Editor’s Pick
FEBRUARY 3, 2012 3:06PM

Komen's Disingenuous Reversal is Not Enough

Rate: 19 Flag

Reversal or no, I just keep getting more and more angry at the Susan G. Komen Foundation. 

I’ve always been a little uncomfortable with Pink October.  My sister was diagnosed in that month, and not an hour after receiving her phone call, while doing my grocery shopping and trying to pretend everything was going to be okay, I was confronted with a box of frozen waffles with a pink ribbon on it.  It was all I could do not to throw the fucking thing at the first hapless passerby.  The juxtaposition was just too ridiculous.  It was insulting.  And I knew, from what little I had read, how little money was actually generated by the pinking of my products.  If these corporations really cared about breast cancer research, why not just make the donation and shut up about it? 

But that’s not how corporations work.  And apparently, that’s not how the SGK foundation works, either.  They have long been criticized for how little of the money and publicity they generate actually improves the health of women. 

When Komen announced earlier this week that it would no longer be funding grants to Planned Parenthood, they denied that the move was political.  As everyone is well aware by now, they claimed that it was because they do not fund entities that are “under investigation.”  And because a Republican Congressman had called for a financial audit of the organization, well, you know…they had no choice but to cease funding them. 

Which is bullshit, of course. 

The investigation was manufactured so Komen had an excuse to cut ties with Planned Parenthood.  That much was clear from the get go.  But even those who would deny that the investigation was spurious cannot possibly defend the unevenness with which Komen has followed their own rules.   They fund plenty of institutions that are under investigation, and have no qualms taking money from some of the worst offenders.  Jezebel did an excellent roundup of their worst offenses here.  Holy jiggling breasts, indeed. 

Predictably, Komen has now reversed their decision, restoring hearts and rainbows and pink ribbons to all, so phew.  Catastrophe avoided, right?  Wrong.  They still have a lot of ‘splainin’ to do.  Currently, the banner on their website (and the statement announcing their reversal) says:

We will amend the criteria to make clear that disqualifying investigations must be criminal and conclusive in nature and not political.  That is what’s right and fair.

It’s a day late and a dollar or two short.  It’s also completely disingenuous.  Komen doesn’t seem to have any problem accepting money from institutions or corporations that have been criminally and conclusively investigated. That’s probably wise on their part, given the as-yet-immeasurable hit donations have taken and will continue to take as they try to clean up the mess they have made. 

As for what’s right and fair?  What’s right and fair would be for women in this country to have access to comprehensive health care.  Komen has already made clear that it is an organization more inclined to swathe us in pink than fund these services.  Their hiding behind a rule when it’s politically expedient -- and ignoring it entirely when it’s not -- is neither, no matter how sorry they say they are. 

May Komen's loss be Planned Parenthood's considerable gain, so that the millions of women who rely on them for cancer screenings continue to receive them.  And may corporations, private donors, and others bypass the corporate hype and give directly to the research institutions and foundations less interested in turning my freezer case pink, and more interested in, say, detecting and curing cancer.






Your tags:


Enter the amount, and click "Tip" to submit!
Recipient's email address:
Personal message (optional):

Your email address:


Type your comment below:
Disingenuous, yes, especially when you consider that they are not promising to renew the funding...they are just reversing this decision.
In order to really see what is causing so much cancer, and so much hormone cancer, and so much breast cancer, we'd have to stop allowing the big polluters to run amok. Now that would be a real political statement- and in the right direction. I'm with you- this change of heart is just an "oh shit" that goes down to dollars rather than sense. Moneys will go where they are used appropriately and I do my part to help women get better healthcare for the little money they might have.

Maybe we need to start a "sponsor a mammogram" program. Like with the work of freepap.org, it doesn't take a lot of money to get one, just needs to get done.
I think, in many ways, it is enough. Because the whole episode has completely opened people's eyes. In the end, it doesn't even matter what Komen does from now on. It matters what we do.

In fact, the only one that the reversal won't be enough for is Komen itself. They've lost in a big way. And just about everybody else wins.
"May Komen's loss be Planned Parenthood's considerable gain"

