Thursday, February 02, 2012

Pink Slip

I'm still on a pretty tight deadline so I don't have a lot of spare time, but this morning no fewer than three readers reached out and asked me to say something, anything about the fact that the Susan G. Komen people -- otherwise known as "Breast Cancer Inc." -- pulled all funding from Planned Parenthood. One person, in particular, implored me to do it for all the breasts I've fondled throughout my life (which for the record is a pretty good pitch, albeit one that seriously overestimates the generosity of most women).

Bottom line: I don't have the time, although I'd have plenty to say on it since my mom recently underwent treatment for breast cancer and was forced to submit, somewhat at least, to the Kult of Komen.

Thankfully, my friend Mary Beth Williams -- who's also battling cancer and who recently received some excellent news on that front -- tackles the subject quite nicely and even-handedly in Salon right now.

Salon: Komen for the Cure Sells Out Women, Again/2.1.12


Steven D Skelton said...

The following is a list of locations just in St. Louis where the Komen foundation funds mammograms and women's health services: Alton Memorial Hospital, Barnes-Jewish Hospital, Betty Jean Kerr People’s Health Centers, Christian Hospital Northeast-Northwest, Grace Hill Health Centers, Jefferson Regional Medical Center, Missouri Baptist Medical Center, Saint Louis University, SSM St. Clare Health Center, SSM St. Joseph, SSM St. Mary’s , St. John’s Mercy Hospital - Washington,St. John’s Mercy Medical Center, St. Mary’s Hospital – Centralia, IL, Washington University School of Medicine.

Beyond these physical locations, Komen funds about a dozen outreach programs that work to bring low income and minority women to these locations to get their breast cancer screenings, mammograms and treatments.

Nationally, Komen distributed over 93 million dollars this year alone for breast cancer screening.

To say that Komen is "denying" low-income or minority women breast cancer screenings and mammograms is beyond inane.

In closing, I would like to channel the great Colonel Nathan Jessup and say on behalf of Komen that nobody has done more to provide mammograms to low-income and minority women than this organization...and rather than question the manner in which they do it, I'm sure they would rather you just say "thank you" or go off and raise your own 93 million dollars this year alone and distribute it as you see fit.

Two final points. 1) Surprisingly, Planned Parenthood doesn't even do mammograms. 2) Susan Komen is not a government entity. It is a private organization that has raised over 2 BILLION dollars globally to fight breast cancer. It is their prerogative to distribute those funds as they see fit to best advance their cause.

Lastly...this is not in response to your blurb. Obviously you didn't say they were "denying"...blah blah blah. Instead, this is a generic response to the many who are saying that.

Double lastly...for the reasons Mary Beth Williams pointed out, it pains me greatly to be defending Komen.

ntx said...

For those that care about the communications angle on this issue (Komen has done an excellent job of trashing what had been, up until now, an excellent brand), here's an instructive take from my friend Kivi Miller:

Anonymous said...

Can't help but notice that when Non-profits hit a certain size and influence, they become targets of people wanting to use that hard won position for personnel or political agendas. I hope Komen will move on and continue its work and not become just another well funded anti-abortion PAC.

Ref said...

Steven there are plenty of ways to put one's money to work for cancer research that don't involve giving it to woman-haters.

Mart said...

SDS - I do not know why anti-abortionists are so against Planned Parenthood. PP helped prevent my daughters from needing an abortion while attending Truman in Kirksville, MO!

In Kirksville, PP supported mostly poor rural white folks (and rich white co-eds with stingy dads). When de-funded, it is these rural area PP clinics that shutter first. Kirksville's 38 year clinic shuttered in Nov. 2009. Rural poor do not have the big city big institution options you listed.

Point 1 -PP screens and educates - they have no x-ray equipment so of course complete no mammograms. Woman under 40 normally do not have mammograms unless they have a history of breast cancer in the family. Screening and self exams are critical to catching breast cancer in the early stage... perhaps a goal of Komen's?

2. It is my prerogative to chose to fund PP instead of Komen.

But Man-O-Man you may be right. There probably is just too damn much lady parts health care available to poor rural and city women. It is best to de-fund these tireless champions of women's health as they might tell a woman that abortion is one of the lady parts health care services available to her.

PS - The Vet parade was pretty cool, just very disorganized. TV said 100K showed up, seems high, but maybe. Got choked up seeing the parents of fallen soldiers. Hope the cheers brought them some peace.

Steven D Skelton said...


Nothing says woman hating quite like raising 2 billion dollars globally to fight breast cancer. What fuckers!

Mary Beth said...

Thank you, Chez - and have been thinking of you and your mom so much these days.

Bottom line - throwing a respected women's health organization like Planned Parenthood under the bus shortly after hiring an anti abortion politician, especially after YEARS of other petty, self-serving actions, speaks for itself about a charity and its priorities.

Chez said...

Xoxo, MB.