Dear Komen for the Cure:
You stupid, cowardly, shit-eating, fucking asswipes need to go fuck yourselves with several rusty pitchforks™. It’s fucking pathetic of you to go after Planned Parenthood in this blatantly partisan manner. Take your fucking pink ribbon and stick it where the sun don’t shine!
Fuck you, assholes.
Pure rage. That was my immediate response to reading on the Twitter Machine that the Komen for the Cure charity had decided to stop funding Planned Parenthood. My esteemed overlady, ABL, has an excellent piece on the situation and the strong anti-choice views held by Karen Handel, the new VP of Public Policy of Komen (hint: she pals around with Sarah Palin.)
I will have more to say on that in a minute, but I need to give you some background first.
I’ve had abortion on the mind a lot lately Why? ’Coz I’m a liberal and that’s all we ever think about, at least according to some rightwing nutters. Actually, it’s because the RWNJ are passing laws right and right encroaching upon women’s right to choose. I have written about it several times in the past, and I have a hunch I will write about it several more times in the future. The piece I was contemplating writing was going to be about how I view abortion in general because I am pretty extreme on the issue, even for a liberal.
That piece will be shelved for another day, however, as I am seething with rage over this Komen/Planned Parenthood bullshit. There is so much bullshit involved, I need my rusty pitchfork™ so I can stab some motherfuckers in the cavities where their hearts would be – if they had hearts.
Some facts on the Komen for Cure Foundation, peppered with totally biased personal opinions
I have never been a fan of the Race for the Cure, and I will admit up front that some of it is because of aesthetics and old baggage. I loathe the color pink and the fact that it’s identified as a feminine color, and I hated it when professional sports teams wear pink as a way to show their support for breast cancer research. Well, that’s supposedly what they are doing, but in reality, it’s mostly a way to sell official pink-colored jerseys and shit. To paraphrase Tom Hanks in A League of Their Own, there is no pink in sports!
The real issue I have with the Race for the Cure, though, and other charity events like it is that so little of their money goes to what they actually purport to be advocating. In the case of the Komen Foundation, their express purpose is finding a cure for breast cancer. Yet, according to their fund report from 2009, only 17% of the money they received/earned went to funding cancer research. As the author in the aforementioned link notes, they did other worthwhile things with their money, but still. 17% for the actual cause of the charity? In addition, also according to the link, the Komen Foundation is notorious for suing any charity, no matter how small, who has ‘for the cure’ in its name. How is that effective use of donation money, really?
Moreover, while I appreciate that the Race allows people to come together for a cause and personally commit to doing something positive, I am a ‘donate the money directly’ kind of gal and skip the surrounding events. So, while I could theoretically appreciate the Race for the Cure, I never had the desire to join it.
In researching for this post, I discovered that the founder of the Susan G. Komen Foundation, Nancy G. Brinker (Komen’s sister) is a major GOP donor and an ex-Bush (W., not H.W.) ambassador. Board members include Jane Abraham who is the chair of the Susan B. Anthony List, a pro-forced-birth nonprofit organization, and Maureen Scalia. Yes, the wife of Justice Antonin Scalia.
As ABL pointed out in her post I linked above, the new Vice President of Public Policy, Karen Handel, also pro-forced-birth, ran explicitly on a anti-choice platform in her unsuccessful bid as governor of Georgia. She was seen palling around with Sarah Palin (who endorsed her), too, which is another negative in my book. However, it’s a quote from her on her own blog that makes me pause.
First, let me be clear, since I am pro-life, I do not support the mission of Planned Parenthood. During my time as Chairman of Fulton County, there were federal and state pass-through grants that were awarded to Planned Parenthood for breast and cervical cancer screening, as well as a “Healthy Babies Initiative.” The grant was authorized, regulated, administered and distributed through the State of Georgia. Because of the criteria, regulations and parameters of the grant, Planned Parenthood was the only eligible vendor approved to meet the state criteria. Additionally, none of the services in any way involved abortions or abortion-related services. In fact, state and federal law prohibits the use of taxpayer funds for abortions or abortion related services and I strongly support those laws. Since grants like these are from the state I’ll eliminate them as your next Governor.
ABL tackled the first part I bolded, but I wanted to focus on the last few sentences. Handel acknowledged that PP received a grant for breast and cervical cancer screening and that there are state and federal laws that prohibit PP from cavalierly applying that money to abortions. Yet, in her last sentence, also bolded by me, she said that she would eliminate such grants, anyway. Why? Because Planned Parenthood! Evil! Abortions! ACORN! Head ‘asploding now! Must run around like headless chicken!
Planned Parenthood is evil because. It doesn’t matter that they used the money for cancer screening. They must be eliminated because THEY ARE PURE EVIL! That’s her mentality, and no amount of reasoning will change her mind. She brought that thinking with her when she went to work for the Komen Foundation. So, it’s no fucking surprise that Komen cut off funding to Planned Parenthood. Does it seem blatant and tone-deaf? Well, yes, but again, referring to the above quote, many pro-forced birthers are used to talking amongst themselves and don’t realize how out-of-touch they sound outside their bubbles.
