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Komen backs down: What’s Next? February 3, 2012

Posted by caradox in Progressive Politics.
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I was in my car today when word broke that Komen for the Cure was sending up the white flag. I had to pull over to tweet my reaction (of course), then catch my breath. First the SOPA blackout and then this… I’m starting to think we might be onto something here.

I’m just delighted with the work that has been done these past 3 days. I have no doubt that this is a win.

Anytime you get a huge deeply corporate organization to stop what they are doing and acknowledge you’ve made them look really bad, and that they did something wrong, it’s a win.

We want to apologize to the American public for recent decisions that cast doubt upon our commitment to our mission of saving women’s lives.

Anytime you mobilize tens of thousands of people that fast and get them to focus on one specific problem for 3 days, you’ve won. Oh, the amazing amount of money that Planned Parenthood raised since Wednesday? Three. Million. Dollars. Yeah, that’s a win too.

Is Komen hoping today’s statement buys them room to quietly keep doing what they originally planned – pushing the reactionary political agenda of their current leadership? Perhaps. But the rock has been turned over. What they do next will be under serious scrutiny. For a full walkthrough of where things stand, Jennifer’s write up tonight covers much of the picture (and she saved me the the work of turning my whole day’s legal pad scribbles into coherent thought at a late hour, bless her.)

So what comes next:

Komen needs to fire Karen Handel. Her hiring and the organizational direction they have taken are intertwined. As long as she and anyone she brought in to work with her on policy remains, the reactionary political culture the national office has developed will still exist.

Komen’s next grant cycle will need to be watched, carefully. Their overall project choices need careful review and consideration before donors should feel comfortable handing over their charitable dollars. Their lobbying and advocacy needs to be made as transparent as possible so that all those who now recognize the potential problems can do a better job of acting as guardians of the public trust.

Some takeaways:

– There ARE amazing, effective groups working every day toward a cure. Also for prevention, compassionate support, and quality care. Donate to them. Show them your love. And give them a hand in the work they do. Two of my personal favorites are:

Prevent Cancer Foundation http://preventcancer.org/

CureSearch for Children’s Cancer http://www.curesearch.org/

We don’t say it enough: Planned Parenthood provides a vital, often the only, lifeline for those who need it. And more women need, and use their services than you can imagine. There are places in this country were without Planned Parenthood women would have nowhere to go to ask questions about their health and family planning, to get affordable medical care, and to get referrals to treatment with financial help to get them through. The best way to connect with that reality is to learn from the women who know PP best. These are their stories.

Whatever your reason for paying attention to this story – your passion for healthcare, your personal history with Komen or cancer, your general love of a good fight – the most important thing is to do something. If you sent one tweet, made one phone call, sent a 3 line email, dug up 5 bucks for Planned Parenthood, you were part of something that had an impact.

Thank you for caring. Thank you for doing. You matter.

Fight on!

Day One: Pink Ribbons in a twist February 1, 2012

Posted by caradox in Progressive Politics.
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What a day! The response everywhere to the decision of Komen for the Cure’s national office to drop Planned Parenthood from its grant program has been incredible. I’m so heartened by this community of people.

The big news is that donations have poured in to Planned Parenthood — over $400,000 in 24 hours. That’s a great start in not just closing the “Komen gap” but going right past it, giving Planned Parenthood the ability to deliver even more care services.

Meanwhile, Komen for the Cure is now under a microscope that will not go away any time soon. With people looking at Komen, deeper concerns are becoming public, like the amount of donor’s money spent in litigation against other small charities and how little money Komen actually puts toward research – rather than administrative and fundraising expenses as Alicia Staley describes here.

Pushback isn’t  just coming from the outside community. Komen for the Cure’s Connecticut chapter told WaPo’s Ezra Klein how “frustrated” they are following the national office’s decision, while the Denver affiliate has already asked for and gotten an exemption to keep their grant program with Planned Parenthood.

24 hours in, the question is whether Komen for the Cure has irreparably damaged their brand, or will rethink and find a way to resolve their mounting PR crisis. It would now require fixing their Planned Parenthood relationship and addressing concerns about their leadership, mission and use of donor funds.

There’s a lot at play here. The most immediate is to put people first and make sure that access to screenings is preserved. Even better, with people paying attention, is to turn this into something that helps even more with greater support for the work that Planned Parenthood does through their screenings and prevention services.

Yes, there’s an even bigger problem: this ongoing battle for access to affordable healthcare in America and the siege — I’ve got no other word for it now that things have become a daily battle with personhood laws and candidates who think contraception is a crime — over reproductive care. That’s a post for another day. Right now, stay focused and stay fighting. This is day one.

Don’t forget to check out the list of actions. Make a call, send a note, make some noise. It’s having an impact.

Fight on!

Not without a fight: Komen for the Cure leaves millions of women behind January 31, 2012

Posted by caradox in Uncategorized.
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Update 2/1/2012 11 am ET: Since the news broke last night, the response has been passionate. One thing that Komen may not have expected is the secondary impact of this – a lot of people are now taking a deep look at Komen leadership’s political and corporate ties, the fundraising machine at Komen, and where donor’s money goes (hint: a lot less of it goes to actual research and care than many donors would think). People are starting to say – there are better organizations that are use less money for administrator salaries and get more money directly to research and care. More on this as the information develops. I’ve added more actions below that you can take, and more will be coming – some great ideas are cooking and will become events and channels for real impact.

