Shame to politicize pink ribbon
They say that everything is bigger in Texas. But that rule must not apply to the brains, hearts or mission of Susan G. Komen for the Cure...
Seattle Times staff columnist
They say that everything is bigger in Texas.
But that rule must not apply to the brains, hearts or mission of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, based in Dallas.
Last fall, Komen officials gave in to the power of suggestion made by Rep. Cliff Stearns, R-Fla., who reminded them that the Planned Parenthood Federation of America was under congressional investigation (one Stearns called for) to determine whether it had spent public money on abortions.
No wrongdoing has been proved. But the very idea was enough for Komen to exercise a new rule prohibiting it from funding any group under investigation.
No matter that Planned Parenthood offers cancer screenings to women nationwide. It's the birth control and abortions that are behind all this, and anyone who argues otherwise is taking us for fools.
Just so we're clear: abortions are 7 percent of what Planned Parenthood does in Washington state. That may be an astronomical number for some people, but there it is.
Breast cancer screenings are twice that.
In politicizing its pink ribbon, Komen has increased the likelihood that some breast cancer may go undetected for women who can't afford screenings.
It has also shown itself to be weak and politically pliable. Shame.
"This is the saddest thing in the world," said Kristen Glundberg-Prossor, spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, which last year received $75,000 in Komen funding. That money provided breast-health programs for 665 women in Clallam County and Idaho.
There is a silver lining, though. Komen's decision has unintentionally built a new army of people defending Planned Parenthood. The group has experienced a $650,000 surge in donations since Tuesday.
I imagine women all over the country stripping their closets of everything pink, yanking their pink ribbon pins off their lapels.
And I hope that everyone else will now understand why women feel so put upon when it comes to their health. Consider Komen's decision Exhibit A.
"Politics has to come in and screw up women's health again," Glundberg-Prossor told me. "It's just really unbelievable and it's really unfair. When will it end?"
Certainly not this week, when there was more crazy-making, just a day after Komen's cuts.
The drug company Pfizer announced that it was recalling about 1 million packets of Lo/Ovral-28 and its generic equivalents, which were made and shipped last year.
This is the kind of thing that will send a lot of women — who were trying to keep a handle on things, and prevent unwanted pregnancy — to get a pregnancy test. Some will go to Planned Parenthood. It was and is a safe place for that kind of thing.
So was Komen, for those struggling with, recovering from and dealing with cancer.
It's like a fire station shutting down. Good luck, folks! You're on your own!
But we're together in our collective outrage.
Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell were among 26 colleagues in the Senate asking Komen to reconsider. The Komen affiliate in Oregon and Southwest Washington issued a statement yesterday, saying it had written headquarters, asking it to reconsider.
The phones at PPGN are ringing "pretty hard," Glundberg-Prossor said, which is great, but not sustainable.
Fundraising has begun for the Komen 3-Day later this year. I hope that those who have signed up for that walk will do what they promised, stay with it and turn into Komen the money whatever they raise.
As for Komen, well, here's a cure for your misguided move: Listen to the people you're helping with your funding, and not some guy who has never missed a period, never felt a lump.
Until that changes, he can't speak for us.
Nicole Brodeur's column appears Tuesday and Friday. Reach her at 206-464-2334 or email@example.com.
It's different for girls.
Information in this article, originally published Feb. 2, 2012, was clarified Feb. 3, 2012. A previous version of this story said Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest lost $75,000. That was the amount the organization received from the Puget Sound affilliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure the year before.
About Nicole Brodeur
My column is more a conversation with readers than a spouting of my own views. I like to think that, in writing, I lay down a bridge between readers and me. It is as much their space as mine. And it is a place to tell the stories that, otherwise, may not get into the paper.
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