Three years ago, I was exceptionally fortunate to participate in one of the coolest fundraising events of my life – the Susan G. Komen 3 Day Walk for the Cure. Not only was it a 60-mile walk over three days, but to be allowed to participate you had to raise $2,300 for the Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
I was exceptionally proud that, thanks to an amazing outpouring of support from friends and family, I not only met the fundraising goal, but walked every single step of those 60 miles. My feet were blistered, my legs were sore, but my heart was soaring and my spirits were high when I made the final steps across the finish line.
It makes me sad to think that I’m most likely never going to participate in this event again, but the truth is I can’t continue to support Susan G. Komen. I can’t support an organization the pulls valuable funding for pre-cancer screening and mammograms for poverty-stricken men and women in order to further an anti-choice agenda that does exactly the opposite of caring about women.
For those of you who live under a rock, on Wednesday Susan G. Komen announced that, due to new funding rules, they were going to pull their grants from Planned Parenthood. Grants that were specifically restricted and earmarked for cancer screening for impoverished and uninsured women. Though the new rule declares that no grants will be given to organizations currently under local, state, or federal investigation (and Planned Parenthood is currently under an exceptionally partisan Congressional investigation over use of federal funds), Planned Parenthood was the only organization affected by this rule. No matter that Susan G. Komen currently supports an organization funded by Penn State (currently under federal investigation) and accepts funds from Bank of America (currently under federal investigation) – the possibility of a woman seeking a legal (though politically controversial) medical procedure in the same facility where a person was getting a Susan G. Komen funded cancer screening is too much for Susan G. Komen to tolerate.
I won’t go into too much detail about why Susan G. Komen’s decision was obviously politically motivated, or the PR nightmare they now face, or how overnight Susan G. Komen has become Planned Parenthood’s biggest fundraiser, or how top Susan G. Komen officials are resigning in disagreement, or the fact that Michael Bloomberg is matching up to $250,000 in donations to Planned Parenthood’s Breast Health Fund. I don’t need to – this post is late and the Internet is on it.
What I will do, however, is to encourage my readers to make a donation to Planned Parenthood. If you vehemently are against Planned Parenthood, consider making a donation to other women’s health funds, or the American Cancer Society. Don’t buy Susan G. Komen sponsored products. Consider boycotting their sponsors. Write letters. Sign petitions. Don’t assume your voice won’t be heard. Even if this is truly about Susan G. Komen shifting their focus from education and prevention, it’s still harmful to the thousands of impoverished and uninsured women each year who were able to catch their cancer or live another year in peace, or who may not know as much about breast cancer and early detection signs and risk factors as Susan G. Komen would like to think.
Speak up about women’s health. As a woman, I am tired of my body and my health being used as a pawn in a political game, one that is largely a man’s game. I stand up for women, and I stand with Planned Parenthood. I hope you do the same.