the publishing arm of Southern Baptist Convention, announced a recall of pink Bibles (yes, I said pink) because funds (probably minuscule amounts) made from them were finding their way to Planned Parenthood. (source)
Again, who is bullying who?
Sadly, such bullying seems to be paying off.
Leslie Aun, Komen spokesperson, defends Komen’s action saying such pressure tactics (interesting to note she did indeed call them pressure tactics) were not the reason behind the decision to cut funding. I think she has her work cut out for her trying to convince people on this one.
Perhaps also worth noting, it’s a well-documented fact that Nancy Brinker, founder and CEO of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, has strong ties to the conservative right. In addition, the foundation’s senior vice president of public policy, Karen Handel, has openly proclaimed her pro-life position.
Is all of this coincidental? I don’t think so.
In my opinion, politics don’t or should not matter here. Your opinions on abortion should not matter here. That’s not what this is, or should be about.
It’s supposed to be about preventing cancer from taking women’s lives.
Cancer certainly doesn’t care what political party you belong to.
No, what matters here, or what should matter here , is that once again women may suffer. Women who are uninsured or under-insured may suffer the most because a viable option for them to obtain free breast care/cancer guidance may not be as accessible.
Here are a few of questions I’d like to ask Susan G. Komen for the Cure:
- Do you genuinely care about the health of all women?
- When did caving to political pressure from any source become acceptable for an organization like Komen, the self-proclaimed world leader in the fight against breast cancer?
- Unfortunately, I have to ask, is this really about breast cancer, or is it more about pro-choice vs pro-life agendas and possible contributions Komen may or may not receive if they do not pull funds from Planned Parenthood?
- Since many women rely on Planned Parenthood for all of their health care needs, do you really want to send the message you don’t care about them? What if they die from an undetected cancer? Don’t their lives matter?
- And why the sudden change of heart? Komen has been partnering with Planned Parenthood since 2005. That’s seven years. This “investigation” came to the forefront in 2011. Grants from Komen totaled around $680,000 last year and $580,000 the year before, allowing Planned Parenthood to provide breast cancer screenings and other breast-health guidance services to more women in need at 19 of its affiliates.
- Shouldn’t this be something Komen is proud of, not halting?
- How do you justify eliminating funds to support Planned Parenthood while also proclaiming commitment to your mission?
Getting back to the bullying… let’s see. ..
Some individuals and organizations have been “bullying” congress and have now also successfully succeeded at “bullying” Komen. Congress has in turn been “bullying” Planned Parenthood; Komen is now doing the same.
If you’re a woman who has depended on Planned Parenthood for breast-health care and guidance, I’d say you are being “bullied” most of all.
And lastly, about the tidal wave, Susan G. Komen for the Cure; you may have gone too far this time. You may have just “washed away” more than a few of your supporters. Some of them might even decide to donate to Planned Parenthood instead.
I hope they do.
NOTE: Since this post was first published, Susan G. Komen for the Cure has reversed its decision to split with Planned Parenthood and has apologized for their action. It’s a good day for women’s health, however there is still much work to be done. Far too many lives are still being lost to breast cancer.
Note: Please feel free to comment, but this is not about abortion, it’s about protecting women from cancer, so I’m hoping all are mindful of the difference. Thank you in advance!
Do you think Komen should pull the plug on its partnership with Planned Parenthood? Why or why not?
Do you think this action to do so is politically motivated?
Are you a supporter of Planned Parenthood? Why or why not?