Dissing the Susan G Komen Foundation would have once seemed like shitting all over motherhood, the flag and apple pie. This week, however, the Foundation hascut off funding to Planned Parentohood for MAMMOGRAMS. This is as egregious a case of institutional malakatude and cowardice as I’ve ever seen. Women could die as a result of this “policy shift.’
The best thing I’ve read on this subject was by the fabulousMary Elizabeth Williams who is herself fighting a virulent form of cancer:
Along the way, Komen has become the McDonald’s of cancer — an easy-to-remember brand with a logo that demands little thought or effort from the consumer. Write a check, buy a ribbon, voila! You get to feel like you’re curing cancer.
It’s not that Komen is some questionable, Wyclef Jean-esque mess. It gets high marks from both theBetter Business Bureau and Charity Navigator. Yet this is an organization that has repeatedly come under fire for its extravagant promotion of itself as an organization dedicated to a “cure,” when only a small portion of its expenses go to, you know, curing cancer. Komen itself cops to portioning just24 percent of its funds to research – and 20 percent to fundraising and administration. For an organization with reported revenues ofnearly $350 million, that’s still a lot of money for research. It’s an awful lot for itself, too.
This is a problem I often have with establishment charities: only a small slice of their bounteous funds are spent on research. How expensive can all those pink ribbons be? A mere 20% for research is obscene. What they should do is spend some money on a backbone and refuse to cave into political pressure from crazy people who value the “unborn” more than the born. The Komen Foundation can fold one of their pink ribbons five ways and stick it where the moon don’t shine…
I’ll let Mary Elizabeth have the last word about the Foundation’s malakatude:
Women’s healthcare is not about lace-trimmed scarves and bottles of perfume. It’s sure as hell not about some feel-good, lip-service version of what my colleagueRebecca Traister calls “infantilizing Pepto-ed advocacy.” It’s not even — for anyone still stupid enough to think Planned Parenthood is some giant fetus-killing complex — about abortion. It’s about screening. It’s about treatment. It’s just that simple. The further away an organization gets from that mission, the more women suffer. It’s just that simple too. And you don’t make good on a “promise” to your dead sister by selling out women who need you most.