On Susan G. Komen Foundation

It took me a while to gather all the information, and actually get a picture of what happened. I’ve signed the petitions, yes, because Planned Parenthood had faced enough assault in the past four years alone. But when I found out a couple of things, I got irate.

Let me make one thing perfectly clear, and it’s something that I refuse to repeat, so listen carefully: women are people. This implies that they have autonomy. This also implies that if they have a specific bouquet of conditions that they can fall victim to, they should have access to rectify these conditions in a manner that they can afford.

Let’s take abortion off the table here; that’s not the point of this discussion. The right of a woman to decide what, if anything, should occupy her body is another strongly-worded post for another time. But Planned Parenthood plays a lot into the equation of women’s access to care. Note, I’m using the word care. As in healthcare. As in, that thing you do if you have autonomy and the right to make decisions about your health as you see fit.

Apart from contraception and various services centered on reproductive health, Planned Parenthood’s hallmark is…cancer screenings at little to no cost. To state the obvious, most people right now, especially if they are poor, struggling to make ends meet, or otherwise stone-cold-broke, cannot afford a doctor’s fee. The one time I got caught without health insurance, I had to pay $250 for a check-up. And a blood test costs $1200. First-hand experience. But had I gone to Planned Parenthood for a routine thyroid screening, they would have done it at a fraction of the cost. In retrospect, I should’ve done exactly that.

But I’m in NYC. If, say, a person lives in a rural area, and something feels Very Not Right, and that person is very nicely told by the regular doctor and the hospital that if you can’t afford the fee, get the hell out the front door and don’t let it hit you in the behind on your way out, then Planned Parenthood becomes that person’s only recourse to get a doctor to have a look at no cost. If all you can shell out is $50, because the other $200 is for food, rent, and gas in the car, then Planned Parenthood will take your $50 and say, “The doctor will be in shortly, please put on the paper gown.”

And that goes a very, very long way. Because, again, most people whose income is below a certain threshold really cannot afford health insurance or proper care. Planned Parenthood becomes, literally, a life-saver.

Of course, most people focus on the repro-health spectrum of services, get their britches in a bunch over the fact that abortion is an offered service at some centers (key word is some), and automatically think that the entire organization is evil and must be shut down – never mind the other, life-saving, preventative services that are offered by the organization, and never mind that all the procedures that take place there, whether an abortion or a blood test, are done so by the patient’s own choice.

But I digress.

Imagine my surprise when I found out that Komen has GOP ties: CEO and ex-husband of said CEO both gave donations.

Imagine my further surprise when I read the news articles carefully and saw that they will keep funding on existing grants. And if they caved on PP funding without renewing it, then PP is screwed next year.

Way to go, Komen foundation. Way to fucking go. You have completely shot your credibility in the foot, never mind infuriated half of this country’s population. You’re effectively playing political football with women’s lives, and the women in this equation are not keen on having their – sometimes only – access to healthcare be cut off just because someone in a board meeting decided that politics are more important than access to care. Planned Parenthood has been chipped at and decimated systematically over the past twelve years; the recent four are only obvious because they’re public, and because the GOP has absolutely no qualms baring their agenda to the public. This is not acceptable, and this is not even remotely appropriate behavior for a nonprofit that, supposedly, focuses on women’s healthcare.

I wonder, did those CEOs of Komen ever go to a Revlon walk? The first people in line to walk for Revlon are usually cancer survivors. How many of them had gotten an early diagnosis from Planned Parenthood? How many of their lives did Planned Parenthood save?

I’ve never donated to Komen, but I’m a supporter of Planned Parenthood, and whenever I have a little extra to give to them, I always do. After the near-fiasco where the federal funding was on the line, I can’t emphasize how important it is for this country to support this organization. Unless, of course, the GOP actually wants an epidemic of cancer deaths because it wasn’t discovered in time. They obviously don’t mind involving a nonprofit in political football.

I have insurance right now, and a great doctor, but as it is, I’m counting myself lucky, and twice lucky that I have yet to hear a cancer diagnosis. That aside, I never forgot having to pay through the nose for a blood test and an appointment. I hope to not find myself there again, which is why I pay it forward so that someone else wouldn’t have to do that, either. The last thing a woman should know is what it’s like to know that she’s dying because she couldn’t afford to get a doctor to take a look at her.

Oh. And if you’re planning on telling me that Planned Parenthood gets enough in private donations to survive – give me a break. How many PP centers had closed down in the past twelve years? How many are so painfully understaffed that they have a waiting list for appointments for pretty much any service?  This is an organization under assault, every day, and most of it right now is because of politics and people who don’t understand the concept of women being people too.

Donate to Planned Parenthood directly. It’ll be used for good, trust me.

K.G.

 

Advertisements