Category Archives: Planned Parenthood

Rep. Marsha Blackburn: Worst Person In The World

Hello people of Middle Tennessee! What horrible thing did Marsha Blackburn do today? Actually, it’s two horrible things. First, she voted “No” on Superstorm Sandy relief. Yes, that’s right, you’d think after the 2010 floods that decimated Nashville (including parts of her own district) she’d have learned a thing or two about why people need this legislation. It

[…] allows FEMA to temporarily increase the National Flood Insurance program’s borrowing limit by $9.7 billion….

FEMA, shmeema! Who needs it! Well, actually, Tennessee needed it, and Blackburn had no problem accepting federal aid when her state got flooded. But the Club For Growth says no, and they seem to be calling the shots here. Other Club For Growth lapdogs from the Tennessee delegation include Scott DesJarlais, Jimmy Duncan, Stephen Fincher and Phil Roe. Why? Because they’re assholes. Also, free market and gummint bad and blahbeddy blah. Hypocrites.

However, Blackburn did put forth a bill to defund Planned Parenthood today.

Yes, you read that right. Apparently not offering aid to families who lost everything in Superstorm Sandy while defunding a provider of healthcare to low-income women is the new “pro-life” position.

Marsha Blackburn, I hearby declare you a horrible human being.

[UPDATE]:

Looks like all the Tennessee Sandy “nays” who were in office in May 2010 begged for FEMA aid for their own districts.

What horrible, wretched people. Federal disaster relief for me but not for thee? Of course not. Sickening.

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Filed under Planned Parenthood, Rep. Marsha Blackburn, Tennessee

“Karl? Who’s Karl?”

God, when will Karl Rove just fucking go away?

“We’re so sorry,” said Nancy. “We’re so sorry. But we just have to reverse course.” […]

Nancy’s reply stunned me. “Karen, I’ve talked to a lot of people. And even Karl says we have to backtrack. There’s just no other way.”

“Karl? Who’s Karl?”

She looked at me strangely as if I should know exactly who she was talking about. She said, “Karl Rove!”

“Nancy” would be Susan G. Komen for the Cure founder and CEO Nancy Brinker; “Karen” is Komen’s former senior vice president for public policy.

The quote is from Karen Handel’s forthcoming book “Planned Bullyhood,” where she portrays Planned Parenthood as an all-powerful group of thugs and reveals such juicy tidbits as angry phone calls to Brinker from Florida Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Oh, boo fucking hoo. I don’t know if this story is true or not but if it is, Wasserman Schultz gets my thanks. Because Wasserman Schultz is a breast cancer survivor. So yeah, she has a personal interest making sure women have access to breast cancer screenings, even at places like Planned Parenthood. I would’ve made some pissed off phone calls to Nancy Brinker if I had her direct line, too.

But I’m getting waaay off topic here. No, there’s a lot astonishing here but we can start with the degree to which the Komen organization was (is?) so closely connected to Republican Party insiders and operatives. To the point where they back off a policy because “even Karl said so.”

I mean, I had no idea. I wonder if any of Komen’s corporate sponsors knew they were getting involved with a partisan political organization disguised by breast cancer advocacy?

What’s really amusing is seeing the reaction from the anti-choice crowd. Shocked — shocked! — to discover they have been useful idiots for the Republican Party, trotted out when politically expedient and told to shut up when they start hurting the party’s image.

Suckers.

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Filed under abortion, Planned Parenthood

Women Are Not An Interest Group

… we are half of this country and yes, we are perfectly capable of making our own healthcare decisions. Thank you, President Obama.

[UPDATE]:

Last night a homemade bomb was detonated at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Grand Chute, WI. Nope, no war on women here.

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Filed under birth control, healthcare, Planned Parenthood, President Barack Obama, women's rights

Ding Dong

Karen Handel has resigned.

And in her resignation letter, she doubles-down on her ludicrous claim that defunding Planned Parenthood wasn’t political but rather in keeping with a new, board-approved grant criteria. This has already been shown to be a lie, based on the dozens of organizations receiving Komen funds who are under investigation for one reason or another.

She has basically thrown the organization under the bus: not a good way to make a public exit from an organization dependent on having a good public image.

So now there’s a hilarious Twitter hashtag, #Karenhandelsnextjob. Some days I love the internets.

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Filed under abortion, Planned Parenthood, women's rights

Nancy Brinker Thinks You’re Stupid


And a whole lot of us are (or were), including Forbes (check the headline), CNN (check the lead), and a whole bunch of local news outlets, like Philly’s CBS affiliate.

I confess, I was away from my computer when I first heard the news. And when I did get to my laptop it took me a few moments to figure out that nothing has changed at all except the spin. Komen is still playing politics with women’s healthcare — specifically, poor women’s healthcare. They didn’t back down, they doubled down.

