Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Shame on Komen

I’ve caught the crud that Campbell and Elizabeth had all weekend and feel miserable. As a result, I left dinner and bed preparations in B’s capable hands and retreated to bed. To keep myself occupied, I scrolled through Twitter, and the more I scrolled, the angrier I became.

The Komen Foundation – the behemoth of breast cancer research, treatment and advocacy fundraising, the non-profit that set the standards on how to take a small campaign and turn it into a phenomenon, the organization that has made it possible for countless women to get mammograms and treatment and support – has pulled its grant money from Planned Parenthood. And it’s not a small amount, either. Something like $650,000.

As I’ve said before, I stand with Planned Parenthood, and I am pissed.

When I became and adult and moved out into the world on my own, the Komen Foundation was the first non-profit I became involved with. I ran in the Race for the Cure back when it could only attract a few hundred runners. After my first Race for the Cure, after seeing the breast cancer survivors at the finish line and people holding signs in memory of those who had died, I decided it would be my cause.

I threw myself into it. I did volunteer work, I raised money, I donated my own money. I proudly wore the little pink ribbon. One of the major reasons I worked on the Danskin Triathlon for 10 years is that it was all about breast cancer research and support.

And now the Komen Foundation is withdrawing grants to provide mammograms and other cancer screenings through Planned Parenthood.

The president of the Komen Foundation claims that it’s not political and it’s not because Planned Parenthood provides ab*rtions. Pretty much everyone is calling bullshit on this. The congressional investigation that Komen is pointing to as a reason is yet another attempt by a pro-life congressman to take down Planned Parenthood. The current president of the Komen Foundation is a former pro-life candidate for governor of Georgia. She has made statements in public about ending government funding for Planned Parenthood.

So there’s no way this decision isn’t political.

Komen, which has careful built and groomed this image of “being there for women” has just ruined its brand. And it’s lost me as a supporter.

Over the past six years, Komen Foundation funding made it possible for more than 700 women in Austin to get mammograms and other cancer screenings, women who wouldn’t have been able to without the work of Planned Parenthood in partnership with Komen. Now that money’s gone, and Planned Parenthood is scrambling to make up the shortfall so women don’t go without services.

This was the kick in the pants I needed to get me started on volunteering for Planned Parenthood. I signed up in the volunteer database but have never followed through, what with moving and kids and holidays and nervous breakdowns and whatnot. But now I’ll be actively pursing ways I can help them.

The work they do is too important, and it’s under attack from the Christian right wing like never before. Protecting women’s health means protecting all women, regardless of religious or political affiliation. And protecting our reproductive rights is a major part of protecting our overall health.

I hope you’ll stand with me and Planned Parenthood. Make a donation, write a letter, volunteer and hour or two – it doesn’t have to be much. But if we all did something, what a difference it would make.

To read more and make a donation, visit the Planned Parenthood site.

You can send a message to the Komen Foundation here.


Ann in NJ said...

Its so sad to have this come from Komen. You would hope that an organization that claims to be supportive of women could manage to be apolitical about these things (and why the h*ll do ANY issues of women's health have to be political? but I digress).

I've been hearing more and more in the last few years about some questionable things from Komen, and this is really the nail in the coffin. Such a pity.

Becky said...

Oh I love you.
This IS really disgusting. and disappointing.

Unknown said...


Jami said...

The really disgusting thing is that Komen is now just playing politics with women's lives. The withdrawal of the cancer screening funds from Planned Parenthood doesn't really hurt PP, it hurts low-income women. Statistically, some of those women will die because they didn't get timely screening. Komen has incorporated an anti-women component into its anti-cancer crusade. There are a lot of other organizations out there that fund and support breast (and other) cancer research. Some of them will now be getting the money I would have sent to Komen.

The Roving Retorter said...

Given how much trouble they've recently been thrown into, I'm going to start sending PP a check every year - but I doubt I'll ever do any clerical-oriented volunteer work at its lower Manhattan office ever again...

Marinka said...

I'm disgusted with Komen too. And I'm so disgusted with the anti-choice movement for driving this. The silver lining is that Komen's decision seems to be driving a lot of support to Planned Parenthood.

Great post.

Susan said...

You are so great to volunteer where your beliefs are.

I am sure that the Komen foundation didn't start out to become so corrupt. Seems like success does take focus off the origional goal and just beocomes about more and more success.