COMMENTARY: A Tripwire In Race For The Cure


Posted: February 6, 2012 at 5:44 a.m.

The poor Susan G. Komen for the Cure folks seemed a bit shell-shocked last week.

This story is only available from our archives.

You wouldn't know from this column that it is all about breast cancer screenings that Planned Parenthood does for low-income, uninsured, and medically underserved women.
"Komen paid for just 170,000 of the more than 4 million clinical breast exams Planned Parenthood performed nationwide over the last five years, and just 6,400 of Planned Parenthood’s 70,000 mammography referrals in that time."
"Most of Planned Parenthood's services — 71 percent — are for birth control and testing and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases. Abortions made up 3 percent of its services in 2010. Cancer screening accounted for about 15 percent."

According to Mr. Harton's reasoning, anything or anyone that a congressional committee decides to investigate, for whatever political reasons, is automatically under a cloud and should not receive funding from anybody.

Posted by: Coralie

February 6, 2012 at 5:35 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

I don't understand why any money that I have donated to breast cancer research would ever have gone to Planned Parenthood. I simply don't understand it. I always thought it was going to breast cancer research not paying for peoples screenings or anything else. I guess I should have done more research before making donations. Now I know

Posted by: suek

February 6, 2012 at 7:20 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Greg Hardon misses the point. The Komen organization planned up-front to score points with anti-abortion activists and miscalculated, revealing their right-wing political agenda and exposing their constricted view of women's health issues.

It appears that "Karen Handel, Komen's staunchly anti-abortion vice president for public policy, was the main force behind the decision to defund Planned Parenthood and the attempt to make that decision look nonpolitical."

Posted by: FrankLloydLeft

February 6, 2012 at 8:03 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

GREG: "After a few days... Planned Parenthood,... gladly accepted a wave of donations that totaled more than $600,000.">

No, that was $650,000 in 24 hours. After a couple days the support was much more substantial:

"Planned Parenthood Raises $3 Million in Wake of Komen Funding Controversy"

GREG: "almost hard to believe these two organizations share a common goal, women’s health.">

Since Planned Parenthood provides women's health services for contraception (35% of total services), STI/STD testing and treatment (34%,) cancer testing and screening (17%), abortion (3%) and also pregnancy, prenatal, midlife, infertility and adoption referrals (11%)," (wiki blurb), why would you insult the intelligence of your readers by suggesting it could be "hard to believe these two organizations share a common goal, [of] women’s health?"

GREG: "Some Planned Parenthood supporters... ready to cut any ties and end donations to Komen.">>

And with good reason. They let a right-wing hack, Karen Handel, infiltrate their organization with the specific goal of punishing Planned Parenthood under the transparent and now exposed ruse of:

"'If we just say it's about investigations, we can defund Planned Parenthood and no one can blame us for being political.''

GREG: "...people at the helm of Komen are intensely focused on what’s best for their organization.">>

That may have been true in the past but now everyone knows it wasn't true as long as Karen Handel has influence. This disaster has been a text book example of how to poop the bed. Because of Handel's extraordinary misstep and political overreach, Komen has managed to infuriate everyone and politicize something as innocuous as our desire to end breast cancer.

GREG: "The problem for Komen is it got in bed with Planned Parenthood in the first place.">>

That's your spin, but it doesn't fly. All was well and good until this anti-abortion zealot, Ms. Handel showed her hand and caused this most worthwhile charity irreparable damage.

GREG: "People who previously showed a strong commitment to the eradication of breast cancer declared their true colors...">>

Yes they did. And that true color looks like this: If Komen is going to get yanked around by political hacks like Handel, and blatantly play politics with its donations by punishing one of the most effective and broad based providers of women's health services because they happen to use a separate 3% of their resources to provide the legal *woman's health service* of abortion, then Koman can go get stuffed. People interested in having their charity money going toward effective health care services for women can send it to someone else. Apparently a lot of Americans last week happened to agree with me in understanding that group to be Planned Parenthood.

Posted by: fayfreethinker

February 6, 2012 at 9:40 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Fayfreethinker - I don't need to post a thing. You said it perfectly.

Greg- you missed the boat entirely.

Posted by: Dmbsl

February 6, 2012 at 10:09 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Poor Susan G. Komen folks? Are you kidding me? Should we feel sad because the higher-ups in the organization were too stupid to stop Handel from promoting her personal agenda through a charity organization? Any charity organization meant to be promoting health that permits personal feelings and political desires to interfere with maintaining its reputation and ability to continue doing good works should be, as Harton wrote, “treated like an unwanted disease.” It is sickening when people donate money towards breast cancer prevention only to have it siphoned away, for purely political reasons, from the one agency that so many low-income women turn to for that service. So, Harton’s assertion that “the decision last week certainly wasn’t a change of heart among Komen’s leadership about fighting breast cancer” when that choice was made for reasons that did nothing, not one positive thing, to fight that disease, and, instead, did irreparable damage to the entire organization, cannot possibly be true. The fact that the leadership didn’t see the crap tornado coming should actually be all that is needed to prove how unfit they are to run any organizationy.

