Susan G. Komen–Run Over Foward and Reverse

There’s backlash– like when the Susan G. Komen Foundation lost respect and donors for its proposal to end its breast cancer screening program with Planned Parenthood, and then there’s whiplash–where you get slammed coming and going. From Raw Story…

The Archdiocese of Atlanta has told Roman Catholic organizations in the region to cut off their support for the Susan G. Komen breast cancer charity because it provides grants to Planned Parenthood.

“Until recently, donations to the greater Atlanta affiliate of the Komen fund did not constitute a direct cooperation with evil, because none of the money they raised went to Planned Parenthood,” Pat Chivers, communications director of the Archdiocese of Atlanta, said in a statement.

Earlier this year Komen decided to halt grants to Planned Parenthood, but the charity reversed course after a public outcry. Funds from Komen helped underwrite cancer screenings at Planned Parenthood health centers for more than 170,000 lower-income women in the last five years.

So if Susan G. Komen suffered a public relations disaster that left them run over in forward and reverse, should we blame the driver? Goodness no, former SGK president Karen Handel was a victim– and she has a book out…

The former Susan G. Komen for the Cure executive who orchestrated the organization’s controversial and short-lived break from Planned Parenthood earlier this year, is out with a new book claiming that the funding dispute was all Planned Parenthood’s fault. In “Planned Bullyhood,” Karen Handel claims that Planned Parenthood turned its back on a “gentlewomen’s agreement” to not discuss the fact that Komen was withdrawing $680,000 a year in grants for breast cancer screenings through the organization’s clinics and then turned on Komen in a PR blitz.

Handel, an anti-choice activist and former GOP candidate who reportedly pushed the move within Komen, resigned shortly after the news of the break caused a national firestorm.

In interviews with right-wing radio hosts Janet Mefferd and Janet Parshall last week, Handel portrays herself as the victim of bullying by the “vicious” Planned Parenthood. She tells Mefferd that Planned Parenthood launched “a mafia-style attack” and that “Komen was held hostage for a mere $680,000.” She sees a double standard in the fact that President Obama didn’t call her after she was criticized, “like he did Sandra Fluke”:

I love that, “a mere $680,000. You don’t hear that kind of relaxed attitude toward money at fundraisers. It must be a 1% thing that I wouldn’t understand.

What I do understand is the women I have met in the course of my work as a nurse, who told me that they had to skip mammograms and doctor’s care for lack of insurance, and were far along when they finally got diagnosed with breast cancer. What I do understand is that Planned Parenthood, the RI Women’s Cancer Screening Program and the Community Health Centers are working in conjunction with hospitals and Medicaid to save women’s lives.

It’s unfortunate that SGK decided to hire a president who attempted to get them in the limousine with the party that promises to cut the very safety net that rescues not only poor women, but women who are between insurances and not wealthy. She lost control of the wheel and wants to blame the road.

Women do want affordable, accessible health care and contraception for themselves and their daughters. Attempting to cut off and discredit Planned Parenthood was an unpopular move, and the fact that it’s a no win with the religious right could have been predicted.

There are many fine charities that will gratefully accept your donations to fight breast cancer. And let’s not forget our government institutions like the National Institutes of Health and Centers for Disease Control that some day may give us an answer– what are the causes of this awful disease? What can we do to prevent it?

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