I Stand with Planned ParenthoodPosted: February 2, 2012
“The nation’s leading breast-cancer charity, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, is halting its partnerships with Planned Parenthood affiliates—creating a bitter rift, linked to the abortion debate, between two iconic organizations that have assisted millions of women.”
That’s a great lead from the Associated Press.
Too bad it’s attached to such a sorry story.
When I first heard the news, I resisted the urge to blog, knowing that my anger at Komen would create a flaming piece full of emotional ranting. Today is marginally better, and while this piece is sure to be full of anger at Komen, hopefully it won’t be too flaming.
I’m certain that much was written about this topic yesterday by my fellow pink ribbon gals in the blog-o-sphere. I’m equally certain that their writings are eloquent, thoroughly researched, and well-thought-out.
Mine, not so much. I’m writing off the cuff and emotionally. I’m mad. No, wait — I’m pissed. I’m disgusted. I’m disappointed. I’m sad. I’m upset.
This story weighed on my mind all day yesterday, and I specifically resisted the urge to read every story I could find. I’m not usually good at walking away from a fight, just so you know.
That Komen would end its alliance with Planned Parenthood is bad enough. That Komen is walking away because of political BS makes me sick.
I’ll be writing a scathing letter to Rep. Cliff Stearns in Florida to tell him what a jackass idiot narrow-minded pork chop I think he is. I have no illusions that he’ll actually read it, but it will make me feel better.
Before I launch into it, let me be clear about one thing: this blog is not intended to promote either a pro-choice or an anti-abortion position. This blog is intended to highlight the atrocity of hiding behind that position and thereby compromising PP’s ability to provide breast health to the very women who need it most.
Ok, here’s the story: Stearns, aka jackass idiot narrow-minded pork chop, got his panties in a wad and launched an official inquiry into PP to see if public funds have been used to pay for abortions.
Since Stearns has neither a uterus nor a pair of ovaries, I can’t for the life of me fathom why he’d stick his nose into this issue, but people do idiotic, narrow-minded things every day.
Unfortunately, he is the chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce’s investigative subcommittee, and he has the power to conduct a witch-hunt under the guise of public service. Apparently this goes back to Republican lawmakers’ failure to defund PP during federal budget negotiations last year. Since they couldn’t inflict their hack job then, they want to do it now, and it seems that Komen is along for the ride.
Stearns has demanded that PP cough up “internal audits conducted from 1998 to 2010; state-level audits going back 20 years; copies of policies certifying that federal dollars are not co-mingled in programs that fund abortions; and procedures for reporting crimes such as statutory rape, sexual abuse and suspected sex trafficking.” Oh, and he wants it on his desk in two weeks.
Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said that PP will comply with Stearns’s request in a timely manner, “despite the clear political motivation” of the investigation. The fact is that PP is regularly audited by the Department of Health and Human Services and is found to be in compliance with federal law. Richards asserts that PP “only uses taxpayer money to help low-income patients afford preventative health care and family-planning services.”
Yes, PP provides abortions. And yes, abortion is a terrible thing for any woman to face. And yes, it certainly is preferable to have healthy babies born into loving families with the means to care for that child. But in the real world, it doesn’t always work that way. For Stearns and Komen to abandon PP for one politically-motivated, emotionally-volatile issue is cowardly. PP is about more than birth control. Way more. I sure wish Stearns could see that.
Komen insists that the decision to give PP the shaft was not political. Baloney. According to The New York Times, Komen called its break with Planned Parenthood “regrettable,” but added that “we must continue to evolve to best meet the needs of the women we serve and most fully advance our mission.”
AND WHAT EXACTLY IS THAT MISSION, KOMEN???
If Komen really wanted to meet the needs of the women it serves, it would continue funding PP and the important work done by PP affiliates all over this country. And if Komen really wanted to break from PP because of the abortion issue, just come out with it. I’d have a lot more respect for the organization if it was honest. But it’s not, and PP–along with the women under its umbrella — will suffer because of it. Women who can ill afford more suffering. To wit, if a couple, such as the one I am a part of, with 4 college degrees between them and a good-paying job with comprehensive health-care benefits struggles to meet the demands of a breast cancer diagnosis, what hope does a single woman have? Or a married woman who happens to be low-income? Or inadequately educated? That’s where PP comes in, and does a tremendous service to women facing a breast cancer diagnosis.
As stated on its website, this move means that “at immediate risk are low-income women, many located in rural and underserved communities, served by 19 Planned Parenthood programs funded by the Komen Foundation. This funding has enabled designated Planned Parenthood health centers to provide women with breast health education, screenings, and referrals for mammograms — lifesaving care for women where Planned Parenthood is their only source of health care.”
“We are aware of no predicate that would justify this sweeping and invasive request to Planned Parenthood,” Waxman and DeGette wrote in the letter. “It would be an abuse of the oversight process if you are now using the Committee’s investigative powers to harass Planned Parenthood again. Your fervent ideological opposition to Planned Parenthood does not justify launching this intrusive investigation.”
There is a call for Stearns to reconsider the investigation and find more productive ways to use the subcommittee’s resources, such as examining private health insurers who are under-reporting drug manufacturer rebates, or re-examining food safety.
Senator Barbara Boxer and Representative Jackie Speier, both of California, criticized Stearns and revoked their support for Komen yesterday. Boxer said, “I was perplexed and troubled to see the decision by Susan G. Komen for the Cure to cut off funding for life-saving breast cancer screenings through Planned Parenthood because of a political witch hunt by House Republicans. I truly hope that they will reconsider this decision and put the needs of women first.” Speier added her opinion on the House floor, saying, “I have been a big booster of the Susan G. Komen organization, but not anymore.” One of Komen’s own affiliates withdrew its support as well. The Connecticut affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure said in a statement on Wednesday that it “shares” people’s frustration over the decision and that it will continue funding Planned Parenthood of New England. Yeah! Rock on!
Komen and Stearns and their ilk need to hear the message loud and clear that regardless of one’s position on abortion, it is wrong to politicize women’s health. To politicize low-income and underserved women’s health is even more egregious. Check out this Polipulse poll of Komen’s decision to abandon PP.
The vast majority of people who are talking about this issue online think it’s wrong, and Stearns and Komen need to hear that. Ironically, since Komen severed ties with PP, money has been pouring in to PP. Fellow Texans Lee & Amy Fikes donated $250,000 to PP for a “Breast Health Emergency Fund,” and the hope is that donations to PP will match or surpass the roughly $680,000 it received from Komen in 2011. Keep hope alive, because by yesterday afternoon, PP announced that it had received $400,000 from some 6,000 individual donors since Komen left. PP spokesperson Tait Sye issued this statement: “Politics should not get in the way of women’s health, and people respond powerfully when they see politics interfering with women’s health. The donations send a message to stand up to bullying and protect access to health care.”