Posted by: taminatress

February 6, 2012 at 10:36 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

It's not about bad policy calls. It's about bad politics, leftovers from the Disaster Monkey administration fouling the nest at Komen.
And Harton, Like.A. Rock. Only dumber.

Posted by: cdawg

February 6, 2012 at 11:52 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

"A new Daily Kos-Public Policy Polling survey released today captures public sentiment on the issue of Susan G. Komen's withdrawal of funding from Planned Parenthood and the subsequent firestorm. The survey was Feb 3-4, 1000 adults, margin of error of plus/minus 3.1%.

Komen loses, 39% to 53%

Posted by: cdawg

February 7, 2012 at 12:13 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Karen Handel, is toast:

"Komen Founder and CEO Nancy G. Brinker said she accepted Handel's resignation and wished her well."

Posted by: fayfreethinker

February 7, 2012 at 10:51 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Actually Komen is not focused on "Women's Health". They are focused on breast cancer which is an issue that impacts men (chances are 1 in 1,000) as well. I don't see anything wrong with the leadership at Komen taking a stand for what they believe in. I assure you that there are as many Komen donors out there that are shocked that their donations go on to fund Planned Parenthood as there are people shocked that Komen would defund them. I also remember locally a few years ago there was talk of cancelling one of the Komen fund raisers (maybe the spaghetti supper) because the local Catholic Church which sponsored the fund raiser was concerned about the Planned Parenthood fund raising.

Personally, although I don't agree with all of Planned Parenthood's practices, I do know that they do a lot of good things. However, if I donate funds to cancer research and prevention, I want to assurances that the funding is going to just that and not STD prevention, the prevention of animal cruelty or research in marine wildlife.

Posted by: superdave10

February 7, 2012 at 1:28 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

SUP: "Actually Komen is not focused on "Women's Health".>>

Yes they are.

SUP: "They are focused on breast cancer which is an issue that impacts men (chances are 1 in 1,000) as well.">>

A silly quibble. In 2010 breast cancer killed 390 men. In the same year it killed 39,800 women. So saying they focus on women's health with regard to breast cancer isn't 100% correct, but it is more than 99% correct.

SUP: "I don't see anything wrong with the leadership at Komen taking a stand for what they believe in.">>

Apparently they didn't believe in it, cause they just did an about face and canned the perpetrator. The populace was under the impression that this group believed in woman's health. Probably due largely to Handel's input, they got sucked into a self-inflicted wound of politicizing something that shouldn't be.

SUP: "there are as many Komen donors out there that are shocked that their donations go on to fund Planned Parenthood">>

Then they are, as is typical with that bunch, misinformed. The money that went to PP, is directed specifically to:

"Komen funds about $700,000 in breast cancer exams and mammography referrals for poor women provided by Planned Parenthood."

Incidentally, Komen pays their CEO $417,000 per year, plus benefits.

Posted by: fayfreethinker

February 7, 2012 at 8:26 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Agree with Coralie. Reading this editorial, one would think that Harton had missed the entire point of the controversy. But I think not. I suspect that he too is one of many men who believe that a woman's choice to have an abortion is somehow a man's business. And it bothers him that he cannot force his control issues on women in general.

So because of this, Harton says ""The problem for Komen is it got in bed with Planned Parenthood in the first place", and continues to speak of Planned Parenthood as if the only thing they ever do is provide abortions. I don't believe that Harton believes this, of course, and it isn't true. But it's good enough for the conservative press, which has no problem denying reality, or avoiding discussing the real issues, particularly when the core issues challenge their self-contradictory (read: inconsistent and hypocritical) platform.

Pro-choice and anti-abortion citizens have indeed run side-by-side in Komen's races. They will continue to do so. And Komen should continue to focus on what it does best: raise money for fighting breast cancer. It really doesn't matter who does the screenings, and if Planned Parenthood can do them and reach thousands of needy women that way, this is exactly the kind of partnership that works. Komen was on the right track. They hired someone with an agenda who got them off track. They got back on it again. Good for Komen and women who are served by Planned Parenthood, too!

Posted by: SPA

February 8, 2012 at 4:03 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Let's not forget that Nancy Brinker was appointed to an ambassador's post by George W Bush. Do you really think you could have gotten an appointment like that if you didn't believe what W and Handel beileve?

