Dear Komen, I’m standing with Planned Parenthood – again
You’ve probably heard by now the news that the Susan G. Komen Foundation has decided to pull hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants for Planned Parenthood, if only because the yowls of outrage emanating from the internet were loud enough to wake dead aliens on Neptune.
I was among those yowling last night, for many, many reasons. Rather than trying to compile them into a coherent, journalist style piece, I’m going to just write up a quick listicle (listicle? Is that still a thing?) of things that I think suck about this whole thing.
- The move comes a few months after Komen hired Karen Handel as a senior vice president. Handel spent much of 2010 campaigning for election as the governor of Georgia on a platform that included defunding Planned Parenthood. Coincidence? I think not!
- Komen has been the target of boycotts by anti-choice groups for a while, based on its support of Planned Parenthood.
- This, despite the fact that Komen has only parted with a few hundred thousand of its hundreds of millions of dollars worth of revenue collected each year.
- The CEO of Komen makes $459,406 a year. Komen generated $421 million in gross revenue in 2010. The amount given to Planned Parenthood in 2011? $680,000.
- Komen has been sketch in my book for a while, ever since my ex-husband’s aunt opted to stop taking part in the 3-Day Walk for the Cure. Her research found that a lot of the money she and other participants raised went to overhead (like, say, CEO salaries) and that a lot of the money never actually made it to charities. She switched her allegiance to the Avon Breast Cancer Walk, who gave checks to charities at the closing ceremonies of their walks.
- Komen is also one of the worst offenders when it comes to “pinkwashing.” Pinkwashing is problematic for many reasons, not least of all that it dresses up plain old consumerism as activism. If you want to really make a difference in a cause, save the money you would have spent on a pink tchotchke and donate it directly to an organization that supports your cause.
- But maybe the worst aspect of Komen’s pinkwashing is that many of their pink products contain carcinogens. I guess that’s one way to keep your organization in business, huh?
RH Reality Check has a very extensive post about the politics and ideology of the Susan G. Komen Foundation. Check it out – it’s fascinating, albeit depressing, reading.
The withdrawal of support by Komen is just the latest in a barrage of attacks flung at Planned Parenthood in recent years. I am so fucking sick and tired of it, especially considering that I do not hear the critics of Planned Parenthood discussing any plans they have to replace the health care services that Planned Parenthood provides to millions of uninsured and underinsured women.
The same people who are working so hard to put Planned Parenthood out of business are the same ones who are attacking the recent federal health care law and who complain about welfare queens and food stamp presidents. They say it’s because they are pro-life, that they care about unborn children, but they make it apparent every single day that they don’t care about life that already exists, especially if that life belongs to a grown woman. That goes double if you are a grown woman who doesn’t have money.
The focus on abortion services – which I vehemently support, in case I haven’t made that crystal clear – obfuscates the fact that the vast majority of women who go to Planned Parenthood are not doing so to get an abortion. They do so because Planned Parenthood is the only place that will provide them with basic health care services that are affordable.
Do you want to know how many times I’ve been to Planned Parenthood in my life? At least twenty, if not more.
Guess how many abortions I’ve had? Zero.
I’ve gone there for Pap smears, for birth control, for breast exams. When I was without health insurance – which has been the vast majority of my adult life – I went to Planned Parenthood. I went to Planned Parenthood because I had no other choice. I will always be grateful to Planned Parenthood for providing me with the kind of compassionate, quality care I could have otherwise never afforded on my own.
If I seem angry in this post, it’s because I am. But it’s not enough to be angry. We’ve got to back our anger up with action.
Let’s make sure Komen and all other enemies of Planned Parenthood know that we are not going to take this, and that we are willing to fight just as hard as they are.
P.S. If you need some suggestions, you can start with this list.
P.S.S. By the way, allow me to congratulation Komen on their newfound alliance with the “let’s annoy liberals!” demographic. You can now count yourselves with “fast food” and “Newt Gingrich” as things supported by conservatives whose guiding principle in life is to be as twerpy as possible. Well played, Komen. Well played.