Thursday, February 02, 2012

Hey Wingnuts, You Can't Erase Your Ideological Bias

The Susan G.Komen Foundation, the nation's largest breast cancer charity, known for "Race for a Cure" and those ubiquitous pink ribbons, provoked a firestorm of outrage when it announced a politically motivated decision to stop its grants to Planned Parenthood. The excuse given is that the embattled Planned Parenthood was "under investigation" by a Republican Congressman to ensure that none of its federal funding was used on abortion-related services. The fact is, Planned Parenthood has been under assault by the pro-life Republican House. This bogus investigation into what constitutes only 3% of the organization's women's health services is just a pretext to shut it down and deny it its vital federal funding.

The other aspect of this story is that the Komen Foundation's senior vice president of public policy, Karen Handel, who is “staunchly and unequivocally pro-life,” was hired last April after she ran as a Republican for governor of Georgia in 2010 on a pro-life plank. She hasn't commented on her Facebook page about the decision to defund Planned Parenthood, but has been basking in congratulatory messages such as this one:
“I was so happy to read about the defunding of Planned Parenthood by Komen. Thank you for any part that you had in this!! I am a breast cancer survivor and I always participated in the Race for a Cure, but I was not going to this year – after hearing about the funding. Now I am very happy to be able to participate with a clear conscience, knowing that the money I collect will not be going to Planned Parenthood! Thank you again!”
Tellingly, Ms Handel retweeted this zinger from a pro-life ally putting the lie to Komen Foundation assertions that its decision was not politically or ideologically motivated: “Just like a pro-abortion group to turn a cancer orgs decision into a political bomb to throw. Cry me a freaking river.” Nice try deleting your retweet Ms Handel, but you should know that finger-speed is no match for net-speed. As Lisa McIntire tweeted, “This is why we take screen shots.” I love 'em myself, knowing how much those of Karen Handel's ilk lie, and how important it is to keep a record. Stay classy, Ms Handel:

PS — SHAME, SHAME on the PBS Newshour and Judy Woodruff for reporting a version of this story that was misleading and incomplete, in an awkward exchange with an LA Times reporter. The political ties involving Ms Handel were never even broached. It seems PBS and its parent company, The Corporation for Public Broadcasting, are just as cowed by the right wing pressure from extremist pro-life House Republicans, who have targeted both PBS and Planned Parenthood for termination and defunding. It's a despicable turn of affairs when an extremist right wing minority can control women's health and public discourse.

PPS — White Knight New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg contributed $250,000 to Planned Parenthood to be matched dollar-for-dollar for the funding lost to Komen. This, along with an outpouring of contributions will make up for the lost grants. Said Mayor Bloomberg, “Politics have no place in health care. Breast cancer screening saves lives and hundreds of thousands of women rely on Planned Parenthood for access to care. We should be helping women access that care, not placing barriers in their way.”

Thumbs up to Mayor Bloomberg, a billionaire politician with a social conscience. What are the odds Mittens will contribute some of his personal fortune to replenish programs for the poor he intends to slash, hmm ... ?

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