Susan G. Komen vs. Planned Parenthood

So, what do you think about the flap over the Pink Ribbon set’s slap in the face to Planned Parenthood, wherein the Susan G. Komen breast cancer charity announced it was cutting off its funding to one of the major providers of women’s healthcare because (horrors!) it provides contraceptive care and ends unwanted pregnancies.

Predictably, it sure makes me mad as a cat.

Reproductive care—including decisions about when and under what circumstances one is going to bear a child—is a central part of women’s health care. Many more of us ovulate and get pregnant than fall victim to breast cancer. An organization whose mission is to save women’s lives ought to be able to get the message that there’s more to women’s lives (and deaths) than boobs.

In the past, friends have asked me to join them in Susan G. Komen “Race for the Cure” walks. I’ve gone along with them, even though I think it’s pretty silly to imagine that walking up and down the streets is going to cure cancer. In fact, despite all the money that’s been thrown at the problem, metastatic breast cancer is not a lot less fatal today than it was twenty years ago. I will admit, I’ve found the pinkiness and the stuffed animals vaguely offensive; more vocally radical women and articulate patients who claim this sicky-sweet motif infantilizes women and turns breast cancer awareness into a merchandizing opportunity have got something there.

Vaguely offended, however, is different from effin’ outraged.

I have walked my last Susan G. CKomen mile and donated my last Susan G. Komen dollar. If I have any cash left over at the end of this month’s budget cycle, it’s going straight to Planned Parenthood.

Join me if you dare!

 

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Valleycat1 February 3, 2012 at 8:56 am

Although I don’t like Komen’s decision, I support the right of any private organization to make their own decisions about where their money goes. As a twice-over breast ca survivor, I’m more aligned with the think before you pink and the anti-pink washer campaigns than I am with all the corporate fund raisers.

Valleycat1 February 3, 2012 at 8:58 am

Also, I prefer to donate directly to a local cancer treatment center so they get the full amount of money I pay, rather than buying random items that may eventually trifle down a small portion.

MJ February 3, 2012 at 9:18 am

The issue is that the allegedly, Karen Handel, who unsuccessfully ran for Governor in Georgia with an anti-abortion platform and frequently denounced Planned Parenthood, was the driving force behind this, and many at PP are furious and some have resigned in protest.
http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?section=news/national_world&id=8530195
Planned Parenthood is the place to go to for the poor and uninsured, and provides so much more than abortions.
Aside from all the breast exams and cancer screenings, what about college students who go there for STD screenings that if untreated would result in infertility?
Planned Parenthood PREVENTS abortions by providing education and lower cost birth control.
I am emailing all the companies that I buy from (and I did buy a lot of things with those stupid pink ribbons on them just because of the charity) and letting them know I will not buy anything associated with Komen because of their stance on Planned Parenthood.
I am spitting nails over this.

Stephen February 3, 2012 at 11:08 am

I’ll make a donation to Planned Parenthood instead of buying you the cup of coffee I owe you. Don’t you hate me now? No coffee for you. :)

frugalscholar February 3, 2012 at 11:41 am

I think Komen rethought the decision. Like others, I’d rather give straight to PP.

Linda February 3, 2012 at 2:24 pm

I don’t give money to Komen: never have and never will. I also don’t buy pink ribbon crap of any kind. I’m stumped as to exactly what Komen does for women with breast cancer or to prevent breast cancer. I guess they think that just bringing the topic into the public forum by throwing pink ribbons on stuff they feel they’ve done their duty. Is that it?

My annual donation to PP is the biggest one I make to the handful of charities I support. This has been a really awful week for women’s health issues: Catholic institutions getting crazy over the fact that their employees should have the choice to get prescription birth control; Texas saying women have to get a vaginal probe and listen to a doctor’s description of the resulting ultrasound before they can have an abortion; and now PP getting hit by Komen for “being under investigation,” despite the fact that the “investigation” is a political witch hunt.

Actually we should all thank Komen for showing it’s hand. Now we can ignore them and their merchandising of booby cancer and not feel the slightest twinge of guilt.

Linda February 3, 2012 at 2:43 pm

And I just saw this, linked from another blog. Very astute observations here: http://studentactivism.net/2012/02/03/komen-statement-on-planned-parenthood-is-a-pr-move-not-a-policy-reversal/

Julie In San Diego February 3, 2012 at 6:52 pm

You do know it’s Komen, not Comen, right???

Funny about Money February 4, 2012 at 7:20 am

@ Julie: Yipe! Did I spell it like THAT? Holy mackerel, even after staring at this thing glassy-eyed for hevvin only knows how long trying to get it right! :roll: When we say “every writer needs an editor” around here, we’re not kidding.

@ Linda: Yes, clearly the forces that would like to undo decades of progress for women’s rights are making serious headway. They won’t be able to get us all back in the kitchen, of course, because today it takes two salaries to keep a roof over a family’s head. But exactly how they think people are going to support all the extra children brought into the world when women have no control over their bodies escapes me. Interestingly, the women who will be unable to get these services and products are the very women the right regards as lazy and shiftless because they’re in the lower income strata. Hey…ya can’t win for losin’!

