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.


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

13 responses to “First They Came For Susan G. Komen …

  1. dolphin

    The concern trolls are wrong. Pressuring an organization to restore funding that helps thousands of women get screened for breast cancer does ALOT to help those with breast cancer. Early detection is key.

    • deep

      But why the Komen foundation? Why not the American Cancer Society which has a much better track record for actually make the lives of cancer patients better (instead of Komen, which is just cleverly disguised marketing).

      I don’t feel sorry for people who were duped into thinking they were helping things when they eat Yoplait. If you really wanna help there are so many better options than sleazy pink-labeled corporate products.

  2. Amen and amen, SB. And we can start this effort to keep these slugs out of our lives, our bedrooms and our BODIES by immediately sending contributions to Planned Parenthood, signing all the petitions to Komen we can find. And here across Tennessee we should immediately write, call, e-mail AND fax our Governor who caved to the ‘right-to-life boys’ and cut ALL State funding to PP, claiming he did not want tax dollars going to pay for “abortions performed at Planned Parenthood clinics”. Last year the GOP cut funding for the sex education classes performed at all public schools in TN. By its actions, our TN Government will cause an increase in TEEN pregnancies, and what’s worse, the increase in numbers of kids who have unprotected sex and getting SIDS and AIDS.

  3. They’re not going to restore funding. Not without firing all of the zealots who infiltrated their board and organization.

  4. you’ve inspired me to come out of my blog hiatus. i linked back as a courtesy.

    meanwhile, in a related matter, here in VA, our senate has just voted to pass a bill that requires an ultrasound before a woman can have an abortion. this is only the second time since the civil war that we’ve had a GOP legislature (both houses). plus, of course, we have the stellar governor mcmuffin.

    it’s a depressing time to be a woman, methinks.

    • Yeah too bad that “rectal exams and heart stress tests for penis pills” amendment didn’t pass. VA’s ultrasound bill sponsor said such things were necessary for health reasons before abortion services, after all. Not sure how she’d know that since she’s not a doctor and doctors said it was unnecessary but whatever. So surely if a man wants Viagra he needs to make sure he’s healthy enough too, right?

      • and yet women have been safely getting abortions without US for how many years…ah, since roe v. wade, methinks. it’s so nice that all of our elected representatives have medical degrees.

        on the bright side, this may mobilize people who were completely ambivalent about this election to prick up their ears a bit. i see what is happening downstate in the commonwealth and i fear it is a microcosm of what could be on the federal level if i don’t get myself and others out there to vote. yeah, maybe obama has not been my favorite president, but he’s still so much better than anyone the GOP has to offer at present.

      • deep

        Well, honestly, I think that there needs to be more information and more communication among doctors and their patients. It saddens me whenever I hear about someone who can just call up their doctor to get meds without ever even stepping foot in the doctor’s office.

        Of course, it really should be the doctors who are doing the talking not the governments mandating what should be said.

  5. Im going to borrow this and post it to my blog. I love how you worded this! I will be giving you credit. thank you for this article!

  6. Just stopping by via the FB Komen page, to say thanks.

  7. PPFA also provides contraception which goes a long way in preventing unwanted pregnancies and thus the need for abortion. They also provide testicular cancer screening and treatment for men. Excellent post.