I read with some dismay that the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation has chosen to stop funding cancer screenings performed by Planned Parenthood.
Okay, that's an understatement. I should say, I was enraged by this news.
As most of the twelve of you who read this space regularly know, I was widowed by breast cancer in 2003. Back when I had money, I gave a bunch to the Susan G. Komen foundation. I even encouraged people to donate to this organization in memory of my late wife Kirsten.
I have had a lot of reservations about Komen: principally the proliferation of hideous pink shit, but also their reluctance to fund investigations of environmental causes of breast cancer lest they annoy their corporate sponsors. (Here is a fine organization investigating environmental causes of breast cancer.) But I gave them money when I had it because they are the biggest clearinghouse for breast cancer research cash.
But now they're refusing to fund cancer screenings performed by Planned Parenthood.
I hardly know where to start with this.
I guess I'll keep it brief. The hypocrisy and cowardice of the Komen foundation are really sickening. This decision is a complete betrayal of their ostensible mission. They would rather have women go unscreened for cancer if they happen to be doing it in a Planned Parenthood clinic.
I abhor people speaking for the dead, and I won't do it here. I don't know what Kirsten would think of this decision or what she would want people to do--people change and surprise you over time, so we can't say what dead people would think. But I can say what I think: Kirsten was a passionate supporter of women's reproductive rights, and for me to give a dime to the organization that rolled over for the anti-sex zealots would seem to me to be a betrayal of her memory.
I'm sick that I ever gave money to these people. I'm sickened that the idea of reproductive health and freedom is controversial. Mostly I'm disgusted with the Komen Foundation. How can you advocate for anything if you're completely spineless? Are you more than just a pink-festooned brand name?
If I want to make a donation to fund breast cancer research, I'll be giving to the Susan Bailis Breast Cancer Research Fund of the Silent Spring Institute, or Beth-Israel Deaconess Hospital, or Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, or The American Cancer Society. But I'm through with Komen. They've done some fine work raising awareness of breast cancer, but that work is done. They won't be getting any more money from me.