Friday, February 3, 2012

The Power of Pink

What a fast-moving story! 

My students (always on their smart phones) alerted me during class on Wednesday to the controversy over Susan G. Komen for the Cure ending its $700,000 per year grants to the Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

On Thursday pro-choice vs. pro-life forces waged war via Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr.  Even Judy Blume tweeted: "Susan Komen would not give in to bullies or to fear.  Too bad the foundation bearing her name did."

Today Komen reversed its decision and promised to restore funding to Planned Parenthood.

Apparently last December Susan G. Komen for the Cure informed Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) that its annual grants of about $700,000 would be ended.

On Wednesday a board member of Komen reported that the decision was related to pressure from anti-abortion organizations and churches such as the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. Louis and the Southern Baptist Convention.

Though Komen donates to Planned Parenthood only about 1% of its annual $93 million per year in grants and though PPFA uses that money for breast cancer screenings, anti-abortion groups had taken note of that 1% and had urged people to stop donating to Komen.  Why?  Because PPFA spends a small per cent of its budget on providing abortions.

"A growing number of religious organizations had become concerned that donations to Komen would benefit Planned Parenthood and had advised members not to give to Komen," reported the New York Times on Friday.

Bowing to that pressure, Komen made a new rule that its grants could not go to organizations that faced investigation by federal, state, or local authorities.

For PPFA "being the target of partisan investigations is part of doing business," noted NYT reporters Gardiner Harris and Pam Belluck. No other groups receiving money from Komen are under investigation.

I like the pretty pink ecard being sent to Komen: "Thank you for cutting off funding to cancer screening programs in order to prove that you are pro-life" (NYT, 2/2/12, p. A14). 

Thank you to the builders of the internet for giving so many women and men the power to express their political views quickly and effectively.

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