I’ll Push You Down the Stairs, Susan

1 Feb

Today in New York City it is a blistering 60 degrees on the 1st day of February and I am in an icy, icy mood. Why, you might ask?  Well, Susan G. Komen For the Cure, the originator of the ubiquitous pink ribbon campaign, has decided to jump on the evil, woman-hating bandwagon and defund Planned Parenthood.  This seemed rather counter-intuitive to me at first.  This organization has spent its more than 2 decades in existence raising money to try and find a cure for breast cancer and yet it has defunded an organization that provides something like 750,000 breast exams annually.  And why, you might ask?  Well, it appears as though there are two reasons for this.  The first reason, and the one cited by the organization itself, is that the Susan G. Komen foundation has recently changed its policy to say that any organization that is the focus of a congressional investigation will no longer receive money from the Komen coffers.  Planned Parenthood, it turns out, is in the middle of just such an investigation.  And what a strange coincidence this is considering the second reason for the defunding:  the recent appointment of former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Karen Handel as the vice president of Susan G. Komen.  Karen Handel is against gay marriage, civil unions, and adoption of children by gay parents.  Karen Handel supports an Arizona-style immigration law for Georgia and, presumably, for the entire country.  And, not surprisingly, Karen Handel is aggressively pro-life (she does, however, make exceptions to her stance in the case of rape, incest, or danger to the health of the mother…wow, thanks).  Karen Handel has now, through this ill-motivated action, made it even more difficult for low income women and those lacking health care to have access to low-cost breast exams.  She has allowed her “family values” to condemn countless women to a fate her new found home has worked tirelessly to cure.  And, sadly, Susan G. Komen has allowed her to tarnish its reputation by permitting this obviously politically-motivated move.  Bravo.  As a result, I have written a letter to the foundation.

To Whom it May Concern,

When I was a sophomore in high school, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer.  I remember every detail about that day as if it happened yesterday rather than nearly 13 years ago.  I was scared and angry and devastated.  My mom was, and is, my best friend in the world.  She is a survivor and I cannot help but think that efforts of organizations such as yours aided her in overcoming her disease.  That is why I write to you today.  My mom is a survivor not only because of all of the research that went into, and continues to go into, the fight against breast cancer but because her cancer was detected early thanks to a routine visit to her doctor.  Luckily for my mom, and for those who love her, we had health insurance and access to a good physician and a great hospital that aided her in detecting, and later in curing, her cancer.  So many women, however, do not have that luxury and that is why I write to you today.

I am certain you can imagine my utter dismay when I turned on my computer this morning and was confronted with an article that your organization, one that works tirelessly to help women overcome breast cancer, has cut off funding to Planned Parenthood, an institution that provides 750,000 breast exams to uninsured, low income women yearly.  How many of those women, I cannot help but wonder, received life-saving information that allowed them to seek proper treatment?  How many women, as Planned Parenthood clinics close across the country, will no longer have access to regular breast exams?  Cancer, as you know, is not something that decides who to infect according to class lines.  It is estimated that 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer over the course of her lifetime.  Of the 750,000 women Planned Parenthood screens annually, that means roughly 9,000 of them will be diagnosed with breast cancer.  By cutting off funding to Planned Parenthood you have effectively abandoned those women.

According to a number of sources, your reason for cutting off funding is a result of the congressional investigation into Planned Parenthood’s spending of federal dollars.  You know as well as I do that this investigation is nothing more than a witch hunt designed to outlaw abortions nationwide.  The problem is that only 3% of services provided by Planned Parenthood are abortions.  Whether you are pro-life or pro-choice, do not let that 3% cloud your mind to the thousands of women saved annually by early detection of breast cancer.  Reinstate funding.


Rebekah Frank

What I really wanted to send to my friends at Susan G. Komen was something way more angry, and way less reasonable, than the letter I sent.  What I wanted to say to them is what my friend Beth said to me this afternoon in an email:  Seriously, stop hiring women who hate women.  If only.

2 Responses to “I’ll Push You Down the Stairs, Susan”

  1. jody frank February 2, 2012 at 7:11 am #

    Wow!!!!! Go Rebekah. Stair thow downers unite


  1. Jezebel: Stick with Women, Stay Away from GMOs | franklyrebekah - June 5, 2013

    […] payroll.  It was a pretty good way to keep up on all the happenings surrounding that Susan G. Komen debacle, gave me a link to an amazing speech by Sandra Fluke, and strengthened my extreme dislike […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: