• The Man Takes A Closer Look At The Komen Foundation's Decision To Withdraw Planned Parenthood Funding.

    Update: The Komen Foundation reversed their decision to withhold funding from Planned Parenthood. Too bad it won't reverse the damage this debacle's done to their organization.

    The Susan G. Komen Foundation's seemingly sudden decision to pull funding from Planned Parenthood garnered a great deal of attention these past few days and remains a popular topic in most corners of the Internet. Personally speaking, there's been so many perspectives already written on the topic that I've been vexed about whether it'd be worth offering one of my own, as opposed to just sending readers off to other sites with more detailed info, but I digress.

    Seeing first-hand what breast cancer can do to a family member, I didn't mind giving my support to the Komen Foundation and I found their overall mission to be an admirable one. Detecting breast cancer (or any other type of cancer, for that matter) early on is one of the best ways to ensure that those who have it won't lose their lives over it. Improper screening of another form of cancer allowed it to metastasize into a more serious and deadly condition in another family member. I didn't know about the corporate goings-on behind the scenes, nor about how the foundation spent most of its donations on suing smaller foundations for petty copyright infringements.

    So hearing about the Komen Foundation unceremoniously pulling its funding from Planned Parenthood took me by surprise, given how I didn't expect an organization such as this one to jeopardize itself over what appeared to be a case of ideological weight-slinging. The Komen Foundation gave $680,000 to Planned Parenthood for breast cancer screening and other related services. Not a single dime went to abortion services, something that Planned Parenthood is assumed to be big on. On the contrary, the organization's is largely devoted to testing and treating sexually transmitted diseases, as well as providing contraception and other reproductive health services, especially to those in areas where access to such services are hard to come by. Despite what many people think, Planned Parenthood is not an abortion mill that has fetuses hauled off by the truckload to be reformulated into tofu or stem cell soup or Mitt Romney's toothpaste.

    And let it be known that I don't agree with abortion. Personally, I find it a bit disturbing for someone to casually pull the plug on the beginnings of a new life. On the other hand, I find it repugnant for other people (men, mostly) to tell a woman that 1)she has zero control over her reproductive facilities, 2)she must put up with a choice she does not want, one that will definitely have an impact on her life for quite a long time and 3)she shouldn't expect any help if she decides to accept the choices forced on her. No one bitches about a guy having a vasectomy and if guys could give birth, those little blue pills would be for contraception, not "enhancing" erections.

    Despite the suddenness of the situation, this clusterfuck was months in the making. According to information garnered by Raven Brooks of the Netroots Foundation, the Komen Foundation's board of directors were mulling this decision since sometime last October. One reason given was the threat of investigation by House Representative and avowed anti-abortionist Cliff Stearns, chairman of the Energy & Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations. Planned Parenthood is the current target of such an investigation and fears of being associated with the organization while its under the microscope possibly played a role in the Komen Foundation backing away from Planned Parenthood. Which sounds like a rather flimsy excuse for a revered organization to risk its credibility and reputation; other organizations have weathered worse storms and came out no worse for the wear.

    The other reason possibly lies with one of the people instrumental in operating the foundation.

    That would be Karen Handel, former Georgia Secretary of State, former candidate for Georgia governor in 2010 and current Senior Vice President for Policy at the Komen Foundation. She's also "pro-life" and also an avowed anti-abortionist:

    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.

    Many people are accusing the board of providing cover for what they believe is an ideologically-driven decision by Handel. Others point to a new company-wide rule forbidding the funding of organizations under federal, state or local investigations. Planned Parenthood, by virtue of Sterns' investigation, is the only organization that qualifies, although Penn State's Milton S. Hershey Medical Center may soon lose its five-year, $7.5 million grant, by virtue of the university being under federal investigation over the sexual assault scandal involving Jerry Sandusky and others. That is, if the Komen Foundation is forced to adhere strictly to this internal rule.

    Then again, doing just that, throwing Handel and others overboard or even the restoration of funding to Planned Parenthood won't repair the immeasurable amount of damage that's been done to the foundation. Brooks has a rundown of how Komen essentially fucked up by assuming that no one would get upset over pulling the Planned Parenthood grant and by not getting ahead of the ensuing shitstorm that followed. As of today, Planned Parenthood received over $400,000 in donations and counting while the Komen Foundation stands to lose millions in donations and corporate support. Handel won herself no awards for exacerbating the situation with a seemingly innocent retweet, one that was since rescinded.

    That's Nancy G. Brinker, Founder and CEO of the Susan G. Komen Foundation providing a rather feeble amount of spin to a situation that has devolved into a hot mess for the non-profit.

    I suppose the foundation didn't quite fathom that people would be so up in arms over it making an ill-advised political decision against an organization that's done a great deal to help countless women, especially those without the means to seek more expensive alternatives. Or perhaps they did. Either way, the Susan G. Komen Foundation is paying a huge price. At least one high-ranking official within the foundation resigned and another cites the internal rules regarding the investigations as mere cover for a calculated political decision.

    The Komen board of directors are very politically savvy folks, and I think over time they thought if they gave in to the very aggressive propaganda machine of the anti-abortion groups, that the issue would go away. It seemed very shortsighted to me.

    The rule was created to give the board of directors the excuse to stop the funding of Planned Parenthood. It was completely arbitrary. If they hadn't come up with this particular rule, they would have come up with something else in order to separate themselves from Planned Parenthood.

    The fallout from this terrible decision will only grow in the coming days. As I said before, the Komen Foundation is bound to lose some of its biggest sponsors behind this. David and Angry Black Lady provided the link to a list of the Susan G. Komen Foundation's corporate sponsors, compiled by a number of other Tweeters in a convenient Google Spreadsheet form. It will more than likely take the foundation a long time to come back from this, and given that the board decided to submit itself as a political tool of wrongheaded conservative ideology, the trust factor concerning the foundation's ability to remain apolitical for the sake of women nationwide and around the world is next to nonexistent now.

    To those within the foundation reading this, you've fucked up. Big time.