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Komen Caves and the Tipping Point

Just announced about half an hour ago on CNN: The Komen Foundation is reversing its decision to defund Planned Parenthood :

The Susan G. Komen foundation has reversed a controversial decision not to renew funding for some Planned Parenthood projects, the group said in a statement Friday.

“We want to apologize to the American public for recent decisions that cast doubt upon our commitment to our mission of saving women’s lives,” the statement said. “We will continue to fund existing grants, including those of Planned Parenthood, and preserve their eligibility to apply for future grants, while maintaining the ability of our affiliates to make funding decisions that meet the needs of their communities.”

[...]

CREDO, which describes itself as the largest corporate donor to Planned Parenthood, said Thursday that 250,000 of its members had signed a petition urging the Komen Foundation to reverse its decision.

“The move is clearly connected to attempts by Republicans in Congress to defund Planned Parenthood,” the organization said in a statement. “In responding to questions about its decision, the foundation cited as its rationale a sham ‘investigation’ into Planned Parenthood launched by Republican Rep. Cliff Stearns.” who the group called “one of the most militant anti-choice members of Congress.”

When I was on Twitter yesterday, I saw a many, many tweets from women who were fed up with the efforts of the religious right to force their ideology on them.  We may have reached the tipping point.

If I were a Democratic politician, I would use this weekend to reassess my position on caving to the right on just about everything.  The religious right is on its way out and so may be any politician that panders to them.

More on the reversal by Jennifer Preston at TheLede at the NYTimes. Here’s another data point on the Tipping Point hypothesis:

It was the perception that the Komen foundation was inserting politics into providing health care services, especially to underserved women, that helped prompt a firestorm of debate online and offline.

At Planned Parenthood, Heather Holdridge, who is the director of digital advocacy strategy, said there have been multiple online organizing efforts in the past on the organization’s behalf, but this one was different, in part, because people organized themselves online.

“I think this was a tipping point for us,” Ms. Holdridge said. “I think something has happened, where people are upset that two great organizations that have this shared mission were now in this difficult position. And so, we have been seeing that response through our supporters, some of whom, were not our supporters before Tuesday afternoon.”

The Komen foundation said that it would be making calls to its key supporters and affiliates starting this afternoon to figure out how to “get back to doing our work. “We ask for the public’s understanding and patience as we gather our Komen affiliates from around the country to determine how to move forward in the best interests of the women and people we serve.”

Women are tired of this crap.  It’s been 40 years of fighting off these raging religious lunatics who stubbornly refuse to evolve past 1300 BC.  It’s not a coincidence that the number of atheist, freethinker and skeptic groups and online voices have sprung up in the past couple of years.  Since Obama took office, the right has had a free for all because the Democrats absolutely refused to push back for fear of losing the votes of the religious.  It’s been the Conscience Rule, followed by the Stupak debacle in the health care bill, the Mississippi Personhood amendment, Kathleen Sebelius overruling the FDA advisory board on Plan B and the red beanie boys from Vatican Inc.  There’s been very little standing between the rabidly anti-choice inmates who have taken over the asylum and women.  Democrats don’t want to get involved unless they can turn it into some kind of campaign trick.

And reproductive rights are just the tip of the iceberg.  The economy is still lousy and is staying lousy for women who don’t get hired back at the same rates as men.  We still have to put up with discrimination at work because it’s subtle and if a guy’s not groping you, there’s no accountability.  It’s only gotten worse since Obama and his macho guys stomped all over Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin in 2008.  But it didn’t stop there.  They took that assholery and unaccountable behavior into the White House where their dismissive behavior and the refusal of some of the bigwigs to work with women like Sheila Bair, Christina Romer and Elizabeth Warren has lead to the continuation of a lagging economy at the mercy of unpunished bankers.

It’s hard to believe that the majority segment of the population of this country is as besieged as it is.  It’s just one damn thing after another.  Komen was the last straw.

We need a zillion woman march on Washington.  This shit’s got to stop.

Don’t get mad at the Komen Foundation…

Get even.  Donate to Planned Parenthood in Karen Handel’s name.  (H/T atrios)

Also, read Violet’s take on this fiasco here.

And Echidne’s sweet little ditty.

The term “out of touch” does not even begin to describe the rationale behind the Komen Foundation’s decision.  It’s just an out and out catastrophe of monumental proportions.  It has sullied the positive perception of the Foundation forever.

Just dumb.  And stupid too.  Would someone please remove the sharp objects from the Komen Foundation’s headquarters before they hurt themselves?

Update:  I don’t think WaPo’s Alexandra Petri gets it:

So I’m also ticked off by the people who say they won’t donate to Susan G. Komen any more. Really? Refuse to donate to the fight on breast cancer on the grounds that some of the people leading it do not share all your beliefs to the letter? That seems woefully short-sighted. It’s almost as short-sighted as the funding decision that shifted the discussion in the first place.

