Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Planned Parenthood and Komen for the Cure

As the son of a breast-cancer survivor, this one really rubs me the wrong way. Susan G. Komen for the Cure is one of this country's largest fundraising organizations for breast cancer research and treatment. Planned Parenthood is at the forefront of women's preventative health care in this country, and has been for decades. 

That Komen would provide funding for breast cancer screenings for women in need at Planned Parenthoood really should be a no brainer, right? 

Well, it has been, until right-wing extremists have decided to go after all of Planned Parenthood's funding sources, and until after Komen hired an extreme right-wing ideologue, someone who ran for Governor of a state with a platform of stripping Planned Parenthood's funding, to be its Vice President

Before we go any further, though, let's get a few things straight. Planned Parenthood is not an 'abortion organization,' as some in the right-wing would like the rest of us to believe. It's a women's health organization, first and foremost. If a conservative tells you they want to strip Planned Parenthood of its funding because PP is all about 'abortions,' they're either dumb or lying.

Some small number of Planned Parenthood locations do provide women with that procedure, but it's funded and operated separately from the rest of the entire organization. The bulk of everything else that Planned Parenthood does is women's health issues, like providing preventative care (for example, breast cancer screenings) for women who otherwise couldn't afford it or who lived in areas where such care is difficult to find.

Planned Parenthood provides these rather mundane, but lifesaving, services to hundreds of thousands of women. They're on the front line of preventative medicine for women in this country. The funding Komen has provided up until now saw to it that 170,000 women in need got breast cancer screenings in the past 5 years alone. These are women who likely wouldn't have otherwise had any access to the screenings.

Breast cancer is usually very treatable -- when caught early. How many of those 170,000 women were saved because of those screenings? Now, how many of those 170,000 people in the next five years will die because they weren't screened early enough? Those are two questions all of us should be asking ourselves the next time Komen comes around asking for a donation. 

I, for one, will be finding some other organization when I give toward curing and treating breast cancer in the future.

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