Plus, they thought their purported reason of not giving money to any organization under investigation would cover their ass, no matter how lame and insipid that explanation was. Linda Hirshman from The Atlantic deftly destroys this reasoning, explaining that it’s nothing more than a witch hunt. Pay special attention to the last paragraph of her post for something the Komen Foundation should be doing rather than taking monies away from Planned Parenthood.
What is Planned Parenthood and why all this matters
Planned Parenthood is the bogeyman of the right because they provide abortions, period. To hear the pro-forced-birthers tell it, that’s all Planned Parenthood does 24/7. They probably even have a drive-through abortion window, y’all! Buy one get one free! But, we all know that despite what a certain chickenshit senator from Arizona claimed, abortions is NOT 90% of what PP does.
Here is the breakdown of how Planned Parenthood spent its money in 2010. 38% of their funding went to STD testing. 33.5% went to contraception-related services. 14.5% went to cancer screening and prevention. OTHER women’s health services clocked in at 10.4%. Abortion? 3%! The only thing that had less funding was “other” at .6%. 3 fucking percent, people – none of that from taxpayer money, remember because we can’t pay for a legal medical procedure, apparently.
From Planned Parenthood via the Twitter Machine, in five years, the money they received from the Komen Foundation enabled them to do almost 170,000 clinical breast exams and 6,400 mammogram referrals out of the 4 million plus and 70,000 respectively. Tom Levenson of The Inverse Square Blog and a front-pager at Balloon Juice crunches the number to see what the loss of such funding, assuming it won’t be replaced, means.
You want to know why the targeting of Planned Parenthood pisses me off so fucking much? Well, there are many reasons, but a primary one is that Planned Parenthood serves many low-income neighborhoods. From the same link that discloses how their money is spent, Planned Parenthood notes that 76% of their clients have incomes at or below 150% of the federal poverty level, emphasis mine. They provide services at low costs and are often the only option for low-income people.
You know what else? Socioeconomic and race both have an impact on how a woman fares with breast cancer, starting from if she even gets diagnosed. African American women are less likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer, but more likely to die from it. So, once again, low-income women and women of color get screwed because of some rightwing purity ideology bullshit.
You want to know why else Planned Parenthood matters? Well, here’s a Tumblr that will tell you exactly why they do! It’s called Planned Parenthood Saved Me.
The Komen Foundation itself recognized that PP did yeoman’s work for women of color, poor women, and other disadvantaged women and said as long as PP used the money for breast cancer-related services, Komen would continue to fund said services.
But, that’s so 2011, y’all. And, after an intense campaign by pro-forced-birthers to get them to stop funding Planned Parenthood and with the inclusion of rabidly pro-forced birther, Karen Handel, there could only be one ending – this one.
The aftermath – and my promise
The Komen Foundation is reeling from all the negative publicity. They and their supporters are tweeting about how typical of a ‘pro-abortion’ group to turn this into a political thing, as if they weren’t being political about it in the first place. Oh, and I think they actually believed they could do this with little fanfare and no pushback. Snicker. I must admit to a certain vicious schadenfreude at the thought of them frantically spin, spin, spinning this as best they can.
It’s been reported that Planned Parenthood has received $400,000 in donations since the announcement that Komen pulled its funding. Komen gave PP roughly $680,000 last year, which means we still have a way to go to match the lost monies. My angry black overlady linked to the Planned Parenthood emergency breast cancer fund, and I urge you to donate if you can. If you can’t? Volunteer for PP – they always need help. Most importantly, we have to remember that this was the end result of a coordinated attack by the anti-choicers. As my friend, @vc_three said on the Twitter Machine, they. never. stop. The difference now is that the anti-choicers don’t care what the collateral damage is, if they ever did.
So. My initial feeling of white-hot, intense rage that I wrote about waaay up at the top of this post? It’s changed into a cold, determined fury that goes something like this:
Dear Komen Foundation:
You have made it clear that you care more about your image and your ideology than actual women. You are now playing the victim, accusing Planned Parenthood and its supporters of making this political. You’re fucking right it’s political – it’s also personal.
You have every right to pull your funding from Planned Parenthood for whatever bullshit reason you choose. In return, we who support Planned Parenthood have every right to not give you one red cent and to convince everyone we know to stop Racing for the Cure as well.
You want a fight? You fucking got one. I have watched as the pro-forced birthers have steadily chipped away at laws supporting choice, and this is the fucking last straw for me. I and my side didn’t start this – but I sure as hell am going to do everything in my power to make sure assholes like you no longer matter. Is that a threat, you ask? No, it’s a fucking promise.