Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.
Thursday, December 8, 2016

Komen Caves To The Far Right — And Poor Women Pay

The Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation has severed its ties with Planned Parenthood.

As a result, hundreds of thousands of dollars — nearly $700,000 last year alone — no longer will fund breast cancer screenings and other breast-related services for low-income and uninsured women at 19 Planned Parenthood affiliates across the country.

Poof! Gone.

Komen made the decision in December, but the news didn’t get out until this week. Before Komen went into lockdown mode, a spokeswoman told The Associated Press that this decision had nothing to do with the relentless pressure from anti-abortion groups that want to drive Planned Parenthood into extinction.

So why did an extremist anti-abortion group brag online about the funding cuts two weeks before Komen told Planned Parenthood?

On Dec. 2, 2011, Doug Scott, president of Life Decisions International, announced on its Facebook page that Komen was off its boycott list because it no longer was funding Planned Parenthood.

“Please keep in mind that if the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation deserved to be included in The Boycott List, it would still be there,” he wrote. “There is reason to celebrate. Just do not do it too loudly.”

That post has since evaporated.

Poof! Gone.

When I asked Scott how he had found out about the cuts, he hesitated and then started to laugh. “I probably shouldn’t comment on that, actually. It’s probably best if I say nothing.”

When I asked whether he’d heard it from the Susan G. Komen foundation, he laughed again.

“Might be true we heard it from Susan G. Komen. Might not be true. Maybe I heard it from an organization affiliated with Komen. Or maybe I heard it from an organization affiliated with an organization affiliated with Komen.” More laughter. “How’s that for confusing?”

On Dec. 16, Komen President Elizabeth Thompson finally told Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards that their relationship was over. Rules are rules, she said, and Komen’s had changed to prohibit funding for organizations under government investigation.

This is how easy it is to trigger that new rule: Last September, a single member of Congress — in this instance, anti-choice Republican Rep. Cliff Stearns — called for an audit of Planned Parenthood, which has long been a target of conservatives. Komen threw up its collective hands and claimed it had no choice but to abandon thousands of women who depend on Planned Parenthood affiliates for breast cancer screenings.