03 February 2012

Komen link round-up; local protest later today

Richer, smarter, and funnier minds than mine have explained why it's stupid for Susan G. Komen for the Cure to politicize women's healthcare by ending grants to Planned Parenthood that provide breast screenings to underserved American women. In short, cancer prevention activities make up some 16% of the patient care Planned Parenthood delivers, compared to 3% for abortion services. Math from figures in a Bloomberg Businessweek article indicates to me that Planned Parenthood used Komen grant money to provide about 172,000 breast exams in the past 5 years ("Komen grants paid for about 4.3 percent of the 4 million breast exams and 9 percent of the 70,000 mammogram referrals provided at Planned Parenthood clinics in the past five years, Planned Parenthood said"). That's not a whole lot of exams -- 34,000 per year -- and it was probably not even 172,000 individual women. But it's 172,000 exams that wouldn't have taken place without the grants, and it's 172,000 encounters with women who got some education on breast cancer prevention and detection.

Komen says they're "dedicated to the fight against breast cancer in the world." They need to add the qualifier, unless the service reaches you through Planned Parenthood.

EDIT: Word on the street is that there is a fundraiser for the Philadelphia Komen affiliate today at the Cescaphé Ballroom, 932 North 2nd Street, and that activists will gather at 5:30 p.m. to urge the affiliate to join those in Denver and Connecticut in telling the national organization that it sucks to politicize women's public health.

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