Here's the latest on the Susan G. Komen Foundation's decision to defund breast-cancer screenings for poor women at Planned Parenthood clinics across the country, including information on how to let Komen know you're disappointed in their decision (and how to donate to Planned Parenthood):
1) The Atlantic reports that the top public-health official, Mollie Williams, at the Komen Foundation resigned over the group's decision to defund Planned Parenthood. Williams was responsible for directing the distribution of $93 million in annual grants.
According to the Atlantic, "John Hammarley, who until recently served as Komen's senior communications adviser and who was charged with managing the public relations aspects of Komen's Planned Parenthood grant, said that Williams believed she could
not honorably serve in her position once Komen had caved to pressure from the anti-abortion right."
2) New reporting reveals that Komen officials knew that Planned Parenthood would be the only organization affected by a new Komen rule barring the group fron funding groups under Congressional investigation. Komen's public-policy VP, Karen Handel, and its president, Elizabeth Thompson, adopted the rule with the full awareness that it would result in Komen disassociating from Planned Parenthood. Handel, the former secretary of state of Georgia, is an avowed anti-choicer, who said during her unsuccessful gubernatorial campaign, “since I am pro-life, I do not support the mission of Planned Parenthood.”
3) Ms. magazine theorizes that the real reason Komen backed off from funding Planned Parenthood's breast screenings was pressure from Komen's corporate funders, including Coca-Cola, Yoplait, and dozens of other corporations.
"Nothing causes a business to stop in its tracks faster than the fear of a) losing money, and b) bad publicity," Ms.'s Mara Einstein writes. "It is not that anti-choicers have so much influence on Komen; it’s that they can have so much influence on Komen’s
sponsors." Of course, Komen's anti-choice move has backfired, prompting a petition, Twitter campaign, and barrage of negative Facebook comments.
4) Some smart thoughts on Komen's decision from Amanda Marcotte and Twisty Faster.
Choice quote from the former: "The pink ribbon on a product used to symbolize health, safety, and a general pro-woman attitude. Now, for increasing numbers of women, it symbolizes capitulation to the belief that women don’t deserve healthcare that addresses
all their needs, not just those above the belt. We need to let corporations know that if they want to market to women, they have to market to the whole woman, the one who has a vagina as well as a more PG-friendly pair of breasts."
And from the latter: "Listen everyone, Komen doesn’t prevent cancer, and Komen doesn’t pay for breast cancer treatment. It “raises awareness” through “early detection” and funds “research” focused on pharmaceutical cures for cancers that many of Komen’s corporate sponsors might likely have a hand in causing in the first place."
5) Much more on PP VP Handel, who, Washington Monthly notes, was endorsed by Sarah Palin.
6) But wait! Look at all the awesome pink garbage you can buy to help Komen, including a pastel-pink Smith and Wesson handgun!
7) New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg personally pledged today to make up a large portion of the money Komen previously contributed---$250,000 in matching grants, out of $700,000 Komen is withdrawing from the organization.
8) Find your local Komen office here, and donate to your local Planned Parenthood here. And here's a list of Komen alternatives, if you want to support breast cancer research and help for poor women with breast cancer without opposing reproductive rights.