When breasts & abortions collide

1 Feb

If you haven’t been keeping up with the news, there’s been some recent scandal concerning the Susan G. Komen Foundation, probably the largest breast cancer research advocate/fundraiser in the nation, and Planned Parenthood, a notoriously pro-choice organization that provides reproductive health among other things.

According to NPR’s Shots:

“The breast cancer charity Susan G. Komen For the Cure is pulling about $700,000 in breast cancer screening and service grants from the Planned Parenthood Federation of America.
The money isn’t massive by either group’s bottom line: Komen raised more than $400 million in 2010; Planned Parenthood’s total revenue that year was over $1 billion.
But it apparently marks a new chapter in the ongoing abortion war, not to mention the battle to defund Planned Parenthood.”

I don’t want to get political, but this news is really interesting. My newsfeed on Facebook blew up yesterday because of this and DGB (woo!). Some of my friends are mad at Komen for pulling resources from Planned Parenthood. Other friends are excited to be able to support a charity that they believe makes moral decisions.

Too soon?

In the past, I’ve heard from staunch pro-lifers that Komen is not pro-life because of an affiliation with Planned Parenthood, the popular protest place for the Lifers. I never really knew the extent or the context of that support.

I was surprised to find out some it goes to breast health issues, which to be real, I didn’t know Planned Parenthood did. Personally, I think this is a good example of the important services they provide. I have a handful of friends who depend on their services for women’s health. It’s affordable access to healthcare, and in my book that’s something this society needs.

Now, the pro-lifers are anti-abortion. Somehow a person’s stance on this hot button issue tends to dictate their feelings about Planned Parenthood. As the article above says, only 3% of their services or less are dedicated to abortion. That means for every abortion preformed 33 other women (or men) use their services in some other way. Do we deny those 33 some basic health needs, like mammograms?

Pro-lifers says we do. I don’t agree with that, but I totally respect them for that belief. I think we need to realize the impact of our everyday decisions and make more educated choices. We vote every 2 or 4 years for new elected officials; there’s always a big push to “make your voice heard” and “every vote counts.” I totally think it does. I treasure our democracy, no matter how slow it moves and how many loopholes politicians can find. Watching what’s happening in other countries like Egypt prove that we’re at least doing something right.

We forget our voices are heard everyday when we go to the grocery store, travel and even donate to charities. We are supporting causes and people and practices with every dollar we spend.

When you get to choose between two similar products, what factors make your decision? Price? Taste? What if you consider their business practices or charitable contributions instead, then support the company you believe in more. By spending your money, you just made a statement that says, “I support what you’re doing.” Even if it was as simple as buying Oreos.

If you don’t support outsourcing jobs, buy made in the USA. It’s that easy, right? Actually it’s pretty hard. Something like grabbing dinner could take some research and no one really wants to do that.

This is exactly why pro-lifers are so happy. They can now donate to a cause that they believe in because that cause doesn’t have what they consider pro-choice baggage. They are being responsible, according to their beliefs.

Good for them. Other groups should be just as picky and just as vocal. You do have control, even if it’s not an election year. The beauty that is capitalism is giving you the megaphone, you just need a voice.

Now, to be clear, I said I respected pro-lifers for this decision (I won’t use the word choice). I wish I had the conviction to research every organization I’ve supported with my time, money or business. I do try to be more responsible, but I’m not that good at it.

Komen does awesome work in the community. I’m interested to see how this affects their organization. I will be surprised if it does. I think most people are more interested in what they do for breast cancer research than their other affiliations.

Do I think this was a good move for Komen? No, all of the Komen propaganda, err I mean, literature harps on how early detection is the key to prevention. By pulling funding from Planned Parenthood which provides breast services for free (or cheap at least), Komen sent the message that they are not as serious about the early detection as they claim to be. Some Planned Parenthood clinics may have to drop the breast health line, leaving some women who can’t afford other options out in the cold. Is that what Komen wants? Probably not.

So what do we do about this? Honestly, I wish I knew. My best bet is to donate directly to the organizations you want to support in your community or research big national organizations.  These groups, like Komen, take your donation and divide it up among a bunch of services and keep some to keep their org a float. Make sure your cash is flowing to support what you believe in before you write the check.

But hey, that’s jut me.


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