Abortion is one of the few bitterly polarizing issues for which it’s difficult to locate any middle ground. At a certain point, you come down on one side or the other. I’m pro-choice. In no way do I think it’s an easy choice. But if it’s a hard and gut-wrenching choice for the actual women involved, it seems peculiar that it should be any easier for gaggles of state legislators who aren’t there, who in many cases are incapable of becoming pregnant, and who yet seem uncannily certain that they know exactly the solution.

Ok, let me say this very slooooowly: Susan Komen died of breast cancer.  By cutting off Planned Parenthood in one of the most boneheaded moves since New Coke, the Komen Foundation is forcing Planned Parenthood to rejigger the way it allocates its money at a time when most charitable contributions are drying up and Planned Parenthood, in particular, is under attack from some very short sighted bronze age thinkers of the right wing.  If we were to question Susan, we might correctly assume that she would want poor women to be screened for breast cancer. So, if we have to make a donation to either the Komen Foundation or Planned Parenthood, the donation with the biggest bang for the buck that would honor Komen’s wishes more completely would have to go to Planned Parenthood.

This is not rocket science, Alexandra.  Yeah, it would be great if there was a cure but breast cancer is not just one thing.   It could be many different snafus in the cellular mechanism gone awry. And the pharmas that are working on it have plenty of money to invest, now that they’ve laid all of the researchers off.

Finally, the choice between abortion and breast cancer research was not one that had to be forced on anyone.  Karen Handel *made* it a choice because she’s an ignorant twit of a  politician who is pandering to her ultra religious (and shrinking) base.  Let it be the last hurrah of the religiously motivated politicians.  Their audience is dying, literally.  Pretty soon they’ll have to pander to the rest of us and we did not just fall off the turnip truck.

Update2:  Komen Foundation board member Rafaelli explains why the foundation cut off Planned Parenthood and ONLY Planned Parenthood:

For the board, the calculation was simple: “You should as a general rule always pick vendors and grantees that will broaden your base of support and not narrow it,” Mr. Raffaelli said.

Ooooo, major miscalculation.  Ginormous.  Not even partial credit.  You just lost the young suburbanites and educated women with decades to go but gained all of the crotchety, mean spirited seniors who are on their way out.   Congratulations!

Oh, and the red beanie dudes are at it again:

Foes of abortion and Web sites critical of it have criticized the Komen foundation’s financing of Planned Parenthood for years. The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. Louis and several bishops in Ohio issued statements last year raising concerns about donating to the Komen foundation. In December, LifeWay Christian Resources, which is owned by the Southern Baptist Convention, said it was recalling a pink Bible it was selling because a dollar per copy was going to the Komen foundation.

Technically, bishops don’t wear red beanies unless they are also cardinals but whatever.  The bottom line is that they represent a foreign corporation that seems determined to make American women’s lives difficult and miserable.  We really need to poll the pols to find out who they serve: American women or the Vatican.

Update3: H/T Marsha who sent me looking for this story about the hacking that went on last night at the Komen Foundation’s website.   Here’s what googlers found last night when they queried Komen:

{{GASP!}}  Alright!  Occupy Komen.

Update4: Komen’s public health official, Mollie Williams, resigns in protest over the decision to drop Planned Parenthood funding.

Update5:  It’s an unmitigated disaster for the Komen Foundation.  Many former supporters are signing petitions in protest.  As expected, it’s the younger, yuppier, women who are outraged by this.  And here’s a new cartoon that is likely the first of many to come:

Update 6:  Ok, here come the jokes:


Vicente Lozano

@vtlozanoVicente Lozano
The Susan Komen foundation is marketing a new pink gun. It only shoots the user in the foot. #komen

Update7: Why do women journalists do this?  Here is another piece of apologetics and “both sides are guilty” crap about the Komen disaster, this time from Rachel Latimore of Slate.  No, Rachel, you can not make Planned Parenthood look like a bad guy just because some Right to Life group has been successful at relentlessly harrassing them into an investigation.  That’s not to say there haven’t been improprieties and perhaps even indictable offenses.  The problem is that Planned Parenthood has been around since the turn of the 20th century and I’ll wager that every woman I know has some kind of history with them.  Planned Parenthood is where college aged women would go for paps, breast exams and packs of contraceptives at rock bottom prices.   We grew up with Planned Parenthood and know that without Planned Parenthood, our lives might have been profoundly different.  So, go ahead and pull out all of the dirty laundry.  It’s a teensy drop in the bucket compared to the generations of good it has done.  You want to find a crime of the century worthy of this much attention?  Tell the right to lifers to focus their attention on MF Global.

I don’t know about the rest of you Conflucians but I am sick and tired of Planned Parenthood getting shit dumped on them by the clueless religious right.  It’s time to push back.  If you were ever served by Planned Parenthood, say thanks in the comments.

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