Tuesday, January 31, 2012
I am one of the millions of American women who have received breast examination and birth control services from Planned Parenthood over the years. When I started freelancing, back in the 1970s, I was without the health insurance that my previous employers had provided. Planned Parenthood was a lifesaver for me, because they provided quality reproductive system care at an affordable price. Wherever I was--Philadelphia, New York, Michigan, Chicago--they were there too, and as a breast cancer survivor, I am extremely grateful to them for the work they have been doing for almost 100 years. (For an excellent history of the organization, read the article in the November 14, 2011 issue of the New Yorker.)
For many women--those who don't have access to good health care because they are poor--Planned Parenthood is literally a lifesaver. In the past five years, Planned Parenthood has performed more than four million breast exams, the vast majority of those for women who do not have regular doctors. Of those, some 170,000 were funded by support from the biggest breast cancer charity in the country, the Susan G. Komen Foundation.
Today, the Washington Post reported that Komen has withdrawn its financial support--used mainly for breast exams-- from Planned Parenthood. The reason? Right-wing politics, now supported by Komen. Planned Parenthood also provides therapeutic abortions; they account for about THREE PERCENT of all the healthcare services Planned Parenthood offers. The right wing doesn't like that, and they made it clear to the Komen people. And Komen caved.
This is a disgusting and almost unbelievable turn of events. A charitable foundation that bills itself as one of the biggest supporters of women's health in the country turns on the oldest women's health organization in the country and pulls its support because right wingers disapprove of the abortion services provided by Planned Parenthood.
Of course, the Pink People, the Komen group, have become one of those giant charities that exist more or less to continue their own existence. That pink crap is everywhere--you can even buy a Kitchen Aid stand mixer in Komen pink! So maybe it's not so surprising that providing breast cancer screening to poor women isn't so high on their list of priorities.
In any event, for all of you big-hearted people who want to contribute money to breast cancer research, please do NOT do so through Komen any more. If you've signed up for one of their walks, unsign. An excellent alternative is the Army of Women, sponsored by one of the leading breast cancer researchers in the world, Dr. Susan Love. You can donate to her foundation at http://www.dslrf.org/. And while you're roaming around the Internet, let the Komen people know what you think of their unholy alliance with the right wing here: http://ww5.komen.org/Contact.aspx.