If you’re pissed off about Komen’s “Race For The Cure” withdrawing funding for Planned Parenthood’s cancer screening program, then heads-up: the anti-choice zealots have been pressuring the American Cancer Society’s “Relay For Life” in precisely the same way for a few years now.
In trolling through some anti-choice news sites I saw lots of anti-Relay For Life propaganda, stuff like this opinion piece from last April, attacking a four-year-old grant ACS made to Iowa’s Planned Parenthood for a smoking-cessation program and slamming its support for embryonic stem cell research.
The good news is that the Komen Foundation’s move has elicited such a strong, negative reaction that any other national group receiving the same kind of orchestrated pressure will think twice before caving to the zealots.
This has been nothing short of a PR fiasco for the Komen Foundation. Now we learn that the move was so controversial inside the organization when it was first announced internally back in December that their top public health official resigned in protest.
And now, as I predicted yesterday, corporate sponsors have been dragged into the mess. It’s unfortunate but this is what happens when you decide to politicize something that should never, ever be political. Women’s health issues are not political pawns to be used to advance a religious agenda, and yet that is what it has become.
Race For The Cure sponsor Energizer (of the cute pink bunny symbol) has now posted this statement on its Facebook page:
Like many of you, yesterday we learned about the decision of Susan G. Komen for the Cure to discontinue its funding to Planned Parenthood. Energizer has made donations to Susan G. Komen for the Cure for several years designed to help further the research needed to find a cure for breast cancer. We are constantly evaluating the charitable organizations with whom we partner to ensure they are a good fit for our brand and consumers. We appreciate you taking the time to share your feelings about yesterday’s news.
Yoplait Yogurt, one of Komen’s “Million Dollar Elite,” spent yesterday Tweeting this message to angry consumers:
Yoplait was not involved in decisions to change the Susan G Komen grant process. Q’s/concerns should be directed to Komen.
Yeah, that’s nice but sorry, you’re in it now. No one says you or American Airlines or Ford or Energizer or any other sponsor was consulted, but rule of thumb in a corporate relationship is that if you’re trying to score social responsibility points, you better pick the right partner. And when your partner decides picking sides in the culture wars is more important than their stated mission, then you’re gonna be stuck dealing with the fallout. Sorry, that’s life in the big city.
This isn’t over, not by a long shot. Because the religious zealots do not stop, we know this. First it was Komen and next it will be the American Cancer Society and after that it’s going to be the March of Dimes, and Kiwanis Clubs and Rotary Clubs and the YWCA. Think I’m joking? I’m not. Because this isn’t about abortion, or breast cancer, or even being pro-life. This is about destroying Planned Parenthood, anything it may have touched, anything it may have looked at — even in the remotest sense. This is how zealots work.
I’m sure lots of folks are hoping this storm will pass — folks at Race For The Cure, folks at Yoplait and Energizer and the other sponsors. And I really hope it doesn’t pass, because this is just the tip of the iceberg. So we need to show them that there are real-world consequences for making women’s health a pawn in a sick political game. We need to make caving to the zealots an even worse option than ignoring them.
Yes it’s sad. I can hear the concern-trolls already, hell I’ve seen them on the blogs and social media sites. “This doesn’t do anything to help those with breast cancer,” etc. etc. I know.
You know what’s really sad? Komen’s action hasn’t stopped one abortion from occurring. Not one. But it could stop thousands of women from getting cancer screenings. And similar actions targeting other organizations will stop those good works, too. So time to nip this shit in the bud, while people are paying attention.
So yes, it’s sad, but it’s a fight they started.