@ Stephen: LOL! You reminded me that I’d made a pot of coffee and forgot about it. So au contraire, your proposed donation got me a very find cup of coffee.

@ Valleycat1: Agreed: companies and nonprofits have a right to donate (or not) to whomever they please. And, I suppose, they have a right to contradict their mission and to undermine the very constituency they supposedly represent. Meanwhile, individuals also have the same right, and probably have a responsibility to exercise that right based on how they see the cause behaving.

Mary February 4, 2012 at 8:19 am

The Komen Foundation’s pinkwashing has always bothered me, but when I complain about it every October, it seems to offend. I have no objection to breast cancer research and no beef with women who have survived breast cancer, but when I say “Don’t market a pink blender and tell me that I’m helping The Cause,” people get mad.

I also have mad crazy love for Planned Parenthood. When I was working at a crappy job with no health insurance, Planned Parenthood was there for me. I wish I had more time so I could volunteer for them.

Earn Save Live February 4, 2012 at 4:04 pm

I fully agree with you! I have had friends and family affected by breast cancer, and I’ve regularly raised money for the SGK foundation through the Race for the Cure.

Never. Again.

I am increasingly alarmed by how many organizations and state governments are cutting women’s access to medical facilities and reproductive care in the name of political ideology. I fully support someone’s right to choose (or not to choose). But I cannot get behind how there are concerted efforts underway to prevent women (especially women in poverty) from getting access to birth control, pre-natal care, or breast exams.

Ellen2 February 4, 2012 at 4:29 pm

You said it well. Earn Save Live commented exactly right.

george February 4, 2012 at 6:40 pm

PP is all about abortions and you can argue about this but that is what they do.

Earn Save Live February 4, 2012 at 6:46 pm

George, I respect your right to have an opinion. But I really think that you need to get your facts straight. Here’s one resource: http://www.factcheck.org/2011/04/planned-parenthood/

Specifically: “Abortions represent 3 percent of total services provided by Planned Parenthood, and roughly 10 percent of its clients received an abortion. The group does receive federal funding, but the money cannot be used for abortions by law.”

I know many women (including myself in college) who relied on Planned Parenthood for basic medical care, including annual check ups. To say that PP is “all about abortion” is patently false. If you’re really passionate about the topic of abortion, why not work to increase access to birth control (for women and men), teen’s access to comprehensive sex education, government support of low-income families, and increased funding to programs like WIC?

funny February 4, 2012 at 7:35 pm

True that, what Earn Save Live says, George. Planned Parenthood is about an awful lot more than abortions.

But lookit: if your wife or your daughter doesn’t get an abortion because she thinks it’s immoral, that’s her right, and it’s your right to choose a wife who thinks that way. But where does anyone come off telling me (or any other woman, including your wife or daughter) that she WILL give birth whether she wants the baby or not, whether she can care for the baby or not, whether the baby will be born with a major, life-destroying defect, whether the pregnancy has gone awry and threatens her life, whether the baby is the product of rape or incest?

America should be a free country for women, too…

george February 4, 2012 at 6:52 pm

Years ago I worked in an office right next door to an abortion clinic in Las Vegas.
An ambulance pulled up 2 times a week to haul some poor girl off to the hospital to save her live as her baby was already dead.

Facts or statistics?

Linda February 4, 2012 at 8:41 pm

And your point is??? What does this have to do with PP? And if protocol is to call an ambulance when there is an anomaly in the procedure, that sounds absolutely right. Same thing happens when people are undergoing oral surgery or cosmetic surgery and there is a problem that pops up. So what? I actually live one block away from a clinic that performs abortions (no, it is not a PP clinic) and in the 10 years I’ve lived here I don’t recall there being any ambulances being called. Facts or statistics?

george February 4, 2012 at 7:03 pm

As you can see I’m on the side of against abortion and Planned Parenthood is not.

This is what they do.

george February 4, 2012 at 7:10 pm

Ok, I’m in over my head and I’ll let let you girls debate this.

Linda February 4, 2012 at 8:42 pm

BTW, I am not a girl. I’m a woman. Boy.

george February 5, 2012 at 6:40 pm

Linda, be a woman and roar.

Girl , Boy – Man, Woman be picky if you want.

I am pro choice and it’s up to you girls, ladies to decide where you are going to plant your foot. I won’t tread there.

Evan February 6, 2012 at 2:19 pm

I am a little confused by this issue – why was a breast cancer foundation supporting anything but cancer research?

Regardless it was a STUPID move – like someone didn’t do any research as to who their their constituency is.

funny February 6, 2012 at 3:38 pm

@ Evan: The only thing a person can imagine is that their upper management must simply have misapprehended what their constituency would think. Sometimes we imagine that everyone else just naturally thinks the way we do, and maybe that’s what happened here.

On the other hand, given the widespread annoyance at the pinkwashing strategy, you’d think they might have had a clue. It’s really too bad.

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