I should have known better than to go to sleep with a half-written piece in the midst of a 24-hour news cycle on this one. However, I was pleased to greet the news that Komen is reversing its decision to defund Planned Parenthood, and so I begin again.
The news is good, and not for me. It is good for the thousands upon thousands of women’s whose lives depend on the healthcare provided by Planned Parenthood, women whose cancer is discovered or minds set at ease thanks to the breast cancer screenings provided. THOSE are the women we can’t lose site of in this controversy.
I find interesting, though, yesterday’s reports from Komen that their donations had gone up thanks to the decision, and continued to insist it was not a politically-motivated decision, despite conflicting information from internal sources. Is this more Komen pandering? Or have our voices been heard?
Perhaps it was the internal resignations. Perhaps an article here and there highlighting, for example, the $7.5M allocated to Penn State that should be as questionable as the $600,000 to Planned Parenthood, if in fact the bar is now about organizations undergoing investigation. Perhaps (and would there it were so!), it is the voices of so many advocates who have talked, tweeted, blogged and begged Komen to hear a broader range of voices on issues related to how funds are managed and allocated by the single biggest breast cancer charity in the world.
Sun up. New day. Komen has apologized to the American public and declared that they want to move forward and focus on their mission. Excuse my skepticism, for I believe this is likely another Komen marketing strategy to get back into the good graces of donating Americans. But…let’s hope for the best.
The challenge for Komen remains, at it’s core, that very mission. As stated on Komen’s website, their mission, or “promise” in Komen parlance is:
The Susan G. Komen for the Cure promise: to save lives and end breast cancer forever by empowering people, ensuring quality of care for all and energizing science to find the cures.
Save lives? How about the unquestioned Komen partnership with Discount Gun Sales? Or the still-carcinogen-laded Promise Me perfume? The list of Komen partnerships that actually endanger women’s lives, everyone’s lives, is long.
Empowering women? Yes…I certainly agree Komen has had success in that regard. The online outpouring of support and praise from those women who’s lives were positively impacted, most while undergoing cancer treatment, is very much a feather in Komen’s cap. As a survivor I know that support, even online, can be a saving grace. It matters, and I hope Komen keeps it up!
Ensuring quality care? Perhaps, with the Planned Parenthood fiasco behind them, Komen can actually focus on ensuring that quality care, most especially to those women (and men) who need it most, can remain a lifeline, and NOT subject to political pressure ever again!
But ultimately, in choosing to the name “Susan G Komen for the Cure” perhaps the foundation of the Komen mission needs to be a cure. Perhaps it is time for Komen to hear the panoply of voices from women who, often in the midst of our own treatment, work tirelessly to demand real change. Perhaps it is time for both energy and dollars to be directed at our ultimate goal.
This is the moment when change CAN happen. When more voices can be invited to the table. When we can come together to strategize, plan, envision and fight to eradicate this disease. Isn’t it tim