Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Good news

I think it's about time we had some good news around here:

A major breast-cancer charity has cut off support for Planned Parenthood because of controversy over abortion and the group’s standing as a provider of generalized women’s health services. Planned Parenthood accused Susan G. Komen for the Cure of giving in to political pressure.

“We are alarmed and saddened that the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation appears to have succumbed to political pressure. Our greatest desire is for Komen to reconsider this policy and recommit to the partnership on which so many women count,” said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, in a statement. [...]

The Susan G. Komen Foundation did not return an immediate request for comment. According to the Associated Press, Komen spokeswoman Leslie Aun said that the charity cut off ties with Planned Parenthood because it is under investigation by Rep. Cliff Stearns, R-Fla., concerning the possible improper spending of federal funds on abortions.

I'm totally for free and/or low cost mammograms for poor women. I'm totally against letting Planned Parenthood have the cash to do that sort of thing, because of the obnoxiousness of Planned Parenthood's overall agenda, because Planned Parenthood is up to its dirty eyeballs in abortion funding, and because Planned Parenthood clinics alone are responsible for roughly three hundred thousand of America's annual 1.2 million feticides (that's "abortions" for those of you unfamiliar with the term).

There are better ways to make sure that poor women have access to breast cancer screenings, and I think the pro-life community has an opportunity to step up to the plate to make that happen. In the meantime, perhaps the best thing the pro-life community can do is publicize this important decision by the Komen foundation, and show our support for their actions.

UPDATE: Seconds after I hit the "post" button, I received this link from a reader giving more details about this news. :)


Jeff Miller said...

Though this is rather tentative. Komen said that they have a rule about not contributing to groups who are being investigated by congress. So Planned Parenthood falls under this. If they are no longer being investigated than they could fund them again, Certainly a with and see her.

Plus they still totally deny any possibility of a link between breast cancer and abortion.

Red Cardigan said...

Oh, agreed, Jeff. This is one of those things that bears watching. Still, under the comments section of the article my reader sent me there are already dozens of angry comments from people who won't fund Komen if Komen doesn't give to PP. It's pretty amazing, and sad.

Siarlys Jenkins said...

I'm going to reserve judgement on this. It would feel good, in a transitory way, to join a chorus of criticism of Planned Parenthood, just to show I'm different from them. But I've been caustically critiquing that sort of feel-good knee-jerk reaction in others lately, so I caution myself to refrain.

It looks like a low-key cowardly sort of move on Komen's part. They have NOT taken a principled stand that Planned Parenthood is running a program they wish to dissociate themselves from. Not only is Jeff correct that Komen could quietly resume support later, but even if they don't, they have made a move that calms criticism from one quarter, without openly alienating support from other quarters.

It is only natural that SOME people would cease supporting Komen if Komen won't renew work with PP. Obviously, SOME people in the world support PP, or it wouldn't exist. My mother was a volunteer at PP for many years, when it was truly a VOLUNTEER organization.

There are those who like to stigmatize organizations like Planned Parenthood as primarily abortion clinics, and characterize everything else they do as secondary, or as camouflage. Historically speaking that borders on slander. However, some of Erin's posts about two years ago strongly suggested that with some sort of ill-advised "business model," Planned Parenthood's managers had concluded that abortion was the strongest "revenue stream." If so, they are turning themselves into what was once a caricature.

It is possible to provide breast cancer screening without offering abortions on the side. (This week only! 50% off all abortion procedures with a paid up mammogram! OR vice versa?) I see no reason that Komen shouldn't support breast cancer screening by an organization that also offers abortion. If I ran Komen, I would want to be sure that the grant money supported free or sliding scale screening, for women who couldn't otherwise afford it.

But frankly, there is a lot of dust obscuring what exactly is going on here. I don't have deep sympathies for the current course of PP, I'm not keen on any organization having a monopoly as THE organization fighting any illness, and there is obvious much room for opportunistic manipulation and ulteriorly motivated pressure all around.

The Sicilian Woman said...

It'll be interesting to see if Komen caves, assuming there will be a backlash from the pro-PP crowd.

For the record, I've purposely avoided buying anything, particularly while grocery shopping, tied into Komen's pink campaign drives.

I think there's another aspect to this whole situation. If I'm giving money to Organization A, I want my money going to THAT organization. But, if Organization A has the money to funnel funds elsewhere, it doesn't need my money, no?

Further, if I want to give my money to Organization B, I'll just do it straight out, not use a middle man (or woman) and be certain that's where my funds are going.

Now, if we could only get PP's dirty hands off the Girl Scouts (no cookies for me, thanks) and let children be children for a change...

Anonymous said...

did they really ever provide that many mammys?

I bet they will be back to funding them once it is over anyway.

~ Ann Marie

Sal said...

One of my reservations about Komen, aside from the donations to PP, is the enormous amount they spend on PR, tie-ins and events.
I donate locally to the free mammogram fund in our community. You can sponsor two for about $150.
It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

Anonymous said...

PP do not have the machines to for mammograms so the best you would/could get is an examination and referral. In our research during the Personhood Initiative, there are some PP that will give out coupons for you to receive those services elsewhere. It is no doubt how they make their money. One can argue if the pamphlets in the lobby, etc, concerning breast cancer do any good, but then again, you could put them in the library too. Just saying. There are other ways of getting the info out and awareness. I am glad they cut ties. Would have been nice for other reasons, but I will take what I can get.


Geoff G. said...

Ann Marie, here's what Planned Parenthood itself reported along those lines for 2010.

Basically, they did 747,000 "breast exam/breast care" procedures in 2010. Those aren't mammograms, they generally would refer for that. According to them, about 14.5% of what they do is related to cancer screening and prevention, but that includes cervical cancer as well as breast cancer.

Siarlys Jenkins said...

From the latest reports, Komen is primarily a fundraising and a funding organization, not a service provider. They channel the funds they raise to various organizations (and probably individuals engaged in research) who are doing something Komen considers positive about breast cancer.

I did see some news coverage this evening on the "backlash" -- the whole thing still leaves me a bit cold. I've never sympathized with pro-life people criticizing Komen because some miniscule fraction of their money goes to Planned Parenthood, I don't see any reason any funding source should have a monopoly on any field, I don't admire any organization coming to depend upon a single funding source, I still find the furtive way Komen acted rather dubious, and the loud reaction a bit over-done as well.

Perhaps everyone should get on with doing what they do best, and not worry so much about it.