This afternoon AP broke a story that Susan G. Komen for the Cure is stopping its partnership with Planned Parenthood.

A shockwave is now going through the internet among those who care intensely about the access of women to the kinds of medical care Planned Parenthood provides – cervical cancer screenings, breast cancer screenings, STD and reproductive planning education and care. For millions of America’s most vulnerable women, Planned Parenthood is a lifeline to care they wouldn’t otherwise be able to get to and afford.

Susan G. Komen for the Cure provides significant grants to Planned Parenthood for breast cancer exams in support of their core mission. Without those grants, fewer women will have access to screenings that can save their lives.

Why did Komen for the Cure do this?

From the Washington Post AP story:

Planned Parenthood says the move results from Komen bowing to pressure from anti-abortion activists. Komen says the key reason is that Planned Parenthood is under investigation in Congress — a probe launched by a conservative Republican who was urged to act by anti-abortion groups.

So Komen for the Cure is making this decision not because Planned Parenthood isn’t effective, or a good partner, and not because they aren’t doing work that saves women’s lives, but because conservative Republicans, who have unleashed unprecedented attacks on women’s rights all over this country at the local, state, and national level have scared them with Congressional investigations. Investigations that have not introduced fact-based information that would drive a rational decision, because they haven’t even happened yet.

I have so very many reactions to this news. None of them gentle.

My first reaction is to feel complete betrayal. How many times have I supported that pink ribbon? How many donations? How many times have I answered Komen for Cure’s call to be there for them? Komen has a very short window to make this right, or they will lose my support completely and that of tens of thousands of others. And with me goes my money.

My second reaction is: Elections have consequences. This is the price we are paying for the 2010 midterm elections – again. Only the bill will be paid by women in cities and rural communities, without access to quality care if Planned Parenthood doesn’t have the resources to help them get affordable mammograms and information on monthly self-exams. The cost will be measured in lives. If you sat out the midterms because you didn’t think it mattered, or because you had a fit of pique at the White House, or because you were under some weird misapprehension that the Tea Party wouldn’t drive a bus right over women in their blind anger at… well whatever it is they were told to be angry at… then you’ve got to wake up now and think about what happens when angry zealots get enough seats in Congress to take us all hostage.

My third reaction is — fight. Fight hard, fight fast, and don’t stop  — until Komen for the Cure and everyone else with a role in funding and support of women’s health research and delivery, and the legislators who write policy around them, know that we see what is happening and we will not willingly be sent into the medical dark ages. And we absolutely will not tolerate a country in which those with power and financial means have access to care while millions of others are abandoned to fate. Fight. Now.

Here’s how you can join the fight to keep zealots from scaring women’s healthcare away from those who need it most (and keep checking because I will add actions as they come up, because feathers are flying now):

1 – Sign: Go to act.ly and sign our petition to make yourself counted: http://act.ly/5hs <Thanks @shayera and @RL_Miller>

2 – Tweet: @komenforthecure and tell them that they have made the wrong choice and it will cost women’s lives.

3 – Call: 1-877 GO KOMEN (1-877-465-6636) Right now. Tell them that fear won’t stop breast cancer, but breast exams at Planned Parenthood are a critical weapon in our battle.

4 – Post: A post on Komen’s Facebook wall would certainly get their attention.

5 – Go direct: Donate right to Planned Parenthood so those dollars get right to where they can help the next woman get a breast cancer or cervical cancer screening. <Thanks @bujeeboo> BONUS points: When you donate to PP, have then send the Thank You card to Karen Handel c/o Susan G. Komen Foundation. <Brilliant @MishaRN!>

6 (New!) – Rate: Join those who are registering their view that as an organization Komen for the Cure has stopped being true to their purported charitable mission. This will help people make more informed decisions  with charitable dollars. They will be clear on the fact that Komen has become a political organization by their decision. <Thanks @21law>

7 (New!) – Speak up: Tell the corporate sponsors of Komen for the Cure that all women (and men!)  are worth fighting for, and that Komen has made a political decision that does not reflect a charitable mission to save lives. <Thanks @Toby_Ziegler>

Susan G. Komen Sponsors: Million Dollar Elite: http://ww5.komen.org/MillionDollarCouncil.aspx?Elite=Elite
Susan G. Komen Sponsors: Million Dollar Council:  http://ww5.komen.org/MillionDollarCouncil.aspx?Elite=No
Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure Sponsors: http://ww5.komen.org/RacefortheCureSponsors.aspx
Susan G. Komen Corporate Partners: http://ww5.komen.org/CorporatePartners.aspx
Twitter accounts for many of Susan G. Komen’s corporate sponsors:

That’s the start. Now go – fight.

——- Related News and Posts ——-

Angry Black Lady as usual adds her fearless take on today’s developments.

Amanda Marcotte at Slate’s XX Factor lays it all out clearly.

Kaily Joy Gray at DailyKos gives a great call to action.

Jennifer @jhw2212 wins my award for most jawbusting response. Pricelessly honest.

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