The crowds went wild – and not in a good way – at the news that Susan G. Komen for the Cure was de-funding Planned Parenthood based on a newly-created “guideline” that it wouldn’t fund an organization that was under federal investigation. The crowds got more than a little rowdy when it came to light that the “investigation” in question was one cooked up by right-wingnut, anti-choicer Republican Representative Cliff Stearns.
The crowds trashed the stadium when it was learned that a Komen higher-up, Karen Handel, had run for governor in Georgia on a campaign of anti-choice and anti-Planned Parenthood. Pink ribbons were hung in effigy. Celebrities tweeted their dismay. NY Mayor Bloomberg pledged a quarter mil of his own money as a contribution to Planned Parenthood, as did a Texas couple. Planned Parenthood’s coffers overflowed with public support – as well they should have.
Komen reacted as many recent corporations who face the risk of losing oodles of money do when called on the carpet for wrongdoing – it caved. Perhaps it feared an “Occupy Komen” in its future. For whatever reason, Komen offered a limp apology to the public, changed its “investigation” criteria “to make clear that disqualifying investigations must be criminal and conclusive in nature and not political. That is what is right and fair,” and announced the reinstatement of Planned Parenthood funding eligibility.
All is well with the world. Well, no, it actually isn’t.
Karen Handel is still installed as Senior Vice President of Public Policy (I hope that’s nothing like “PR” – epic fail there) – and many of us believe she is the evil mastermind of the new Komen “guideline,” as well as the Stearns investigation, both of which were solely intended to de-fund Planned Parenthood. This is a woman who ran a failed campaign for Georgia governor on an anti-choice platform, announcing, “since I am pro-life, I do not support the mission of Planned Parenthood.” This is a woman who re-tweeted a Tweet in the midst of the firestorm which took a swipe at Planned Parenthood and sneered, “cry me a freaking river.” (Though she tried to delete the tweet, she has now learned what a useful tool a screen grab is.)
And Nancy Brinker, pal of George W. Bush and the founder and CEO of Komen – she had to have been up to her neck in the scheming going on behind the scenes to de-fund Planned Parenthood. Her interview with MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell was an epic fail; her explanations were webs of confusion; and her answers to pointed questions just didn’t emerge. As Butter Believer reported, with graphs and charts and statistics, Komen isn’t exactly a charity’s charity, is top-heavy with administrative overhead, and doesn’t exactly live up to its mission of curing cancer.
Not only that, but Komen has withdrawn financial support for stem cell research. And not only that, but Komen never even said it would fund Planned Parenthood again – it said Planned Parenthood would now be eligible since that pesky little right-wing-run witch-hunt is no longer a deal breaker. Eligibility . . . well, that sounds like a lot less of a guarantee than I’m comfortable with – how about you?
Overall, it seems that Komen snuck Karen Handel in through the back door, all hush hush (either that, or progressives had so assumed the Komen brand to be one of integrity that we never questioned its inner workings), let her work her evil, and are now standing by her amidst a gathering cry for her ouster. Thing is, they should oust Handel – but Komen probably realizes that, Handel or not, it’s lost its credibility in the marketplace of public opinion. If it doesn’t pack Handel’s bags in speedy fashion, it may as well publicly ally itself with the anti-choice faction – but that’s not a good place to be for an organization that claims to fight for womens’ health.
Of course, Komen is between a rock and a hard place: Fund Planned Parenthood and the anti-choice zealots breathe fire; de-fund it and progressives who’ve firmly supported its cause withdraw support and trash it on Facebook and Twitter and blogs.
What I want to see is Komen brought to its knees financially, Karen Handel fired, Nancy Brinker demoted by the Board to something less than a clerk – and I want to see progressives reject Komen anyway, and spend their time, energy, money and public support on bolstering Planned Parenthood.
Poetic justice, yes . . . and justice delayed is justice denied.
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