Enter the Americans United for Life (AUL) - until birth - which has been pressuring SGK to sever their ties with the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) because of all those abortions they perform - a whopping three percent of their total services. The fact is, PPFA devotes most of its money and manpower to screening for breast, cervical and testicular cancers, treating menopause, testing for and treating sexually transmitted diseases, and providing contraception and prenatal care.
The money provided by Susan G. Komen for the Cure went to just a fraction -- about 19 according to one report -- of Planned Parenthood's more than 85 affiliates. And it was all -- roughly $680,000 last year and $580,000 the year before that -- used for breast-cancer screening and other breast-health services for low-income, uninsured, and under-insured women.Last September, Rep. Cliff Stearns, bowing to right-to-life-until-birth lobbying efforts, launched his spurious investigation of PPFA to determine whether public money had been spent on abortions over the last decade.
Interestingly, this investigation just happened to coincide with a brand spanking new rule at SGK which forbids them from donating to any organization that is under local, state or federal investigation. Smell anything yet?
Then the fates (or was it God's will) intervened on behalf of those right-to-life-until-birth folks in the person of Karen Handel, SGK's new (as of April 2011) Senior Vice President for Public Policy. Writes Erin Gloria Ryan at Jezebel:
Karen Handel, who was endorsed by Sarah Palin during her unsuccessful bid for governor of Georgia in 2010, has been the Foundation's Senior Vice President for Public Policy since April 2011. During her gubernatorial candidacy, she ran on an anti-choice platform, vowing that if elected, she'd defund Planned Parenthood. Handel wrote on her campaign blog,
"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."
She even promised to eliminate funding for breast and cervical cancer screenings provided by the organization.Obviously, the confluence of the AUL, Stearns' specious investigation and the hiring of Handel just didn't happen by happenstance. Nope. As in all non-profit organizations, the board of directors exists to oversee and direct its operations. Nothing, absolutely nothing happens, without their approval and the approval of its CEO, who in this case just happens to be its founder Nancy G. Brinker.
The reaction to Komen's announcement that they were severing their not-too-cozy ties with Planned Parenthood was swift and it was angry and it was loud - a public relations disaster for SGK and a boon for PPFA. The Susan G. Komen Foundation, which cannot be distinguished from the Race for the Cure, shot itself in one foot with a double-barrel shotgun with this decision and then shot itself in the other by lying, further damaging its credibility.
For how long is anyone's guess but I suspect no amount of damage control is ever going to win back the hearts and dollars of lost donors or attract a huge new donor base. There just aren't enough right-to-life-until-born believers to support them in the style to which they've grown accustomed.
Out of every evil comes some good, however. After the story broke early Tuesday evening, it went viral on Facebook and Twitter, proving that sometimes, at least, these social networks can produce a chain reaction that is both awesome and heartwarming.
Within 24 hours, donors had contributed $650,000 to Planned Parenthood, "nearly enough to replace last year's Komen funding." $400,000 was raised by more than 6,000 donors and donations are still coming in.
The group also launched a Breast Health Emergency Fund to ensure funding to affiliates that will lose their Komen grants. That fund received a $250,000 gift from the family foundation of Dallas philanthropist Lee Fikes and his wife, Amy.Planned Parenthood allies flooded the Komen Facebook page and other online message boards to express their anger and frustration. Komen, in a lame attempt that is disingenuous at best, is offering up a menu of lies and deception to try to stem the criticism. But most folks are having none of it, including the president of the Connecticut chapter who expressed her dismay on its Facebook page.
Many commenters on Facebook have complained that Komen is scrubbing some of the more negative comments from its wall, but a spokesperson for Komen said the organization is only deleting the profane ones.
"We have not and do not scrub negative comments from Facebook unless they include profanity," said Leslie Aun, vice president of communications for Komen. "There have been some serious misrepresentations of our position, which is unfortunate. The level of interest reflects the fact that people care deeply about breast cancer and women's health issues."This, my friends, is just another lie, to which I and many others can attest.
The main sentiment among the thousands of people posting online seems to be that regardless of one's position on the issue of abortion, it is wrong to politicize women's health. According to a new Polipulse analysis of online conversations about the issue, only 26 percent of people believe Komen made the right decision. Nearly a quarter of the people who expressed criticism of Komen's decision online said they were going to pull their donations from Komen.Like Southern Beale in her rant Take Your Pink Ribbon & Shove It, I have no words but I share her anger toward SGK and the right-to-life-until-birth believers. "You’d rather grown, adult women die of undiagnosed breast cancer because a principle is more important than a person." Also read her First They Came For Susan G. Komen . . .
To quote my own comment after an excellent post at Progressive Eruptions:
Disgusted. Outraged. Pissed. None of these adjectives suffice.Stay tuned. More to come.
UPDATE: As everyone, including blind, deaf and senile old Aunt Sally, probably knows, Nancy Brinker has apologized and said SGK will continue funding PPFA. Part 2, in an unintended change of direction, will look at the apology that isn't and why readers might be justified at feeling just a tad skeptical about Komen's sudden reversal.