boycott the susan g. komen foundation

I’ve been skeptical of the Susan G. Komen Foundation (or as they call themselves, “Susan G. Komen For The Cure”) for a long time. And then I learned that much of their funding simply doesn’t go towards breast carcinoma research. And then I learned that they sued several nonprofits all because they used the term “cure” in their marketing. It all seemed like a scam to be on a massive scale, but then I talked myself down a bit, since any efforts towards even education and screening for breast cancer can’t hurt. I do think other cancers are woefully underfunded, such as ovarian cancer (which also kills many women) and pancreatic cancer (again, I’ve known too many women who have died from the disease). But that doesn’t mean that breast cancer shouldn’t be funded. So I didn’t make waves and did the Race for the Cure in Philadelphia every Mother’s Day.

But now, I say Boycott Komen.

Yesterday, it was announced that Komen is defunding breast cancer screening efforts at Planned Parenthood centers nationwide. That amounts to between $700,000 and $800,000 annually. I used to be interim medical director at Planned Parenthood in Philadelphia, and also provided abortion and well-woman care at several Planned Parenthood centers in the Philly area. Most of the women I screened for breast cancer were not of means, and PP was essentially their only health care provider. So what Komen just did was hurt these and other women who rely on such services for their general medical care, including annual breast cancer screening.

Komen claims it did not act out of political pressure or pressure from the antichoice crowd. Rather, they claim it now has a policy of not funding organizations that are under federal investigation. Yes, PP is under investigation for misappropriation of federal funds towards their abortion services, which has never been demonstrated to be true and there doesn’t appear to be evidence of this now. But some jackass in the Congress decided to go after PP because of their provision of abortion services. So without any evidence or proof of “guilt,” Komen just caved in and pulled all their funding. And then there’s the fact that their new VP, former GA governor candidate Karen Handel, was well known to be a pro-lifer who was very much against Planned Parenthood. But I’m sure that is just a coincidence.

This is such a bad decision that it absolutely defies rational explanation. It is total idiocy. This should have nothing to do with abortion. But at the same time, it should be said that abortion is overregulated, unjustly tarnished and very much represents an important public health need. Childbirth is 14x more hazardous than abortion. Yet, no one is promoting legislation to warn women against carrying their pregnancies to term. Somehow though, it’s considered ok to pass burdensome and ridiculous laws requiring women to undergo sonography to look at their fetuses and to wait at least 24 hours before being able to have an abortion after providing informed consent. As if any woman wakes up and says “What the hell, I’ll go have myself an abortion today.”

Women of all backgrounds should be pissed by what Komen did today. Men of all backgrounds should be just as pissed.

So I will do some research and update this post with ethical nonprofits related to breast cancer research that are far more worthy of our donations than Komen ever was.

But if nothing else, Boycott Komen.

UPDATE 2/5/12
At the end of this article, there is a nice list of groups that spend nearly all of their funding on research and treatment.