Unapologetic progressive. Fearless activist. Plucky liberal.

Posts tagged ‘abortion’

Susan G. Komen for the Cure puts politics ahead of women’s health

The women’s health community was blindsided this week by the news that a former ally had turned its back on the women it purports to help. Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the largest nonprofit focused on breast cancer in the United States, has said it will pull grants totaling nearly $700,000 that go to breast cancer screenings and mammogram referrals from Planned Parenthood.


Anti-choice politics. It turns out Komen’s founder, Nancy G. Brinker, is a huge George W. Bush supporter, and a senior official, Karen Handel, campaigned for governor of Georgia as a fierce Planned Parenthood opponent. Supposedly Komen has a new rule about not donating to organizations that are under investigation by the U.S. government. The only reason anti-choice politicians want to investigate Planned Parenthood is because they claim federal money intended for the 97 percent of PP’s non-abortion-related services is fungible (i.e., a saintly taxpayer’s pure dollar intended for cancer screening could accidentally come into contact with a dirty whore’s abortion money).

This, despite the fact that money wasn’t being used for abortion. This, despite the fact there’s no link between abortion and breast cancer. This, despite the fact so many low-income women have nowhere but Planned Parenthood to go for breast health. This, despite the fact if you want to shun women who have abortions, you’ll be ignoring one-third of us.

How very “pro-life” to deny money for life-saving screenings.

I have not supported Komen in the past, as I’m not close with anyone who has struggled with breast cancer and been a fan of the foundation.* Honestly, I’m a little tired of facing “pink October” and seeing “save the tatas” paraphernalia. Shouldn’t we be focused on, I don’t know — saving women’s lives? I have no doubt choosing a mastectomy is gut-wrenching, but as high-profile cases such as Christina Applegate and Giuliana Rancic show, most women would rather lose their breasts than their lives. (For more of a great long read on this topic, check out Barbara Ehrenreich’s “Welcome to Cancerland.”)

asiangrrlMN adds:

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?

Komen representatives seemed unprepared for the backlash and refused to answer repeated questions from the press. Negative comments are being deleted from the Facebook page. A nonprofit PR expert explains this is how not to run a nonprofit in The Accidental Rebranding of Komen for the Cure.

I hope Komen does restore funding to Planned Parenthood, but for me, and a lot of other people, the damage is done. We have seen what Komen’s priorities are, and they don’t include women’s health care.

A line has been drawn in the sand. Do you stand with women and Planned Parenthood?

Or do you stand with radical ideology and Susan G. Komen for the Cure?

ETA: If you’ve previously donated to Komen and would like a list of alternatives, check out Five Ways to Support Women’s Health for All.

*This originally said I don’t know anyone personally who has had breast cancer. I have been corrected in the comments below.



Judge grants injunction to Planned Parenthood of Indiana

I was very pleased to get this e-mail tonight after writing about this Wednesday:

Planned Parenthood of Indiana (PPIN) is thrilled to announce that U.S. District Judge Tanya Walton Pratt has granted its motion for a preliminary injunction to halt the enforcement of the new dangerous state law that strips Medicaid funding from PPIN. 

The decision comes after a rocky week for PPIN. The organization had to stop seeing Medicaid patients Tuesday, lay off two employees, and furlough all employees for one day.

The injunction is excellent news for the organization. It means that PPIN can once again be reimbursed for the preventive health care it provides its 9,300 Medicaid patients and is now restored as a preferred provider under Medicaid and will remain as such as the lawsuit continues and until a final resolution is reached.  

“This decision will have immediate, positive consequences for our patients and our organization, the state’s largest reproductive health care provider,” said PPIN President and CEO Betty Cockrum.  “This ruling means we can once again provide Pap tests, breast exams, STD testing and treatment and birth control to both existing and new Medicaid patients.  It also means that we have avoided the difficult decision to close health centers and lay off more staff members while the permanent injunction we are seeking is pending.”

PPIN is represented by the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana (ACLU of Indiana) and the case is being led by Legal Director Ken Falk. 

“This is a positive step in what likely will be a long legal battle,” Falk said.  “We are encouraged by the judge’s ruling, but know our work is not yet done.” 

