I am pro-Choice. That means I am the decider when it comes to issues of personal health, personal happiness, and personal wealth…and with that, the distribution of such wealth. Today, I have made the personal choice to strike the Susan G. Komen Foundation from my list of annual giving. I choose to put people above politics, to fund local centers directly, and to get my green out of the pink so to speak. In light of the Foundation’s recent decision to eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood, I will no longer race for the organization, bike for the organization, walk three days for the organization, or snowshoe for the organization. Yes, I said snowshoe.
Now, the Komen foundation denies that it caved to political pressure from the right wing when it threw Planned Parenthood and thousands of poor women under the anti-abortion bus. Personally, I believe the somewhat rose-colored organization is showing it’s true colors…yellow. Komen sites the ongoing federal investigation into tax-payer funding of Planned Parenthood as the impetus behind revoking the funding. Komen conveniently ignores the pink pachyderm in the room in that this investigation hinges on an ideologically based report by the anti-abortion organization, Americans United for Life. This investigation smacks of Congressional over-reach by Rep Cliff Stearns (R-FL), and let’s face it, the ACORN doesn’t fall far from the tree. To the Komen foundation, I say fine, investigate, but what happened to innocent until proven guilty?
This is what really stinks. All tied up in a nice, pink, bow is the Komen Foundation’s new Vice President of Public Policy, Karen Handel. Supported by Arizona Governor, Jan Brewer, and Fox News pundit, Sarah Palin, Ms. Handel made it perfectly clear in her primary bid for Georgia governor last year that she planned to eliminate grants for Planned Parenthood. In a statement on her campaign blog dated July, 2010: “During my time as Chairman of Fulton County, there were federal and state pass-through grants that were awarded to Planned Parenthood for breast and cervical cancer screening, as well as a ‘Healthy Babies Initiative’…Since grants like these are from the state I’ll eliminate them as your next Governor.” The Komen VP may have failed in her bid for governor of the Peach State, but not in her pledge to defund Planned Parenthood.
Handel also posted, July, 2010: “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.”
Come on, Ms. Handel. Abortion makes up about 3% of what Planned Parenthood provides as services. In the last five years, aided with funds from the Komen Foundation, Planned Parenthood provided 170,000 breast exams and 6,400 mammogram referrals to low income women, who otherwise, in the United Stated of America, would have been left out of the healthcare system.
In this political climate, it’s pretty easy to play political football with the lives of the poor. It makes for a good sound bite to say you are a person of faith, but let’s face it, doesn’t it seem that you are a little too heavenly minded at times to do much earthly good? I am pro-choice, but I am also pro-life. My working definition, however, is not that life begins at conception and ends at birth. Life lasts, well, a lifetime. And for the needy and the least among us, that lifetime could be pretty short with no early cancer detection and no screening.
On the charity’s website, Nancy Brinker, founder and CEO of the Susan G. Komen Foundation asks at the end of her statement expressing her sister’s story, “Could one person really make a difference?” Yes, Ms. Brinker, I certainly think so…it’s your choice what kind of difference you intend to make. Perhaps the race for the cure you should be worried about is blind ideology. It, too, is a cancer that should be cut out.