Tag Archives: Planned Parenthood

Komen Fights More than just Cancer

3 Feb

As the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation steps deeper and deeper into a steaming pile of its own bullsh*t, consider that all of this is a very calculated political move. What this is is a grave betrayal of Komen’s mission statement:

OUR PROMISE: To save lives and end breast cancer forever by empowering people, ensuring quality care for all and energizing science to find the cures.

Planned Parenthood is under attack from the right because it has the audacity to provide clinical medical services exclusively to women. Most of Planned Parenthood’s mission has to do with reproductive health and services, and yes, 3% of what they do involves abortion services. Because it performs legal, safe abortions in a clinical setting, and because the Republican platform prefers that abortions be done like they were in the old days – by quacks with hangers in alleyways, or abroad – Planned Parenthood must be destroyed.

But Komen and its former funding of PP had nothing whatsoever to do with abortions or even contraception. That’s how we know this is not principled, but political. How is Komen empowering people or saving lives if it de-funds breast exam and mammography services at Planned Parenthood?  The Angry Black Lady sums it up nicely: 

In a press release today, Planned Parenthood announced that The Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation will no longer provide Planned Parenthood the more than half million dollars in grant funds which Planned Parenthood uses to provide breast health education, screenings, and referrals for mammograms.

Turns out that Komen’s new Vice-President of Public Policy, Karen Handel, is a Forced Birther, and even ran for governor of Georgia on a platform of defunding Planned Parenthood.  Thus, it seems that Komen for the Cure, the purpose of which is to help women, has been taken hostage by Karen Handel and her right-wing Forced Birth views which undermine women and women’s reproductive choices.  In her own words, “Since I am pro-life [anti-choice] I do not support the mission of Planned Parenthood.”

The mission of Planned Parenthood? Lady, what are you talking about? Themission of Planned Parenthood is to provide health services, including breast cancer screening and education to primarily poor women who otherwise cannot not afford such services.  That is 90% of what Planned Parenthood does. The “mission” of Planned Parenthood aligns with the “mission” of Komen for the Cure — or, at least, it did.  Abortion comprises approximately 3% of the services Planned Parenthood provides.

Furthermore, just as the Hyde Amendment prohibits federal funds from being used for abortion services, I presume that the Komen grant money previously provided to Planned Parenthood is used specifically for breast-health, and not for abortion.

This is part of the Republican effort to do to Planned Parenthood what they did to ACORN – destroy any foundation that exists to help the poor obtain some sort of services or rights. Exactly correct. When Komen isn’t busy pimping out the color pink, advocating against legislation to provide free breast and cervical cancer screening, and trademarking, then aggressively litigating any use of the term “for the cure”, it’s plotting to disassociate itself from Planned Parenthood for nakedly political reasons.

Komen’s official line on the reason for cutting off funds to Planned Parenthood was a newly-instituted rule that declared that the organization was not to give funds to organizations under investigation at the local, state, or federal level. According to Jeffrey Goldberg at The Atlantic, former employees of Komen told him that the rule was, in fact, designed to single out Planned Parenthood.

If the new policy is to de-fund organizations that are under some form of investigation, then we ought to all eagerly await the imminent withdrawal of Komen’s $7.5 million for the health clinic at Penn State – an institution that is under administrative investigation arising out of charges of child rape. Komen’s new Vice President in charge of Public Policy is right-wing anti-Planned Parenthood activist Karen Handel, who re-tweeted (then quickly deleted) this:

The backlash has been swift and pointed. People are abandoning Komen in droves, and Planned Parenthood has already more than made up the lost funding through donations. 

There are thousands of national, regional, and local anti-cancer charities out there, but there’s only one Planned Parenthood. If you divest your women’s health organization from providing cancer screening for the poor and the underprivileged, you risk painting yourself unnecessarily into a political corner.  Komen may now become a sweetheart of the right-wing, but it will have long ago stopped fulfilling its mission. 

Komen isn’t so much a charity as it is a business, and it’s now firmly positioned itself as a business that’s right-wing-friendly and a footsoldier in the culture war. Breast cancer doesn’t discriminate based on race, political affiliation, or voting history. That’s why Komen politicizing itself so blatantly is so shockingly sad and unnecessary. 

The Morning Grumpy – 2/1/2012

1 Feb

All the news and views fit to consume during your morning grumpy.

 

1. Mitt Romney, “I’m not concerned with the very poor“.

Under Romney’s proposed reductions in federal spending, it’s likely that Medicaid would be cut by $153 billion by 2016, the food stamp program would have to throw 10 million low-income people off the rolls, and a key program supporting poor children’s health would face cumulative cuts of $946 billion through 2021. As ThinkProgress’ Igor Volsky has said that Romney is living in a “dream world” when he claims his Medicaid cuts won’t hurt the poor.

And Romney’s tax plan suggests his focus is really on the wealthy, as it includes massive giveaways to upper-income earners and investors, while doing almost nothing for middle- and low-income Americans.

The Republican party, 2012!

“I believe that, as long as there is plenty, poverty is evil.” – Robert Kennedy

2. Rick “Santorum” Santorum finally gets the Bad Lip Reading treatment on YouTube. “We all leave skidders”

Here are some links to previous Bad Lip Reading episodes featuring Rick Perry, Herman Cain, Michele Bachmann, Ron Paul, Mitt Romney, and Barack Obama. Bachmann’s is still the best, primarily because it doesn’t sound much different from what she says every day.