PPIN also contended that thanks to HEA 1210, its health care professionals would be forced to make statements to patients that are not medically and scientifically based, also in violation of the U.S. Constitution.  Judge Pratt agreed and ruled that portions of the law requiring medical professionals to say that a fetus can feel pain at or before 20 weeks post-fertilization will not go into effect July 1.  However, a portion requiring that medical professionals tell a woman that human physical life begins at conception must be implemented.   

 I wish this decision had been made last month, and that the language about life beginning at conception had been struck down, but this is progress. I know 9,300 Hoosiers are very relieved tonight.

Republicans reveal their true priorities

The unemployment rate is 9.4 percent. Millions of Americans are without jobs, health insurance and food stability. The federal deficit is soaring. Many states are facing budget shortfalls. Two wars are still being fought in the Middle East. There’s an uprising in Egypt. So of course the first priority of the new House of Representatives should be…denying women access to abortion.

Wait, what?

Republican leadership in the House has come forward with the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortions Act, which would restrict federal funding for abortions to only those who could prove their pregnancies were the result of “forcible rape.” It doesn’t include provisions for statutory rape or rapes where drugs or alcohol are involved. So a 34-year-old could rape a 13-year-old and that teenager would be forced to carry the pregnancy to term under the proposed law, such as happened in Peru. The awesome crew at Feministing has more on the problems with the law.

Lest you be fooled into thinking Medicaid pays for thousands of abortions each year, Amy Sullivan at Time provides the statistic that in 2001, 56 abortions were paid for. “That’s all abortions for cases in which the mother’s life was in danger, the pregnancy was a result of incest, or in the case of rape.” Nationwide.

A recent poll shows social issues such as abortion at the bottom of the list of things Americans are concerned about, but who cares? It’s not a surprise Republicans are more determined to show their disrespect of women by denying them health care than to create jobs or cut the deficit, but it never fails to make me furious. My own Democratic representative, along with several other Democrats, has signed on in support of the bill, and you can bet I’ll be calling him to express my displeasure.

As Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz said, “I consider the proposal of this bill a violent act against women.” Let your representative know you agree by contacting him or her here.

Happy anniversary, Roe v. Wade

The Supreme Court ruled 38 years ago today that a woman’s right to privacy covers the decision on whether to have an abortion. Since then, the right to abortion has become the most polarizing of all social issues, and unfortunately anti-abortion activists and terrorists have been succeeding in chipping away at a woman’s right to decide what to do with her own body.

This issue angers me like no other. Nothing pisses me off like watching a bunch of rich old white men who will never have to worry about getting pregnant making it nearly impossible for women to access legal medical care.

The thing that anti-abortion activists conveniently ignore is that no woman wants to need an abortion. Some women don’t want to be pregnant at all, and some would do anything to have a healthy pregnancy. But the world doesn’t work like that.

So in order to celebrate Roe v. Wade and get energized to continue advocating for access to abortion, check out a few of these stories.

When Abortion Was Illegal: Untold Stories From the women who suffered in the years before abortion was made legal.

A Peruvian teen tried to commit suicide after she became pregnant from multiple rapes, and was denied medical care and an abortion because she was pregnant.

A Polish woman died because doctors refused to treat her colon condition out of fear she would miscarry. Instead, both she and the fetus died.

A devastated husband stood up to anti-choice protesters at the clinic where his wife had an abortion after finding out her baby had no kidneys, no bladder–no chance for survival. Aaron Gouveia describes the worst day of his life.

Kermit Gosnell has been arrested and charged with murder after running an unlicensed abortion clinic in Pennsylvania. This isn’t one more reason to make abortion illegal; it’s one more reason to make it easier to access so women aren’t risking their lives out of desperation to end a pregnancy.

Andrew Sullivan of the Daily Dish is devout Catholic whose stance against abortion has changed after hearing the personal stories of his readers who went through the hell of deciding whether to have an abortion and then trying to get one. These are stories of people who experienced the untold number of deformities and genetic abnormalities that can occur in utero. Many of them can cause the death of the mother and the fetus. The decisions these women and men made were excruciating, and it’s irresponsible of the anti-choice movement to pretend they were made lightly.

Abortion Gang is a great blog written by “unapologetic activists for reproductive justice.” Lots of interesting issues are discussed there.