Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Susan G. Komen Ends Funding to Planned Parenthood due to Political Pressure from the Right

UPDATE:
Planned Parenthood recevied $650,000 in 24 hours--almost as much as last year's Susan G. Komen funding.  (Source: WaPo)


Apparently Susan G. Komen has been planning this move for a while:
Sources with direct knowledge of the Koman decision-making process said recent policies were adopted specifically to cut funding to Planned Parenthood. (Source: The Atlantic)


The cold (hearted) war against women in this country continues

The latest salvo against women? Susan G. Komen, the largest breast cancer charity in the country, terminated its breast cancer screening grant assistance to Planned Parenthood. According to Think Progress:
Planned Parenthood Federation of America today expressed deep disappointment in response to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation’s decision to stop funding breast cancer prevention, screenings and education at Planned Parenthood health centersAnti-choice groups in America have repeatedly threatened the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation for partnering with Planned Parenthood to provide these lifesaving cancer screenings and news articles suggest that the Komen Foundation ultimately succumbed to these pressures
“We are alarmed and saddened that the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation appears to have succumbed to political pressure. Our greatest desire is for Komen to reconsider this policy and recommit to the partnership on which so many women count,” said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America.
In the last few weeks, the Komen Foundation has begun notifying local Planned Parenthood programs that their breast cancer initiatives will not be eligible for new grants (beyond existing agreements or plans).
New Race for the Cure VP, Anti-Planned Parenthood Republican
What's interesting about this is that the woman who is now in charge of public policy, Karen Handel, is a former Secretary of State in Georgia who a) was accused of voter registration misconduct and b) had indicated that she was against funding Planned Parenthood. Again, Think Progress:
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.
According to America Blog:
Handel Campaigned for Governor in 2010 on Anti-Choice and Anti-Planned Parenthood Platform. In a statement on her campaign website, Handel wrote, “I am staunchly and unequivocally pro-life. I believe in the sanctity and inherent dignity of human life, and I will be a pro-life governor who will work tirelessly to promote a culture of life in Georgia…. I believe that each and every unborn child has inherent dignity, that every abortion is a tragedy, and that government has a role, along with the faith community, in encouraging women to choose life in even the most difficult of circumstances…. since I am pro-life, I do not support the mission of Planned Parenthood.” [Karen Handel Campaign Blog, 7/15/10]
Did she help shape this new policy? Hard to know, but the evidence isn't good. It's also quite telling that, as Secretary of State, she was accused of fraudulent behavior by, among others, republicans. According to the democratic candidate for Georgia Secretary of State:

Former Sec. of State of GA
Never Liked Planned Parenthood (or democratic rights).
Ms. Handel’s mishandling of the Secretary of State’s office has gone way beyond incompetence. She crossed the misconduct line by inappropriately using this office to both foster her own political ambitions and to use her authority in the elections oversight process for her party’s political benefit. By stepping down, she not only provides herself with the much needed “flexibility” to continue raising campaign contributions for her gubernatorial campaign during the upcoming Legislative Session, but she also “ducks and dodges” any needs to be totally nonpartisan while conducting fair, objective and competent election oversight duties.
You want some objective analysis of her conduct of the functions of this office? 
• She was slapped down three times by the courts, including a unanimous
decision by the State Supreme Court, for wrongly attempting to remove a Democratic candidate from the 2008 ballot. 
• She was slammed by both the Bush and Obama Justice Departments for attempting to purge voters from being eligible to vote by using voter registration flagging tactics, which unfairly targeted “certain demographics”. 
• During the 2009 legislative session, she was even rebuked by a member of the State Election Board (who also happened to be the Republican Party legal counsel) for going too far in her support of S.B. 86, a bill designed to institute unfair “proof of citizenship” requirements and thereby thwart, yet again, the registration efforts of voters belonging to “certain demographics”. 
• And let’s not forget, she broke the central pledge of her 2006 campaign, to immediately install a verifiable paper trail for the electronic voting machines.
Goodbye Ms. Palin……ah Ms. Handel.
What, exactly, does Planned Parenthood Do? 
The thing is, Planned Parenthood provides the only choice of healthcare for many poor women who have no other access to healthcare. And, of course, it's a myth that they provide mainly abortion assistance--a myth propagated by the very people who apparently have quite a bit of influence on Susan G. Komen. As planned parenthood explains:
We are a trusted health care provider, an informed educator, a passionate advocate, and a global partner helping similar organizations around the world. Planned Parenthood delivers vital reproductive health care, sex education, and information to millions of women, men, and young people worldwide.
Facts about Planned Parenthood
Source: Planned Parenthood

Take action.

Donate Money. Planned Parenthood is trying to raise money to compensate for the grant assistance no longer being provided by the Susan G. Komen organization. Donate here. Read Planned Parenthood's plea for help here.

Sign the Petition. Credo action has a petition out to gather signatures of outrage. Sign it.

Send a Message Directly to SGK. Contact Planned Parenthood and let 'em know what you think. Click here for their Facebook page. Click here for their website. Oh, and here's their message board thread--go add your voice.


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