Thank you to the many people that helped to inspire this week’s BWA with their outrage. A special thanks to Cecile Richards, Sara Swain, and Voice of the Trailer.
It’s always disappointing when an organization that should be seen as an ally and champion stumbles. This week’s BWA winner managed worse than that with a stumble that turns into a full-fledged fall from grace. The Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation has announced that it will stop supporting lifesaving breast cancer screening for low-income and underserved women at Planned Parenthood health centers. Over the past five years, Komen funds have enabled Planned Parenthood health centers to provide nearly 170,000 clinical breast exams and referrals for more than 6,400 mammograms. Alas, who cares if poor women have breast cancer?
These cancer detection and prevention programs saved the lives of women who often had nowhere else to turn for care. Women of color, minorities, the poor, and the transgender community depend especially heavily on services like those provided by Planned Parenthood. Komen for the Cure’s decision has a perhaps accidental but nonetheless potent impact on the most needy members of our society. Badly done!
The reason given for the decision is baffling, shallow, and hypocritical. Bowing to pressure from right-wing groups, the Foundation said that it will cease the funding because of a policy prohibiting contributions a grant applicant or any of its affiliates if it is “currently under a local, state or federal formal investigation for financial or administrative impropriety or fraud.” This refers to the Congressional witch-hunt launched by Rep. Cliff Stearns (R – FL) who has stated unapologetically that his whole mission is to destroy Planned Parenthood. Even worse for Komen, this policy seems only to apply to money that flows outward. They accept huge partnership donations from Bank of America, a corporation which is currently the subject of at least five state and federal investigations. How’s that for self-serving hypocrisy?
The Foundation is in desperate spin mode as more people react with justifiable outrage at this decision. The negative comments on their Facebook page are mounting up faster than the Foundation can manage them. Dozens of major donors are encouraging people to give their money to other cancer charities unless Komen reverses itself; New York Mayor Bloomberg gave Planned Parenthood $250,000 to help defray the loss. The Executive Director of Komen’s Los Angeles chapter has resigned in protest. Komen founder and CEO is spewing alternate explanations on every available news channel at a speed that would make Herman Cain dizzy.
Let’s hope this pressure has the desired effect: the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation must reverse this deeply flawed decision and recognize that pressure from the right will never serve the interests of American women. Until then, anyone interested in funding cancer research and prevention should look for another home for their dollars. At this point, I fear the Komen Foundation is so utterly corrupt that it is now beyond repair.