Thursday, February 02, 2012

The Nancy Komen-Planned Parenthood Debacle: Don't Just Get Mad, Get Even

The Susan Komen-Planned Parenthood debacle is a defining moment for women's rights in America.

As Taylor Marsh writes, it is an egregious example of liberals being asleep at the wheel, but it is much, much more: It is a watershed event in the politicization of women's reproductive rights in an era in which the Republican Party is doubling down on denying women virtually all rights, when rape is viewed by a president candidate as "a gift from God," and workplace gender discrimination is tacitly approve of by the U.S. Supreme Court.

My initial reaction to the debacle was to go online and double my annual donation to Planned Parenthood. My second reaction was to become angry that in 2012 in the land of the free and home of the brave people are trying to dictate -- and succeeding to an alarming extent -- what my beloved, my daughter and my woman friends can and cannot do with their uteruses. My third reaction was to write this post, but I guess that is obvious.

What also is obvious is that there had been a time bombing ticking away at the Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation for some time and the explosion in the form of Komen terminating funding to Planned Parenthood for breast cancer screenings -- no not abortions or even birth control but for a disease that afflicts one in eight women -- is a result of CEO Nancy Brinker Komen coming out of the closet and revealing herself as just another heartless conservative who puts political considerations ahead of a woman's well being.

Koman was President Bush's chief protocol office and ambassador to Hungary, while Koman's board includes the general chairman of the virulently anti-choice Susan B. Anthony List and the wife of right-wing Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

The good news is that the backlash against Komen has been severe and I can only hope that it will be sustained.

Folks like myself have already more than covered Komen's annual Planned Parenthood funding with a Texas oil baron donating $250,000, at least one Komen affiliate has withdrawn its affiliation with mother ship, and Senator Barbara Boxer, among other politicians, were harshly critical of the move.

Dawn Laguens, an executive vice president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said that Komen’s money had over the years underwritten breast cancer screenings for 170,000 women, some of whose lives were saved as a result. She said she had no sympathy for Komen’s attempt to mollify donors by ending its relationship with a provider of women’s health services for whom abortion services are only a small part.

Komen denies that it pulled funding in response for right-wing reactionary politics. A spokeswoman explained tha the main factor in the decision was a new rule adopted by Komen that prohibits grants to organizations being investigated by local, state or federal authorities. Planned Parenthood, of course, has been repeatedly investigated at the behest of right wingers, which makes the excuse disingenuous and the decision even more deplorable.

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