I support the organization Planned Parenthood, and am deeply disturbed by the choice made by the Susan B Komen Race For The Cure Foundation to cut ties with Planned Parenthood due to political pressure from Right-To-Life activists.
I first used Planned Parenthood's services when I was 18. I had a basic knowledge of my reproductive system through my parents and my schooling, but I'd recently become sexually active and I was concerned about STDs, pregnancy, testing for both, etc, not to mention privacy and costs. I had my first pelvic exam at Planned Parenthood in 1986, for free. I received compassionate counseling on reproductive care, birth control, and AIDS infection prevention. AIDS had just started making the news and no one I knew had any definitive answers in those pre-information age days, so Planned Parenthood was a blessing.
I worked for years at an inner-city boys and girls club, and we had a problem in that city: Pre-teen girls were getting pregnant. So we put together a program to teach girls in the 9 to 13 age bracket about self-esteem and saying 'No' and about reproductive health. Planned Parenthood was an invaluable resource to us.
Until January, I supported the Susan B Komen Foundation, even despite the organization's uncharitable legal action against other cancer-related fundraising groups using the "For The Cure" phrase that they've apparently copyrighted. Cancer has blighted my family for generations and I was delighted to donate to an organization that focused on both cancer and women's health. But their choice to bow to political pressure from people who do not support women's reproductive rights has turned me from a supporter to an active anti-Komen activist. Planned Parenthood is one of the few organizations that provides no-strings-attached (ie apolitical, non-religious) women's health -- and thus women's breast health -- care to poor and young women. And for the Komen Foundation to cut off funding for breast-health services at Planned Parenthood is inexcusable.
I'm doing my best to raise awareness of how reproductive politics has invaded the Komen Foundation and which side they've chosen to take. I'm doing my best to raise awareness of how, in choosing sides on an issue tangential to it's stated cause, The Komen Foundation is no longer serving it's mission to bring universal screening and breast cancer treatment to all women.
While this controversy is still roaring, please re-consider your support of the Komen Foundation. Stop buying Breast Cancer Pink Ribbon products like these. Contact the Komen Foundation and urge them to keep reproductive rights politics out of their funding practices (see the note I submitted below). And most of all, please donate to Planned Parenthood so they can continue to provide breast cancer education and screening services to women all over America.
Thank you for reading.
Dear Komen Foundation--Shame on you for failing in your mission to support universal screening and breast health care by cutting off funding to Planned Parenthood. It is sad to realize that you've bowed to reproductive rights political pressures and tried to hide it by disguising your decision as being caused by the specious allegations and inquiry by US Rep. Cliff Stearns. Planned Parenthood is regularly audited to ensure compliance with the Hyde Amendment, and these audits have never turned up any evidence of wrongdoing. Please keep reproductive rights politics out of your funding practices. In making this choice you are failing women all over America. Shame on you!