To Karen Handel and the Susan G. Komen Foundation:
Just in case you missed the basic human anatomy lesson they gave you in your junior high sex education class, here's a useful little fact about the female body:
MY BREASTS ARE NOT LOCATED IN MY UTERUS.
No, really. Its true. Pinky swear.
I haven't been too thrilled in the past years over the flood of pink (PINK! OMG PINK! BUYING PINK THINGS CURES CANCER!) and the clear contempt for consumers that the whole pink ribbon fiasco has displayed. You trained us well. We see a pink ribbon and our little brains automatically start processing. "Must. Buy. Pink. Spatula. Save. Women." How many of the advertising dollars for the damn pink ribbon actually went to fund research? How many went to executive salaries? How many (the bigger question, really) just went straight into the pockets of the people smart enough to stick pink shit on their products?
After more than a quarter century, no one doubts that the Komen Foundation has the most brand name recognition and political power of any of a number of charities focused on raising public awareness, providing screening and education and funding research for a cure for breast cancer. But as time has gone by and you've grown bigger, there have been plenty of questions raised about just how much you're actually doing to cure cancer and how much you're doing to line your own pockets.
Still, though, I've donated to friends who took part in your Race for the Cure events. I'm not a breast cancer survivor, it doesn't run in my family, but I had my own lump scare and I take getting my annual mammograms pretty seriously.
In 2009-10, Planned Parenthood provided almost 750,000 breast exams through its 840 health centers. Karen, thats a LOT OF BOOBS. Did you know that fully 14.5% of Planned Parenthood services provided were for cancer screening and prevention? And did you know that a mere 3% of services provided by Planned Parenthood are for abortions? Yep. Just 3% Planned Parenthood, in case you weren't aware, does a hell of a lot more than provide parking lots for anti-abortion protesters to carry signs and yell chants and places for pro-life wingnuts to hold shoot-a-baby-killer parties. Planned Parenthood is seriously involved in the business of improving health, not just for women but for people everywhere. They provide prenatal services, colonoscopies, STD screenings and treatment. They do adoption referrals.
I also take women's health as an overall issue pretty damn seriously. Yesterday, you cited a federal probe (which you know damned good and well was probably politically motivated) to pull funding that provided mammogram screening from Planned Parenthood. I'm not certain how it helps prevent or cure breast cancer by pulling funding from an organization that provides low-cost screenings to women, but there you go. I'm sure you have a really, really good reason, because otherwise I'm sure you're getting my breasts confused with the politics surrounding my uterus. WHICH IS NOT WHERE MY BREASTS ARE.
Picture by Lian Maris
****UPDATED 2/3/2012 The Susan G. Komen foundation announced today that it has reversed its decision on funding cuts and will continue to fund Planned Parenthood's existing grants as well as continue PP's eligibility for future grants. Now lets everyone get back to the business of preventing and curing cancer.