3. Does spending extensive amounts of time online alter our ability to learn and influence our happiness?

A study from Stanford University, published Wednesday, wrestles with a new question: How is technology affecting their happiness and emotional development?

The answer, in the peer-reviewed study of the online habits of girls ages 8 to 12, is that those who say they spend considerable amounts of time using multimedia describe themselves in ways that suggest they are less happy and less socially comfortable than peers who say they spend less time on screens.

The study has some holes, but was generally validated through the peer review process and will serve as a precursor to further research.  I respect technology because of its awesome power. The tools and the information it brings can be overwhelming and one has to measure how much one consumes in any particular time period. Too much and you become the socially inept “Did you read it?” characters from Portlandia; too little and you can find yourself both culture and information deprived. It is a delicate balance. Brian Lam at The Wirecutter expands on this idea.

It’s the perfect time, with this abundance of pages to read and videos to watch, to consider Clay Johnson’s book, The Information Diet. In his words, the book is about “How the new, information-abundant society is suffering consequences from poor information consumption habits” The book also outlines a plan for metering the kinds of content that we consume, as we do with food diets that need to be balanced between junk food and healthier food that initially taste worse but will make us healthier and happier.

Informationally, we are becoming lard-asses. In the pageview and ratings driven media economy, too much of the content these days is designed to be just like junk food to quickly boost quantifiable viewership. If you make content that is the intellectual equivalent of gummy bears, your site will appear to grow quickly. Advertisers reward size, and growing fast is expected in most places I’ve seen. Last month I visited Xeni Jardin, my blog-sister from Boing Boing and she said to me, “Only cancer and bullshit websites grow fast.” It’s happened to TV with reality shows, radio with clear channel, and it’s happening to words online.

A couple of pieces worthy of your time in the information hurricane we find ourselves in each day.

4. The Susan G. Komen Foundation has severed ties with Planned Parenthood in response to pressure from right wing Christian groups.

Komen has a long history of providing funding to various Planned Parenthood affiliates for such services as manual breast exams and referrals for mammograms and biopsies to check suspicious lumps for cancer. Although that money is not used for abortions, the Komen Foundation may have yielded to demands from antiabortion groups to sever its ties to Planned Parenthood.

According to Planned Parenthood, its centers performed more than 4 million breast exams over the past five years, including nearly 170,000 as a result of Komen grants. Those funds were specifically targeted for use in lower-income areas where women lack insurance options and/or information about the need for cancer screening. Now, those women have even more limited options.

You might also remember that the Komen Foundation also began suing small groups and organizations who used the term “For The Cure” during their fundraising efforts for cancer research.

So far, Komen has identified and filed legal trademark oppositions against more than a hundred of these Mom and Pop charities, including Kites for a Cure, Par for The Cure, Surfing for a Cure and Cupcakes for a Cure–and many of the organizations are too small and underfunded to hold their ground.

“It happened to my family,” said Roxanne Donovan, whose sister runs Kites for a Cure, a family kite-flying event that raises money for lung cancer research. “They came after us ferociously with a big law firm. They said they own ‘cure’ in a name and we had to stop using it, even though we were raising money for an entirely different cause.”

Komen’s General Counsel, Jonathan Blum told HuffPost that legal fees comprise a “very small part” of Komen’s budget, but according to Komen’s financial statements, such costs add up to almost a million dollars a year in donor funds.

My support for the Komen Foundation is now over. No more donations, no more ribbons, no more sponsoring walkers, nothing. My money will go to local foundations and Planned Parenthood.

Fact Of The Day: Author of The Satanic Bible, Anton LaVey, says the tome was “just Ayn Rand’s philosophy, with ceremony and ritual added“. Good to know.

Quote Of The Day: “Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration.” – Abraham Lincoln

Song Of The Day: “Winter Winds” by Mumford & Sons

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Republicans v. Women, Immigrants, Middle Class, et al.

21 Feb

Over the past two years, the Democratic Party attempted, often fecklessly, to implement changes that would largely help strengthen and rebuild the middle class, while simultaneously inheriting an epic recession that came within a hair of becoming a full-fledged depression.  Even now, the economic recovery is limp; (i.e., we haven’t yet discovered which bubble comes next).

Over the last month or so, the Republican Party has instituted an all-out assault on abortion rights, contraception, health care, health insurance coverage, and is intent on rolling back even the modest achievements of the 111th Congress to ensure that their superrich benefactors are protected from any attempt to make the lives of the middle and lower classes better. The assault on reproductive rights is just the vicious icing on the malicious cake.

In Wisconsin, the Republican governor has decided that “teachers” and “nurses” are replaceable commodities, and that they ought not have the right to collectively fight for their rights as employees of the state. (No such attempt has been made to dilute the collective bargaining rules for police or fire employees).

Add some xenophobia to the mixture, and it’s almost intolerably toxic.

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I think the country has lost its mind, and it’s for this reason that even small victories – like winning NY-26 – are critically important to ensure that America works not just for millionaires and billionaires, but also for average working people.

A century ago, the world’s left was influenced by a long-winded, dull, wrongheaded, hypocritical Russian philosopher.  Now, it’s the American right.

(You may have noticed that comments are off. Feel free to email me your thoughts.)