Thursday, February 2, 2012

Pink is Out: Komen Goes Political and Planned Parenthood Takes a Hit

Those little pink ribbons might not be all the rage any more. At least not among a significant segment of the population now that the Susan G. Komen Foundation has halted its grants to Planned Parenthood. The grants were there to provide breast cancer examinations for hundreds of thousands of women who have no other means to receive, or pay for them. It is presumably, among other things, what the Komen  Foundation was established to do

Recently, however, the foundation adopted a policy of not providing grants to organizations who are currently being investigated by congress. That investigation was provided by Congressman Cliff Stearns, R Fl, who is the chairman of the house oversight and investigations sub committee. Stearns, a rabid anti choice, conservative is basing this investigation on a report submitted by an outfit known as Americans United for Life. The report charges Planned Parenthood with mis-use of federal funds, ie taxpayer money going for abortions. And just for fun and good measure adds charges of failing to report child sex abuse and assisting sex traffickers. The "AUL" website is proud to note that is the nation's premier pro life non profit public interest law and policy organization. In other words they get to "investigate" tax free and are hardly unbiased.

Although similar charges last year were thoroughly debunked Stearns has pressed ahead making absolutely no headway whatsoever and in the process thrown away who knows how many tax dollars on his own. The conduct of Stearns and the AUL should be of no surprise to anyone. There are three entities that drive conservatives into frothing rages consisting of bulging red faces, protruding veins, and lycanthropic glares. One is public broadcasting be it radio or television, the next is the National Endowment for Arts, and the last is, of course, Planned Parenthood.

The surprise here is that the Komen people caved into this nonsense. Planned Parenthood head, Cecile Richards says she was shocked and was quoted as saying "women's health is becoming a disturbing political issue."

Or should it be a shock? Last year Komen hired Karen Handel as a senior vice president. She was a former gubernatorial candidate in Georgia who ran on a stern anti-choice platform and has publicly opposed any funds going to Planned Parenthood. The founder and head of Komen is former Bush ambassador and republican, Nancy Brinker. Maybe Richards should have seen this coming.

Of course she probably had the naive idea that women's health should be a bi partisan, non political issue. Silly her. She forgot who she was dealing with.

So the immediate and short term result of all this is that Planned Parenthood has seen an extreme spike in donations and Brinker is on talk shows everywhere spouting gibberish about how all this has been mis-characterized. Meanwhile if you do go to the AUL web site the banner at the top of the page will be a rather large advertisement asking you to "Race for the Cure" with the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

Who knows what it will mean for Planned Parenthood and Komen in the long term, or more importantly for the health of women throughout the country.

The only thing certain is that attacks from the far right will never cease and there is no depth to which they will refuse to sink in order to force their social and religious agenda on the majority of Americans. A night of the long knives is not out of the question if these beasts ever get into real power.


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