Here’s Brinker’s statement:

We want to apologize to the American public for recent decisions that cast doubt upon our commitment to our mission of saving women’s lives.

The events of this week have been deeply unsettling for our supporters, partners and friends and all of us at Susan G. Komen. We have been distressed at the presumption that the changes made to our funding criteria were done for political reasons or to specifically penalize Planned Parenthood. They were not.

Our original desire was to fulfill our fiduciary duty to our donors by not funding grant applications made by organizations under investigation. We will amend the criteria to make clear that disqualifying investigations must be criminal and conclusive in nature and not political. That is what is right and fair.

Our only goal for our granting process is to support women and families in the fight against breast cancer. Amending our criteria will ensure that politics has no place in our grant process. We will continue to fund existing grants, including those of Planned Parenthood, and preserve their eligibility to apply for future grants, while maintaining the ability of our affiliates to make funding decisions that meet the needs of their communities.

It is our hope and we believe it is time for everyone involved to pause, slow down and reflect on how grants can most effectively and directly be administered without controversies that hurt the cause of women. We urge everyone who has participated in this conversation across the country over the last few days to help us move past this issue. We do not want our mission marred or affected by politics – anyone’s politics.

Starting this afternoon, we will have calls with our network and key supporters to refocus our attention on our mission and get back to doing our work. We ask for the public’s understanding and patience as we gather our Komen affiliates from around the country to determine how to move forward in the best interests of the women and people we serve.

We extend our deepest thanks for the outpouring of support we have received from so many in the past few days and we sincerely hope that these changes will be welcomed by those who have expressed their concern.

Oh, fuck you. So you’re doing what you were already doing, while making Planned Parenthood “eligible” to apply for grants in the future. I’m guessing that promise and $5 will buy me a latte at Starbuck’s. Furthermore, their affiliates will be able to ditch Planned Parenthood, which I think is new. Not only is this not a reversal, but it’s the worst sort of message manipulation, carefully crafted so as to be misconstrued by those (like me) who didn’t initially read the statement, just the reporting on it.

Bah.

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Filed under abortion, culture wars, Media, Planned Parenthood

Planned Parenthood Fights Back

[UPDATE]:

More details over at The Tennessean. The grant was funded by the Centers for Disease Control so yeah, Tennessee Republicans are being their usual douchey, reactionary selves:

Two Tennessee Planned Parenthood groups sued the state Thursday for denying the nonprofit more than $150,000 in grant money to participate in programs funded by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Planned Parenthood wants a federal judge to intervene and asked for an injunction against the state.

In the lawsuit, Planned Parenthood accuses the state of arbitrarily denying the funding in December and this month — without providing a reason — after approving it in August. Planned Parenthood also accuses the state of violating the organization’s First Amendment rights and patients’ rights by restricting access to non-abortion services based solely on an aversion to abortion.

——————————————

Unrelated to Komen, but today Planned Parenthood filed a federal lawsuit against the State of Tennessee:

News today from Tennessee in the political jihad against Planned Parenthood: The state Health Department has yanked away grants for HIV and STD prevention programs from the nonprofit in Nashville and Memphis, and that’s drawn a federal lawsuit from Planned Parenthood.

Planned Parenthood won the funding last summer in a competitive bidding process. But in December, the state dropped the contracts without giving any reason. According to Planned Parenthood, state officials stopped the services without finding a new provider. As the nonprofit’s Nashville CEO Jeff Teague points out, young women and men are the casualties here.

So, Tennessee’s Republican legislature is so pro-life, they prove it by pulling funding from STD and HIV prevention programs serving poor people. Brilliant!

The bugaboo for conservatives has always, always been that abortion services are just 3% of what Planned Parenthood does. So in their sick, narcissistic way, the right-wing zealots are trying to turn that into 100% by making it absolutely impossible for Planned Parenthood to do anything else. They’re attempting to transform Planned Parenthood into the caricature they’ve always told their cult of followers it is (for an example of that, check the comment thread at the Pith link. There are a couple of doozies.)

And this is the modern “pro-life” position. So lost in the weeds of fundamentalist ideology that they’ve forgotten what they’re supposed to be fighting for in the first place.

I almost feel sorry for these people. Again: this is about one thing, crushing Planned Parenthood. Nothing else. So, to the zealots: don’t delude yourselves into thinking you’re part of some bigger mission or cause. You’re not. You’re trying to put out of business a healthcare provider to poor people. Jesus would not be amused.

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Filed under abortion, Planned Parenthood, Tennessee, women's rights

First They Came For Susan G. Komen …

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.

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Filed under abortion, Planned Parenthood, religious right, women's rights