I asked two of women I admire most in the world, Kyla Thompson and Marci Blaze, to share their thoughts regarding the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation backlash.
“All the pink ribbon in the world can’t make pretty or disguise the ugly actions taken by the Susan G. Komen organization against the women and girls served by Planned Parenthood. Females readily recognize hypocrisy, political bias, and dishonesty and we don’t need an X-Ray machine to do it! You can bet this female is redirecting every dollar previously donated to SGK to Planned Parenthood, and I’ve discontinued the use of SGK return address stickers on greeting cards to my girlfriends. And to those women whom I’ve supported in your participation in SGK runs and other fundraising events, forgive me … but I’m putting my money where our hearts rest … in our breasts and to the organizations that really worry about both our physical and emotional health!”
A few years ago when I was visiting a university a young student told me that she didn’t think she would ever have an abortion but at least she had a choice. She didn’t know how to thank me and others of my generation who fought for that right. I told her that she just did. It’s clear that the Komen Foundation is politicizing funding for breast cancer as though any woman with breast cancer is thinking anything other than wanting to live. We all need to fight for women regardless of political belief – again and again and again.
My Box of Pandoras:
I’ve lost some wonderful women to breast cancer, as we all have, and there’s absolutely no doubt that SGK has done extraordinary work in raising both the awareness and funding of breast cancer research and treatment. But, unfortunately, this one decision has destroyed the trust, goodwill and support the organization has built over many years. And I neither know if it will ever totally recover, nor am I sure it should. SGK in general, and the Races for the Cure in specific, are about coming together as one sea of pink to celebrate survivors or mourn those we’ve lost. The Planned Parenthood decision immediately cast Komen in a divisive, political light and, suddenly, all that pink has a distinctly greenish tinge to it.
UPDATE: SGK has reversed its decision and is restoring funding to Planned Parenthood. This quote from the New York Times demonstrates the size and scope of the uproar:
“By the end of the week, Twitter users had sent more than 1.3 million posts mentioning Planned Parenthood, the Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation and related terms and hashtags. On Thursday alone, there were more than 460,000 Tweets.”
The next few months will show whether this is too little, too late for SGK. As I said earlier, I’m not sure the organization will ever recover and if so, it’s going to need to do some serious introspection on whether it has the ability and agility to navigate political waters on this new ocean of social media activism.
Please, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.