Posted by: pricem36

February 8, 2012 at 4:05 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Just in:

Be careful what you wish for? Seems like Komen isn't spending as much on research as it once did. That's good to know if you're thinking of contributing to them.

Posted by: SPA

February 8, 2012 at 5:40 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Breast cancer = mastectomy. Mastectomy = no milk. No milk = no children.

Seems pretty easy to figure out... . Komen is all about women suckling children. Planned Parenthood is not.

The easiest way to prevent breast cancer (and a host of other "female troubles") would be to not allow the female of the species to develop secondary sex characteristics. Hysterectomies at birth! Or, at least, as a society stop valuing children above and beyond what they are - a cheap and reliable source of labor.

Posted by: CaptainQuint

February 8, 2012 at 6:41 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Jack,off your meds again?

Posted by: cdawg

February 8, 2012 at 7:07 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Fay Free Think: "because they happen to use a separate 3% of their resources to provide the legal *woman's health service* of abortion..."

I don't really care about the Komen vs. Planned Parenthood fight. I do have a couple of points about this debate:

1. This liberal thought process that abortion or contraception is a 'woman's health service' as Fay Free Think states is alarming at best. Since when is a woman's body performing as it should a "health issue". There is nothing wrong. Nobody is in peril. There are no diseases or life threatening complications. The woman is pregnant. She had sex and got pregnant. Nothing more. So how can this be spun into a 'health service'? If she wants an abortion, that is her choice in my opinion. If she wants someone like me to help pay for it, then i have a problem with that. I didn't participate, and i should not have to pay.

2. The current debate over the last couple of days involving contraception and requirements for 'healthcare providers' to provide contraception free of charge. Again, this is no 'healthcare issue'. It is a choice issue. If you choose to use contraception, then fine. I should not have to help pay for your 'choice'. If you want to use a condom, then go buy some. Why should i have to subsidize that purchase through my healthcare premium?

Let's face the facts. This bogus 'healthcare issue' is just that. A political ploy to provide contraception to the liberal voting block free-of-charge to help ensure continued votes. To connect this handout to 'healthcare' is an insult to the intelligence of the American public.

Posted by: fightingthelibs

February 8, 2012 at 11:10 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

FIG: "I don't really care about the Komen vs. Planned Parenthood fight.">>

Sure you don't.

FIG: "liberal thought process that abortion or contraception is a 'woman's health service'... is alarming at best.">>

It shouldn't be "alarming" that it is obviously true that the process of a woman having the medical procedure of an abortion is a "woman's health service." Contraception of course is for men and women.

FIG: "Since when is a woman's body performing as it should a "health issue".

Keeping it that way, is a health issue. Do you have anything in your "fighting libs" tool bag besides silly semantic word games?

FIG: "There is nothing wrong. Nobody is in peril.">>

If a woman needs an abortion service and can't get one, then there is something wrong.

FIG: "There are no diseases or life threatening complications.">>

There are many instances in which a pregnancy can be life threatening. If you need a list, it can be provided.
Also, this is not 1492. When a woman is pregnant there are a whole host of special preventative procedures (pre-natal) that are now routine. PP provides many of these.

FIG: "I didn't participate, and i should not have to pay.">>

Let me bring you up to speed. The Hyde Amendment was passed in 1976 and does not allow federal dollars to go toward abortions. None of the Komen money to PP, went toward abortions. This event happened because an anti-abortion zealot had a vendetta against PP and used her position of power within Komen to persue that vendetta. She underestimated the broad support for PP and it blew up in her face while building greater support for PP.

FIG: 2. 'healthcare providers' to provide contraception free of charge... no 'healthcare issue'.">>

Again with the semantics. Of course contraception is a health care issue, so it falls under the category health insurance. This has been the case for years. If it wasn't for superstitions about contraception among misinformed religious conservatives, this wouldn't be an issue at all.

FIG: "Why should i have to subsidize that purchase through my healthcare premium?">>

The same reason all other health issues are lumped together in your health care premium. Being a man and somewhat deaf on such matters you are probably unaware that the cost of birth control pills is not insignificant for a lot of women.

FIG: "political ploy to provide contraception to the liberal voting block">>

Yes, because conservatives don't use contraception.

I really hope your rightwing nuts are stoopid enough to make contraception an issue in the up coming election. You can learn about how this will go down, here:

"I think contraception is disgusting -- people using each other for pleasure." --Joseph Scheidler, Director, Pro-Life Action League

Posted by: fayfreethinker

February 9, 2012 at 10:40 a.m. ( | suggest removal )