Amen to that! Pink waffle packages are to be expected from that portion of our population far more interested in profiting from the appearance of caring than actually providing care. Nowhere is that more obvious than with the unrelentingly hypocritical religious right, which now semi-enthusiastically embraces serial adulterer and habitual philander, liar, lout and lothario Newt Gingrich.
Hopefully it doesn't matter very much whether or not Komen truly got the message and changes its approach as long as people have realized the power they have and start using it.
Just as Emily's List (funding pro-choice women candidates) has a counter right-wing organization called Susan B Anthony's List, Komen will become a conservative women's charity only. Nobody I know will touch them with a ten-foot-pole now, but plenty of anti-choice folks will send them big bucks and keep them going. That's the ridiculous state we've come to, that any organization will be politicized to push an agenda. Sickening.
Disingneuous? Absolutley. Ironically bizarre on so many levels (sorry about the abverb)? Again, absolutely. I keep swapping the "K" for a "W" in Komen's Fund and finding an unequal sign in between the two words. As for the pink ribbons, my friend with stage 4 breast cancer copresents anger everytime she sees one.
Goofy, real goofy. You seem to equate 'access' and 'comprehensive health care' as though the mere implication is that there are millions of women that cannot get what you overstate. In fact, they already have 'access' and nothing Komen does with any of their money changes that.

The fact that you and others feel it should be free is the problem. To resolve that issue, you must consider as many ends as possible. First, the notion of 'Free' must relate to cost to discover the underlying issue of resistance. The cost must be borne by someone, and in this (your) analogy, it should be paid by the 'they' you call 'government', which is us. The claim that Planned Parenthood provides anything more than pamphlet and instruction to women for abortion is ludicrous. Komen is quite right to review, reduce and eliminate the practice of murdering the unborn as a matter of convenience to those who made a 'mistake'.

Planned Parenthood's business is the abortion business. The public money used to inflate the bank accounts of people in the business of doing nothing but killing people. The responsibility of parents and teachers is forsaken in favor of yet another public sink-hole, which must be stopped. There is an alternative argument over who it is 'owns' the fetus and placenta, which is sold at a profit to labs for study etc. Rather sickening to consider the monetary value some place upon the waste of others.

It is Komen's money to give, and they should not be impaired to give it or deny it to anyone. The Gates Foundation has a similar choice and, well it is their money.

Underlying all of this cost BS is the fact that nothing done in any arena has functionally addressed the horrendous charges for which some are quick to claim is a right, and I crave rather, the day to come when Health Care Administration is separated from Medical Expense. Currently, eighty cents of every public dollar for just about anything is wasted on the administration of a cause, and of the remaining twenty cents that is provided to the root cause, less than ten percent, or two cents, is realized by those in need.

That is why we have $2000 MRI bills. Unfortunately, when the insurance company pays it on our behalf, they only pay $900, the rest is quite lost. Going further, consider the great expense by bio-firms who 'donate' free junk all around the world and deduct it from the bottom line to avoid taxes. Somewhere in between those lines lies the marvelous profits; the difference between the actual cost and the value declared.

I have not witnessed women not having access, just an unwillingness to bear the cost in the event their insurance company will not pay. That is their choice and if it kills them, it is no less a shame for the ones who choose not to seek help for something so simple as a headache that is actually meningitis, which kills faster. The difference between the two is that women know the risk and demand somebody pick up the tab, when they get a headache, they can't be sure it isn't something deadly, then give it no thought.
@Jim B.
I'm not sure which quote of yours would be my favorite BS. Hmm. perhaps this one?:
"The claim that Planned Parenthood provides anything more than pamphlet and instruction to women for abortion is ludicrous."

Yes. Ludicrous! Because you must have so much experience seeking women's healthcare needs at PP. Back in the day when my insurance was not approving my feminine healthcare needs (and, mind you, I up diagnosed with cancer at 29) and I could not pay for it out of pocket, I turned to PP for affordable care. And there was nothing about abortion talk anywhere. I mean, it would be silly if it did, since I was there for stuff like paps and mammos and contraception, but that seems to be what you people seem to think happens.

Or is it your quote: "I have not witnessed women not having access..."

Oh RIGHT. If you - random man on the internet - has not seen it, it must not exist!
...I think I'll stop there, as I'm sure none of this will dent your armour of self-certitude. *sigh*
Well-written and thoughtful--and far too true. Although I've not yet experienced breast cancer, I'm tired of the lack of health care access and the over-emphasis on pink. According to the National Cancer Institute, nearly as many people this year will be diagnosed with lung cancer as with breast cancer, and more with die of it. Anybody wanna guess lung cancer's ribbon color? Or talk about how much money is donated by tobacco companies to fight cancer?
In fact, Ms. Geiselman, you've come upon something uncomfortable about charities. I'd say it's accidental because it hit your particular parish. Have you examined how all charities work?

I was once involved in putting on role playing game conventions, which have a lot of people willing to participate in charity functions. We were able to raise a few thousand dollars for the American Cancer Society. It took a lot of begging and pleading for them to take our money. We were "small potatoes" to them.

Who are the "big potatoes?" They have dress-up events for the well-off. Not the One Percent so much as the Ten Percent, the ones making $100K or more per year, the ones who have pretensions of being in "society." Their charitable events are formal parties or elaborate costume ball events, whose actual contributions to the charity are something like ten percent of the money raised. (Our little event contributed 100 percent of our money raised.)

