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This morning the Susan G. Komen foundation reversed it’s decision and will honor its pledge to Planned Parenthood and the thousands of women who have no other means of health care. If some out there question whether Facebook, Twitter, and the rest of social media matter, this is another example that shows the power of the masses. In the last few months we have seen corporations like Verizon and Bank of America reverse decisions to impose new fees and now this, all based on outrage created online.
Now that people are paying attention, we must ask ourselves why in the United States do some women (or people in general) need to count on charity for health care?
Yesterday I posted on my Facebook page that the Susan G. Komen Foundation, the group that has “The Race For The Cure” and started the pink ribbon campaign, announced they were cutting all the money they give to Planned Parenthood for mammograms and breast cancer screenings. There is outrage all over the internet that a charity has given in to political pressure.
Planned Parenthood has been on the Republican’s radar since 2010 because they provide abortion services at some of their facilities. The facts are that only 3% of all of their services have anything to do with abortion, and it is illegal for them to use any of the money they receive from the government to go to those services. Planned Parenthood is the only health provider for many women in poor urban settings. Defunding Planned Parenthood, as every Republican presidential candidate says they will do, is taking an essential healthcare provider for women out of the neighborhoods that need it most.
Now let’s get back the Susan G. Komen foundation. I don’t think we should be surprised by this move. It fits in perfectly with what the mission of founder Nancy Brinker has been. Let’s look at some facts about this foundation.
- Brinker was a top donor to George W. Bush when he ran for Governor of Texas as well as when he ran for President. As a thank you for her money she was appointed the ambassador of Hungary.
- The Komen Foundation has lobbied Congress AGAINST a patients bill of rights since the 1980’s.
- Komen uses lobbyist Rae Evans in Washington. Evans is also the lobbyist for Brinker’s husband’s businesses which include Chili’s, Steak and Ale, and Bennigan’s. Evans has said himself he has no use for advocacy or grassroots organizations. Brinker’s husband, also on the board of the foundation, has used his ties to his business and the National Restaurant Association (now of Herman Cain fame) to lobby and fight again numerous health care bills that would have helped the women the Komen foundation pretends to represent. The Komen foundation also just happens to own almost $200,000 in Brinker’s husbands restaurant business.
- In Food and Drug Administration hearings, the Komen Foundation was the only national breast cancer group to endorse the cancer treatment drug tamoxifen despite being opposed by other breast cancer groups because of its links to uterine cancer. The company that produces the drug, AstraZeneca, has long been a Komen supporter, making educational grants to Komen and having a visible presence at the Race For the Cure.
- The Komen foundation has tried over the years in Washington to deny any link between the environment and cancer even though there are studies that show a link. Could the reason be that chemical giant Occidental Corporation gives the Komen Foundation 4000 square feet of offices in Dallas? Publicly the foundation will talk in platitudes about the environment but with Occidental they lobbied in 2000 and 2001 for looser EPA air, water and chemical regulations at the same time government researchers reported auto and industrial emissions caused cancer.
- Komen’s new VP is Karen Handel. She is a Republican who ran for Governor of Georgia. She has always had Planned Parenthood on her radar, and now she has a chance to do real damage. She said “I will be a pro-life governor who will work tirelessly to promote a culture of life in Georgia. … I believe that each and every unborn child has inherent dignity, that every abortion is a tragedy, and that government has a role, along with the faith community, in encouraging women to choose life in even the most difficult of circumstances. …since I am pro-life, I do not support the mission of Planned Parenthood.”
There are a lot of good people trying to do a lot of good work in defeating cancer and in this case breast cancer. Many charities have ties to politicians and Washington. I don’t want to make it sound like the Susan G. Komen foundation is alone in that. However, they are alone in that they seem to stand with only one political party and with one way of thinking. Over the last 30 years while giving millions to help women with breast cancer they have used their money and political clout to also setback women’s health at many different turns. Their board members sit on boards of General Electric, pharmaceutical companies, and companies that have in the past put profits over healthcare. That is their mission as a corporation, and we can deal with that. We should not have to deal with charities taking money from well meaning people and giving to the people who at the best are not helping and at the worst may be increasing the amount of cancer victims in the United States. Do your research and find a charity that gives to the cause you stand for, and we will all be better off for it.