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Friday, February 03, 2012

Nope, it's not political. Nosirree Bob it isn't. So why is the Komen Foundation also yanking funds for embryonic stem cell research?
Posted by Jill | 5:43 AM
Can we please stop the last vestiges of pretending that the Susan G. Komen Foundation is about saving lives and recognize it for the wingnut cause money launderer that it is?

They can hide behind vague policies about Congressional investigations in regard to Planned Parenthood if they want to (but then where do we get to see them break off their affiliation with Bank of America?), but it seems they've also decided to end their funding of embryonic stem cell research:
In addition to pulling funds from Planned Parenthood for The Susan G. Komen Foundation also decided to stop funding embryonic stem cell research centers making it fully transparent the organization has evolved from non-political non-profit to a partisan advocacy organization.

That means the loss of $3.75 million to the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, $4.5 million to the University of Kansas Medical Center, $1 million to the U.S. National Cancer Institute, $1 million to the Society for Women’s Health Research, and $600,000 to Yale University. That’s a loss of nearly $12 million dollars in research money to eradicate breast cancer this year alone.

This is a new position for the organization which had previously supported all sorts of scientific research targeted at finding a cure for breast cancer and saving women’s lives. It’s new position is that the organization will categorically no longer support any embryonic stem cell research.

Instead of the loud, clumsy announcement Komen made in severing ties with Planned Parenthood, this is a decision they quietly slipped in during November 2011. After all, with this new pro-life branding you would think the Susan G. Komen Foundation would want to crow about it’s policy change since embryonic stem cell research is an issue near and dear to the anti-choice crowd Komen now serves.

Maybe it’s because there won’t be any gory anti-stem cell research ad running during the Super Bowl this Sunday like Randall Terry’s anti-abortion ad. After all, Karen Handel has made it clear she and Terry share an agenda, and the Komen Foundation has under Handel’s watch closely allied itself with Americans United For Life, the zealously anti-choice group that takes credit for pushing Komen directly and through members of Congress, to sever ties with Planned Parenthood.

The more I read about the Susan G. Komen Foundation, the more I come to realize that despite all the pink imagery and the PR about saving women's lives, this foundation and its founder are all about the right-wing war against what they perceive to be the dirty whores -- meaning all women who don't live the way Michelle Duggar does. What many people think is a worthy cause is just another corporation, partnering with other corporations with no regard to their appropriateness towards the stated cause for which Komen professes to stand.

Here is one blogger's experience with Komen Pinkitude:
I hesitated to write on this topic, partly because I had so many blogs turn pink for me in 2010. They did it as a show of support and I appreciated it more than anyone will ever know. However, turning pink in support and following up with virtual and local assistance is not the same thing as the pink-washing that Komen does day in and day out.

I spent a good portion of the last year mortified about the type of cancer I had. I received a pink basket in the hospital (for my original surgery) filled with pink, plastic items that included a poem and a "tiddy" bear. I was supposed to be cheered up by the poem, as it was about another woman and how she received a fabulous new set of breasts. I was also supposed to be thrilled by the junk in the basket. Instead I was mortified. A gift basket of organic fruit would be one thing (and, yes, we did receive those and loved them), but this was just beyond painful. Rubbing the pink-washing in my face once again. The basket just reminded me that because I had this recent blip, I was supposed to become a member of another club. Well, no, thank you.

Please understand that not everything pink disturbs me and I know that many pink ribbons are truly meant as a sign of support. However, Komen is not supportive. Coloring buckets of fried chicken pink is not supportive. Putting pink ribbons on products that we don't need or want is not supportive. In fact, for many of us, it's a reminder of times we'd rather forget. If anything, Komen was extremely unsupportive when I was diagnosed.

Did they come to my house and cook me meals when I was sick? No, but my friends ensured we were had groceries and dinners for months. Did they visit me in the hospital or take care of my kids? No, but my friends and family made sure that happened. Well, what did they do?

They stepped up their efforts to get money from me. It was almost as if my name was on a new high priority list. As though because I had been diagnosed, I suddenly had the ability and desire to give to an organization that, in my opinion, has done little towards their supposed goal. It took three letters from me and three phone calls from Peter to have my name removed from their mailing list.

Over the long haul, this may turn out to be a blessing in disguise, if it gets us talking about, and really looking at, the mega-charities to which so many Americans donate. I used to work for a company that did investment consulting for large nonprofits, and it's astounding the amount of money these groups that send us envelopes filled with greeting cards and address labels and authentic Native American dreamcatchers have to work with. I decided a long time ago that I will not support any organization that sends me swag. I won't succumb to the guilt factor that always accompanies these "gifts", and I also won't support organizations that have this stuff made up to try to guilt people into donating. My donations are small and local. $100 to the ASPCA is just one in a pile of donations that pay for those two-minute-long television ads that plague the airwaves. $100 to one of my local animal organizations pays for inoculations and food. For me to really make a difference, I'm better off donating to charities that serve my local community. It isn't that I don't care about the larger world, it's just that I'd rather make a real difference to ten cats or three people than be just another check.

Here's something else to ponder: If you go over to the Komen Foundation's web site, you have to really search to find "About Susan G. Komen." It's there, but it's in the faint black font at the very top of the page, overshadowed by, among other things, a link to "Shop Komen". Somewhere along the line, the real life of a real woman has been lost a second time.

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Anonymous cabochon said...
I'm with you on how to give to charity--give as locally as much as possible so that you can see benefit accruing to the actual persons or animals the group is set up to help. I get TONS of unwanted notepads and address stickers from the "big" charities and always think of a book on effective giving I once read that advised not to give to assuage guilt for having been sent unsolicited items.

Anonymous Labrys said...
And if it is not political, why are the Komenites also kissing up to the Right by offering a commemorative pink-slide decorated GUN instead of funding actual preventatives?

Maybe they are Compassionate Conservatives? Just shoot yourselves ladies, if you get cancer and can't afford to pay for your scans.

Blogger Jen said...
Thank you for linking to my post. I have received an overwhelming amount of support! I have heard from many who feel the same way about Komen and pink-washing and it is quite a relief to know I am not alone.

Blogger BadTux said...
AMEN on the give locally. I give to a local food kitchen and to a local homeless shelter. I know where the money is going, and it is *not* going into a million-dollar salary for the head of the charity or a big PR campaign on national TV.

- Badtux the Local Penguin

Blogger Pangolin said...
I'm with you. If I can't talk, in person, to the person receiving the funds I don't give. Pink ribbons all over the Safeway just makes me feel like they're selling cancer like chips.

Anonymous m Andrea said...
Er, I was going to share this on facebook, and even with a direct link to this post, all that shows up in the preview is the headline tag (and chirpy slogan) for your blog.

which is so confusing to viewers given the nature of the post itself, that I decided not to share.

However, it's a good post, so thank you!

Blogger Jill said...
Andrea, you can change both the title and blurb when you link on Facebook. Just click in the boilerplate text and type.

Blogger Jen said...
Andrea, I would be thrilled if you shared it on FB and thanks, Jill!