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« Grief: Is it a mental disorder? | Main | Nerd sweat, conservation of (prasad) »

February 02, 2012

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Sujatha, thanks for commenting on the Komen fiasco on our blog. The backlash against this has been unprecedented. I hope that message is loud and clear. Planned Parenthood has been the whipping dog for social conservatives for too long. Whatever one thinks of abortion, the fact that many women use the organization for crucial health services (including contraception, the most effective measure against abortion) is lost on its politically and religiously motivated opponents. I am hoping especially that the demagogues in congress are taking note.

P Z Myers has some comments on charitable donations to breast cancer foundations.

That didn't take long.

Oh no, we shall be drowned in the Ocean of Pink again, come October!

I suspect that Brinker, Handel et al. must have gotten the message, not only from large chunks of their donors, but quite a few of the corporate sponsors who saw the usefulness of Pinkwashing to be slipping away from their coffers, with the Komen Foundation's mucky makeover.

All Hail People Power!

I actually had no idea the leadership of Komen & Co. was a big botoxed Republican. Yecch. I won't trust them again with my tiny annual contribution. If they back down from defunding PP, it won't be for real. Maybe whoever has an interest in women's health, especially the health of women who are poor, should just give what they can afford to Planned Parenthood.

Elatia, if you read the PZ Myers article that Ruchira linked to in her comment, it's evident that SGK isn't all bad. Lot of good studies and research have been funded, and they do have a pretty comprehensive and non-fearmongering website with useful information on breast cancer and resources. But the fundraising thing became a monster that took on a life of its own, and once it began to thrive on the blood from corporations that had vested interests, the foundation and its promotions became a huge elaborate smokescreen for more unsavory stuff.
Judging by the involvement of Handel, Ari Fleischer and others, it seems to have morphed into a right-wing Trojan horse, which has now been unmasked for what it is now.
The 'apology' may not do it much good with the donors that it has lost, they will now be looking at it without the rose-colored spectacles.

Few things are as political as substituting religion for science, criminalizing sexual orientation and gender identity, pulling breast cancer detection out from under poor women, and the confiscation of women's control over their own reproduction. This is but an example of a faith-based nihilism - better to destroy people and institutions, utterly, than be tolerant and respectful.

@ Elatia:

If I may edit one of your phrases - "...a big botoxed, and surgically altered, Republican."

- I don't understand why Komen didn't do the obvious thing to start with and simply clarify that their funding of PP was narrowly tailored toward breast cancer prevention and screening.

- I'm struck too by how much less clout pro-lifers have in the breast cancer pinkness gig than their opponents. Presumably Komen gets a lot more money from pro-choice people and organizations than it does from pro-lifer ones. This is surprising, the more so since abortion support/opposition itself is not really gendered according to polls.

- Will Wilkinson made an amusing observation before Komen did backtracked:

By itself, the predictable way this episode has everyone hunkering down in the familiar culture war trenches is completely boring. What's interesting is that Komen and Planned Parenthood are both largely admirable organizations doing necessary and urgent work for women's health, and this controversy is going to work out well for both of them. Had Planned Parenthood and the Komen Foundation colluded to profit by riling our culture's warring tribes, they couldn't have done it much better.

Norman: Did you see this? So much for the 'no politics' claim. http://blogs.ajc.com/mike-luckovich/2012/02/02/22-mike-luckovich-cartoon-komen-controversy/

Prasad: Komen could have quietly altered their policies, except that some pro-life groups tried to play up the 'win' for their side and crowed about it in the media. The net result was intensive lobbying and negative comments on the social media that just exploded like a time bomb before Brinker et al. could put together a coherent response that didn't have a political subtext. Even the backtracking is just a stance.
Going forward, I think PP has won the war of the donors, while Komen will no longer command the Pink cachet that it once had with the less political stance. The whole episode may not blow over as easily for Komen Foundation as I had thought initially, or Will Wilkinson (background, Cato Institute, Koch-brothers funded libertarian thinktank) posits.
I think that Komen has managed to poison their name both with the pro-choice and pro-life factions, and will lose out on the count. PP was never going to get the pro-life support, but they will now be the beneficiaries at the cost of SGK.

Sujatha, I think that's the surprise for me...that there was so much more opposition from the cultural left than there was support from the cultural right. I suppose they miscalculated, but more than that I think they simply goofed; they should never have made so inept a decision, but having made it they might as well have stuck to their guns. Now, as you say, no-one likes them.
Re Wilkinson, I know of his background, though it doesn't "bother" me particularly when it comes to reading him regularly. In any case, he's a left-libertarian in the sense of being socially liberal, so on abortion he's on my side.

@ Prasad:

"-I don't understand why Komen didn't ... [etc]."

That's because the change of policy was coordinated with the nuisance investigation that was concocted in Congress. This was a deliberate attempt at a take down of PP and any-and-all people whom they serve. This is not just pro-life vs pro-choice. This is pro-life with a big dose of anti-women who are poor and want to control their own reproduction.

In another news story, Brinker talked about what she does for all women, then made the point that she is not a feminist. I could care less whether she is a feminist or not. However, her litany of pro-women accomplishments that was wedded to "I am not a feminist," was an attempt to marginalize feminists when it comes to who is looking out for the needs of women. This woman is about as politically savvy as they come, and she plays here political cards very, very well.

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