Sarah Morgan

Healthcare Geek.
Professional Communicator.


Divided We Fall: Komen V. Planned Parenthood

I’m ashamed of the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

Yesterday, as I’m sure you’ve heard, they pulled the funding that they gave to Planned Parenthood.

There are plenty of stories about the details, and plenty of discussion about what it means and why they did it (was it symbolic? was it political? was it practical?).

This won’t break Planned Parenthood. In fact, I suspect that they’ll more than recoup their lost funding from donors who are motivated by this event.

Update: They did – in a day! Awesome.

I certainly hope they will. I completely disagree with Komen, and I’ve got two reasons.

My first is sentimental. Tracy had little time for Komen. She was tired of the marketing blitz, she was skeptical of the actual results – and she hated all that pink. The way I see it, if anybody was entitled to have an opinion about breastcancer awareness, it was Tracy, so I hold on to my friend’s opinions.

My second reason is practical. I’ve known Planned Parenthood, both as a teenage client and as an adult volunteer. I can say without a doubt that they help women – and it’s worth noting, if this is your problem with them, that I never saw any pressure or encouragement toward abortions. What I did see was consistent provision of quality healthcare to at-risk women. Exams, screenings, tests, education, and yes, contraception. To me, that’s a faultless mission, executed brilliantly.

Here’s the thing. Women are underserved by Western medical science. They haven’t been educated, they haven’t been studied, they haven’t been involved. We’re catching up in some ways (shoutout to Doctor Kelly and Doctor Ashley) but there’s a lot of ground to make up. Really, it’s not long ago that gynecologists wouldn’t consider looking under a woman’s skirts.

We need to stick together, is my point. Women’s health organizations need to focus on women’s health. Yet here, in the words of the ever-pithy Andrew Graham, “A charity cut off funding for life-saving cancer screenings in hopes of proving that they are pro-life.”

Bad form, Komen. Bad form.


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