Komen Blues

The dust has settled ever so slightly on the Komen-Planned Parenthood eruption. It seems everyone and their cousin has weighed in on the issue. Meanwhile, I’ve listened. My overall perception and opinion of Komen hasn’t changed at all, but I think the depth of my understanding of has.

According to Karen Handel, the emails that Komen was getting in response to its announced decision to cut funding to Planned Parenthood were running 3 to 1 in support of the decision, and their online donations shot up 400 percent. And yet they reversed the decision. Her explanation symbolizes to me just where Komen is at - that point where either the organization learns to listen and chooses to evolve and change so as to reflect the women they claim to serve, or they go extinct. Comparing Komen to Planned Parenthood, Handel is quoted as saying, “Komen doesn’t have the strength in the area of social media.” Maybe it’s [past] time they play some catch-up.

While Komen sleeps, more and more of the women they claim to serve are waking up. Waking up to the fact that breast cancer rates keep rising, waking up to the fact that detecting cancer is a far cry from curing (or better yet, preventing) cancer, waking up to the fact that breast cancer is big business and that Komen is one of the biggest bankers in the business, at times seeking to profit off the very products that raise breast cancer rates. And I am just one of many, many, many on social media pointing this out. But apparently Komen is either deaf, or just doesn’t want to hear.

And then of course there’s one other possibility, that Komen hears just fine and is listening carefully, just not to us, surely not to the low-income women served by Planned Parenthood. After all, they appointed Karen Handel after she lost her run for Georgia governor on a campaign that touted her plan to eliminate state grants to Planned Parenthood. Could they possibly not have known?

Susan Beausang, 4Women.com

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