GOP races for a cure for Komen Foundation blunder

A shock ran through women of every political persuasion when the Komen for the Cure Foundation announced it was terminating its long support for Planned Parenthood. The proffered reason was because Planned Parenthood’s use of federal funds was under investigation by a congressional committee.

Many women, for whom Komen’s pink ribbons signified Planned Parenthood more than the foundation, rebelled against the decision. Pink ribbons were torn up, or even burned. Hundreds of thousands of dollars that would have gone to the Komen Foundation were sent directly to Planned Parenthood. Thousands of email and twitter messages in support of Planned Parenthood flooded the Komen Foundation offices.

After a few days of waning contributions and disgruntled supporters, the Komen Foundation capitulated and restored Planned Parenthood’s eligibility for funding.

In defense of the attempt to cut Planned Parenthood funding, Foundation administrators claimed they were required to do so by the new policy against funding organizations that are under investigation by state or federal agencies.

The “investigation” of Planned Parenthood’s use of government funding by Florida GOP Rep. Cliff Sterns, The New York Times editorialized, “is nothing more than a political witch hunt, stirred up by Republican leaders and by a right-wing antichoice group, Americans United for Life ... The inquiry is part of the Republican campaign to stigmatize Planned Parenthood and end financial support for its invaluable network of clinics. Abortions make up only about 3 percent of its work, but most of this crowd also objects to its leading role in providing access to contraception.”

No money from either the federal government or the Komen Foundation for the Cure goes into the three percent of the Planned Parenthood budget that provides abortion services to poor women.

The Komen foundation lost more credibility when it became apparent that the plan to cut funding for Planned Parenthood was a long-term goal of foundation leaders, despite their claim of neutrality on the abortion issue. The final decision came after long-time GOP anti-abortion activist and former Georgia Secretary of State, Karen Handel, was hired as Komen’s Vice President for Policy.

Handel wrote the new policy excluding organizations under investigation by state or federal agencies from receiving Komen Foundation funds. As the facts emerged, it became increasingly apparent that the policy was crafted only to sever the close bond between Planned Parenthood and the Komen Foundation.

The congressional inquiry into how the Komen Foundation spends its money, The New York Times said, is “just a flimsy fig leaf” to cover to the right wing plan to cut ties between Komen and Planned Parenthood.

Although the Komen Foundation hopes to solve its public relations crisis by restoring Planned Parentood’s eligibility to apply for grants — though with no certainty of being awarded one — it is unlikely this is the end of the matter for some Republicans.

In a Huffington Post report, Joanne Bamberger predicted, “This is a story that isn’t going away anytime soon, even though I’m sure Komen never thought in a million years that women would react as viscerally as they have ... The Komen Foundation is probably finished, because they misjudged their constituency. Not understanding the motivations of supporters is a death knell for any organization.”

The same can be said of politicians. Not understanding their constituents can be the death of tone-deaf ideologues. Women opposed to curtailing family planning and other critical services Planned Parenthood brings to low-income women could become a decisive voting block in November.

Colorado’s Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives, including Congressman Scott Tipton in the 3rd Congressional District, who voted multiple times to cut funding to Planned Parenthood, should not escape the consequences of undermining an organization revered for its outstanding service to women.

They may experience those consequences in November when the women of Colorado hold them accountable.

Billl Grant lives in Grand Junction. He can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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Let’s see, the Komen Foundation supports the eradication of breast cancer. Women who have abortions have a much higher risk of developing Breast Cancer. So it is only natural that the Komen Foundation should continue to support the largest supplier of abortions in the United States?

Planned Parenthood provides far more critical breast exams than abortions (over 97 percent of Planned Parenthood’s activities have nothing to do with pregnancy termination), and in any case, abortion is a perfectly legal medical procedure under the law -  so what’s the problem?

Reread the post. Abortion can lead to breast cancer, yet the foundation responsible for fighting breast cancer has to give money to the largest provider of abortions in the country. You don’t see the problem?

There has never been a definitive causal link established between abortion and breast cancer. That myth was cooked up by the religious right back in the late 1980’s during Jerry Falwell’s hayday. Also, your statement that Koman “has” to give money to Planned Parenthood is simply false.  Koman is a private non-profit, and is free to fund (or not fund) whomever they wish.

Mr. Ervin… Studies on the link of abortions, Birth control pills and breast cancer have been going on since the 1950’s.  However NONE of them were conducted by Jerry Falwell or any of the ‘religious right’.  Folloing is an excerpt from the latest report from the NCI. You can read the complete article at: http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Risk/abortion-miscarriage.  Women generally keep up with these statistics for obvious reasons and we are NOT politically motivated to do so.

WASHINGTON, DC, January 7, 2010 – U.S. National Cancer Institute researcher Dr. Louise Brinton, who was the chief organizer of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) workshop in 2003 that persuaded women that it was “well established” that “abortion is not associated with increased breast cancer risk,” HAS REVERSED HER POSITION and now admits that abortion and oral contraceptives raise breast cancer risks.

Joyce - So what are you advocating, outlawing abortion and contraception on the outside chance that the risk of breast cancer may be slightly elevated? Get real, it ain’t gonna happen! In the end, a woman has the right to control what happens to and with her own body, period! Any other view is demeaning, and makes women second-class citizens. Are you a second-class citizen?

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