Komen’s Defund, Defend, Deflect Debacle

In a spontaneous virtual, non-violent uprising on Tuesday, January 31, 2012, U.S. women and men single-mindedly mobilized their forces to say “no” to the decision of Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure to defund Planned Parenthood.

The following day, New York City’s Mayor Bloomberg pledged $250,000 in matching funds to Planned Parenthood, which also received a record $3 million donations in two days. Seeing their formerly unquestioned ubiquity in women’s health care fundraising crumble, SGK’s CEO and founder, Nancy Brinker, hit the airwaves and intertubes to explain themselves. Instead, their not so flimsily veiled agenda was exposed. She posited that PP funding was shady and under congressional investigation. Oooo. It seems that one conservative, House Energy Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Chairman Cliff Stearns, R-Florida, had launched an investigation in Congress in September 2011, and SGK’s new bylaws prohibit funding of any orgs under investigation.

On Thursday, February 2, California Rep. Loretta Sanchez alluded to SGK’s new VP Karen Handel as having a hand in this decision. Indeed, when Handel ran for Governor of Georgia, during which she was endorsed by Sara Palin, she proclaimed that if she won she would defund PP because of their abortion services. Jezebel exposed Handel’s nasty disdain in her tweet (and delete) that protesters over the SGK decision could “Cry (her) a freaking river.”

On Friday, seeing their supporters fall away, SGK did a Rick Perry “oops” impersonation and reversed their decision, saying they would make a special rule to fund PP. Meanwhile, the underbelly of SGK’s conservative agenda has been revealed to legions of donors who have run races and bought pink paraphernalia for 30 years. In late 2010, Komen also exposed their stingy side when they began to legally pursue other non-profit charities to force them to desist from using their trademarked term “for the cure” and the color pink in fundraising efforts.

The defenders of Planned Parenthood rightfully stated that women, many of whom do not have access to primary health care, use their clinics for general checkups and breast cancer screening, that they would otherwise not be able to afford.

The shallow depth that TV journalists currently swim in was also made clear, when this week Brinker claimed during multiple interviews that PP’s activities would be shown to be illegal. Reporters merely needed to ask a follow-up question of Brinker to name one or two examples in support of the accusation, but the question was not asked.

In the end, when they reversed their decision, SGK proclaimed their original intent was not politically motivated. PP turned cheek, thanking SGK for its reversal to once again fund them. What else could they do? (This is why I’ll never be a politician.) Planned Parenthood was the only org to have its support withdrawn among the 2,000 that SGK funds. Ach!

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