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Tag Archives: Planned Parenthood

Republicans are waging a war on women on multiple fronts all over the country.  It’s happening in Congress, it’s happening in state legislatures all over the nation, and it’s happening in conservative media.  Yes, there are some liberals who are chauvinistic in their comments.  But on the left, there isn’t the concerted war on women the way there is on the right.

Let’s start with the legislative war.  This takes the form of defunding Planned Parenthood in the name of reducing or eliminating abortions.  This is happening in Congress, and in several of the states.  And it happened by a major charity.  It’s an open attack on abortion rights, and a woman’s right to choose.  It also takes the form of truly horrid and regressive laws, like the one Virginia tried to pass earlier this year.  It doesn’t matter that some of these laws aren’t passing.  It’s like fighting a forest fire — attacks are coming from all over the place.

It doesn’t seem to matter that the laws defunding Planned Parenthood are counterintuitive, or that the laws will actually do a lot of harm.  Planned Parenthood provides quite a lot of women’s health services, such as routine pap smears or breast exams.  (They also provide contraception.)  No, they provide abortions, so they’re bad.  All bad.

Look, if you really want to reduce or eliminate abortions, educate people (especially teenagers and preteens) on what sex really is, and the possible consequences of not doing it safely.  People are going to have sex, no matter how much Republicans try to deny that fact.  So why not give them the tools to do it safely, and to prevent the pregnancies from happening in the first place?

Today in Michigan, two female Democratic legislators were silenced on the House floor for daring to oppose the heinous abortion bill that passed there today.  They wanted to apply the same law to vasectomies.  Turn about is fair play, after all.

Probably worst of all, Republicans are seeking to redefine the definition of rape.  And then they want to prevent the use of any tax money to pay for abortion.  Yesterday, a story was published about House Republicans blocking abortion access for soldiers who have been raped.

These policies are misogynistic and misguided.  Actually, misguided isn’t strong enough.  They’re simply wrong.   The New York Times editorialized about this on May 19.  (It’s too long to post here, but I recommend reading it all.)  Frank Rich also wrote a long New York Magazine piece on this that points out what’s happening.

Stop having sex with us, gentlemen, and I ask women to boycott men ...

The question, really, is what do we do about it?  There have been some suggestions about having a sex strike.  That’s not really a bad idea.  But it’s not all that practical.  The only way to get their attention is to have people flood their phones and email boxes and snail mail boxes.  And then to start making their approval ratings go down by answering polls when called.

Ultimately, women and people who actually like women have to vote this fall.These ultra-religious right-wing Republicans need to lose their seats this fall.  That means that people will have to actually vote their interests, unlike what many red state residents do.

Conservative women absolutely need to stand up and remind these legislators that they all have mothers and wives and daughters and sisters and maybe mistresses.  Republicans have to be loudly reminded that their women are not going to stand for this.  They need to be reminded that if they want to pursue these misogynistic policies, there will be consequences.  Maybe those won’t come today, but they will come.  Women make up more than 50% of the population.  Women will become more and more alienated.  Republicans will not continue to win elections except in the most extreme places without the support of women.  Without the support of women, the Republican Party — the Grand Old Party — will die.

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The Susan G. Komen foundation has been under fire the past few days.  That pressure is well deserved; it’s coming after Komen — an organization that professes to care about women’s health — pulled its funding for Planned Parenthood.  (Komen has since reversed that decision because of a furious outcry online.  Maybe.)

Komen said over and over that their decision to pull funding from Planned Parenthood was not about politics.  That simply can’t be true.  It was a pathetic attempt to pander to right-wing, anti-abortion groups who have had knives out for Planned Parenthood for years.  More evidence that the decision was about abortion: Mother Jones is reporting on another of Komen’s grants that appears to violate its new policy.

The Planned Parenthood decision has put Komen under a good deal of scrutiny.  The more we find out about them, the more questions arise about their activities.  A look at their financials (2010 is available on their website in a PDF) is educational.

  • For their fiscal year 2009-10, Komen brought in $310 million in revenue, goods, and services.  They had an additional $80 million in other income (interest, investment income, restricted funds becoming unrestricted.  That’s about $390 million in revenue.  Not bad.
  • They spent about $360 million.  This is how that breaks down: Research – $75 million (about 21%).  Public Awareness (advertising and other public outreach, in other words) – $141 million (39%).  Health Screenings $41 million (11%).  Treatment – $20 million (0.5%).  Fundraising – $36 million (10%).  Administrative costs – $41 million (11%).
  • Let me spell this out (this was pointed out by Chris Broom on Facebook, who adapted it from a post on DailyKos).  They spent $77 million in overhead costs.  Compare that to the $76 million they spent on research, which probably has its own grant overhead costs.

So their priorities don’t really seem to be curing breast cancer, just by looking at the numbers.  The DailyKos post says that this makes sense because there really isn’t any economic benefit to curing breast cancer.  But there certainly is great economic benefit in treating breast cancer and working to find a cure.  There’s a human benefit to both.

Pink Walther P22

File photo of the Walther P-22 Hope Edition 3.4″ to be sold for breast cancer awareness. (Credit: Discount Gun Sales, LLC)

Then there are some other activities that are questionable.  They created a partnership with a Seattle gun distributor to sell pink handguns.  Apparently this fits in with the pink spatulas and pink ribbons for awareness that Komen is so well known for.  What’s the next deadly promotional item to be made pink?

Can someone explain to me exactly how selling handguns contributes to women’s health?  It seems to me that it does exactly the opposite.  Guns kill people, you see.  Is the new Komen motto “Save a life by taking a life”?  It seems apt, although it’s intellectually dishonest when taken in light with the Planned Parenthood decision (about abortion no matter what Komen says).  It’s a common disease in the Republican Party these days.  But that’s another post.

I’m not going to soft-pedal how I feel about the handgun thing.  It’s disgusting.  It’s another sop to the right wing, just the same way the Planned Parenthood decision was.  It’s wrong.

I think the Komen foundation needs to remember what its true mission is.  It’s supposed to be about women’s health and finding a cure for breast cancer, which is a worthy cause.  That’s what all those people giving all that money expect.  Somehow, it seems to me, Komen has lost its way.  Until it finds its way back, I won’t be supporting them (I was thinking about walking in 2013).  Any donation dollars I was going to give them will be going to Planned Parenthood (and maybe anti-gun causes too) instead.