Friday, February 03, 2012

How Planned Parenthood Became a Liability

The Susan G. Komen Foundation just today reversed its decision to withdraw its financial support from Planned Parenthood, but much of what this article by Sarah Seltzer in the Jewish Daily Forward has to say is still valid.

"Women’s health will always be political, because we still live in a patriarchy, one in which every gain is met with backlash. As Ehrenreich notes, wryly, about breast cancer — even its current lack of politicization is political, its wide mainstream support a safe alternative to radical critique of our society and its effect on women’s health:

'…after all, breast cancer would hardly be the darling of corporate America if its complexion changed from pink to green. It is the very blandness of breast cancer, at least in mainstream perceptions, that makes it an attractive object of corporate charity and a way for companies to brand themselves friends of the middle-aged female market. …as Cindy Pearson, director of the National Women’s Health Network, the organizational progeny of the Women’s Health Movement, puts it more caustically: “Breast cancer provides a way of doing something for women, without being feminist.”

In the mainstream of breast-cancer culture, one finds very little anger, no mention of possible environmental causes, few complaints about the fact that, in all but the more advanced, metastasized cases, it is the “treatments,” not the disease, that cause illness and pain.'"


Blogger Miami Al said...

The general support for breast cancer, above all else, is much simpler and two fold:

1. It's a pretty high risk cancer for women, and pretty visible with very serious surgery if caught, therefor of interest to women.

2. Men like boobies.

It's high profile, and let's people talk about breasts in public. Much simpler than women's health issues.

Around half the country opposed legalized abortion in someway, the exact percentage turns around the exact wording of the question. Given the documented higher charitable donation rate amongst conservative voters, it makes sense to try to avoid the controversy of being associated with Planned Parenthood. However, cutting funding to them becomes political to the other side.

The grants given to Planned Parenthood by Komen are relatively small (around $700,000), which means avoiding ANY problems from being associated with them (either funding them OR cutting funded) makes perfect sense, why get into a fight that isn't your own.

Planned Parenthood definitely provides screenings and has a pretty good footprint, so in that regard, it moves Komen's mission forward. However, getting into an abortion fight for an organization NOT RELATED to abortions is stupid.

Fri Feb 03, 03:25:00 PM 2012  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

So are you saying that Komen should never have given grants to Planned Parenthood in the first place or that, having done so, they should have kept their mouths shut and not called attention to those grants?

Mon Feb 06, 10:10:00 AM 2012  
Blogger Miami Al said...

I think that touching Planned Parenthood with a grant, even a small one, is like stepping on a land mine. It's harmless to step on, but stepping off is lethal.

I think that this was a Pyrrhic Victory for pro-choice groups.

Yes, they got the policy reversed and restored $700,000 in grant money to Planned Parenthood. HOWEVER, they probably hurt Komem in the cause, because conservative supporters that didn't know they supported Planned Parenthood now do, which will cost Komem financially. Regardless of your opinion on abortion, Komem does good things for women's health, so costing them money is stupid.

The Pyrrhic part is that it is NOW clear that if you ever give a grant to Planned Parenthood, you can never stop. Which means unless your mission is supporting Abortion Rights, why would you EVER support them?

When "not giving money" is seen as an action, you make it harder to give money because you can't ever stop.

Mon Feb 06, 10:43:00 AM 2012  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Sounds like a lose-lose situation. :(

Mon Feb 06, 02:30:00 PM 2012  

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