n 1984 my mother got the news no woman wants to learn. She had breast cancer, the first woman in generations of my family to have the disease. Being the person I am, I set out to research the subject as much as I could since her diagnosis had a distinct effect on my future.
What I discovered was that medical research funds from the public sector for breast cancer research were minimal at best–lung cancer and heart disease got the brunt of those meagre dollars. Soon, however, there was an organization, which raised money privately for breast cancer research–the Susan G. Komen Foundation. Its “Race for the Cure” events across the country raised millions.
When Linda Daschle became the FAA’s first female assistant administrator, she created a team of FAA women to run/walk in the annual Washington, DC, Race for the Cure. I was an eager participant. Well aware of my ambivalent relationship with my mother–who died six weeks after being diagnosed–I donned my race number and a placard with her name on it–I was racing in her memory. It was something I could do for her and not face her criticism.
Over the years, then, I donated, generously, to the Susan G. Komen Foundation and participated in several, additional Races for the Cure.
No more. Susan G. Komen Foundation announced this week its grants to Planned Parenthood to enable that organization to screen poor women for breast cancer for free were cut off. Their excuse? Right-wing nut-job pressure because Planned Parenthood does abortions. Of course, they didn’t say that–the announcement was couched in PR-speak.
Susan G. Komen Foundation has a policy not to partner with organizations “under investigation.” That’s a recent change, by the way. Republican Congressman Jeff Stearns from Florida has initiated a Congressional investigation to determine if Planned Parenthood used public funds for abortions, which is prohibited by law. Planned Parenthood’s accounting shows that’s not the case, but the investigation proceeds–slowly.
But the truth is obvious–right-wing nut-jobs are so concerned about controlling women’s bodies and so dispassionate they will force an organization that did so much good to take an action that puts women in jeopardy. RWNJ’s don’t care about women; they especially don’t care about poor women. If you didn’t know that before, know it now.
Planned Parenthood’s focus has always been pregnancy prevention, family planning, and health screening for women who can’t afford to go to a doctor. Performing abortions has always been a small, a very small, portion of their services. No matter to the RWNJ’s–one abortion is one too many for them, so they work to shut down an organization poor women depend on for health services beyond birth control and family planning.
I’ve written to Susan G. Komen Foundation directly and explained exactly why they’ll no longer be getting any money or any support from me. I’ve signed an on-line petition denouncing the Foundation’s ill-considered decision. They’ve put money from rightwing organizations before the health of women. That’s unconscionable.
Credo Action has the on-line petition I signed. I’m sure there’ll be others. Make sure the Susan G. Komen Foundation gets the message they made a bad choice. Contact Rep. Jeff Stearns and explain the concept of “unintended consequences” to him.