I bet you all know what the Susan G. Komen for the Cure is – only one of the biggest breast cancer charities, the very avatar of “pink ribbon culture,” not to mention a fund raising powerhouse that pulled in over $400 million in 2010. The organization has an active affiliate in St. Louis, which sponsors a yearly “race for the cure” along with other fundraising events.
Today the organization added another distinction to its roster. It betrayed its mission for political purposes. Specifically, Komen succumbed to political pressure and cut its ties to Planned Parenthood, effectively letting us know just where Komen’s concern for women’s welfare stops. Planned Parenthood will loose hundreds of thousands of dollars that was used primarily for breast cancer screenings for low-income women.
Komen claims that its bylaws prohibit partnerships with any organization being investigated by “local, state or federal authorities,” and Planned Parenthood is currently being subjected to a politically motivated witch-hunt conducted by anti-choice zealot, Rep. Cliff Sterns (R-Florida). However, lest you think that poor little Komen had no choice, Think Progress‘ Marie Diamond points out that:
Komen’s new Senior Vice President of Public Policy, Karen Handel, not only has a long anti-choice history, but pledged to eliminate grants for Planned Parenthood to provide breast and cervical cancer screenings when she ran for governor of Georgia in 2010.
Diamond notes further that:
Since anti-abortion activists and their Republican allies ratcheted up their crusade against Planned Parenthood last year, they’ve targeted any and all allies of the organization to try to make inroads, including the cancer charity. Planned Parenthood provides birth control, STD testing, and cancer screenings to low-income women.
Score one for the zealots.
So you wanna lob a few return volleys? Contact Koman (parent organization here; St. Louis affiliate here) and let them know you think their callous disregard for the welfare of low-income women stinks and that you will remember, when the donation requests come around, that Susan G. Koman for the Cure was willing to put politics above their mission to help women. If you feel the same way about this that I do – which is to say, furious and betrayed – you might also let them know that you are giving your donation to Planned Parenthood. I’m going to do so. If you’re really steamed, you can donate to Planned Parenthood right here.
And lest you think you can hold your nose and continue to support Komen because it does really good stuff, just let me point out that there are lots of breast cancer charities that do good work. None of us need to be complicit with Komen.