These events aren't so much about the charity as people being seen contributing to a charity. It gives them the warm feeling of pretending to be charitable and helpful to their fellow man. But more important is to see and be seen with the elite.

It's a phony game, it goes on in every city with any size, and the charitable foundations that collect that money are part and parcel with it. Nobody watches how much money actually gets applied to the charitable cause, versus the costs of raising the money - the salaries paid to the charity executives, the cost of all those bacon-wrapped scallops served on silver trays, the cost of the hall, et cetera.

Imagine how much money would be raised for breast cancer, for instance, if all the movie theaters and the film companies would contribute the entire box office take for the first midnight showing of The Avengers or some other big film, nationwide. Nobody does that, and the charity wouldn't be a part of it, because actually raising money for a charity is a secondary or tertiary priority. Most important is making rich people feel good about being rich, and forgiving them for the nasty things they do to get rich.
Anything outside of seppuku is disingenuous.
How are we to see in a world where we are told that, because of the internet, things have become so translucent that nothing escapes us, and yet we have no idea if what we are being shown is what is really there at all, or just another mirror held up to the illusion of our outrage.
To clarify: nowhere do I say that any charity should be required to fund any other entity. My problem is with their hypocrisy and the inconsistency with which they apply their policies. They pretend not to have an agenda, but clearly, they do. Honest charities should make clear their missions and goals and operate consistently within them. Komen does no such thing.
w you wholly.
In my piece last week here I mentioned this may be a pattern for SGK.
thanks! r.
My sister writes checks to charities in December. Last week she called SGK and firmly requested her donation back so she could give it to PP. You don't mess with my sister; she'll crush you with facts. The SGK people got very testy, as you can imagine. But if I had it (but I don't, because I'm an overpaid teacher), I'd bet a good sum that she'll have it in the four weeks she gave them. If not, an investigation into SGK practices might ensue. I'm thrilled that the whole mess has resulted in solid support for providing access to health care for the least of these our brethren, and spurred a righteous anger against the now overt misogyny controlling the lofty chambers of our statehouses. Right on, right on, right ON, Kate.
Kate I find this whole thing confusing. I have to admit to ignorance as I just discussed this the other day with a friend on a long car ride. He informed me that this "pink" organization is particularly bad charity from the numbers standpoint. So why did anyone support it and why does PP want its money?
I check my charities out carefully.

I cant understand why PP supporters are mad at a bad charity for defunding them. Apparently PP wants any and every money it can get. And this woman was hypocritical in her public reason given. But what if she had just said our money is ear marked period and we wont tolerate anything else and want record keeping. That would have been straight forward and totally legitimate. Yes she has an agenda. Do not all charities?

And I don't see how PP wins here. Liberals are pissed apparently because both it is a bad numbers charity and because of the decision. One would also have to conclude that conservatives will slow donations for her caving in. So it seems all in all she will take in less money now. I am unaware so I ask.
Has PP called out this woman before on the numbers and been active to shut her down and get the money directly from donors? Or is PP just now being pissed off?
Based on what I have heard over the last few days, regardless of what anyone thinks of PP, it sounds like Ms "pink" should be out of business just because of the numbers.
Tom - you just can't resist can you.

The OP writes an article expressing her opinion but I guess it just was not inflammatory enough for you.

I don not see a response from the OP thanking you for the additional input. In fact I don't not recall hardly any OP doing suc h in response to your over the top rhetoric.

I know full well what people think of me here because I disagree with most. I don't see much evidence that most agree with you. Of course you and them have general agreement. But it seems, you are the self appointed "inflammatory add on in general".

And yes, I already know I am a self appointed mal content.
But I don't have any notion that anyone here likes me.
Well, Joseph Cole, I'm glad you recognize you're a malcontent. Me, I was talking about how most charities are basically phony scams, which is a valid opinion which I backed up with real-world evidence from my life. Your post simply said that I suck. Okay, whatever. There have been worse posts than you repeating what those voices in your head tell you.
neutron - I did not address you at all and certainly did not say you suck. I think you are saying that many charities are at best inefficient and worse, ripoffs.
I happen to agree.

And as I said I was ignorant to Komen until recently. I had assumed that the pink organization was a good cancer related charity. Apparently that is not the case. It is apparently a non profit designed to line Komen's pockets.
I have no love for such organizations.

I personally think regular employees of non profits should make commensurate salaries for their skills. But I think no one in a non profit should be wealthy. In fact I could see where a programmer would make more than the so called CEO of a non profit.

I am not friends with, but know off a non profit CEO that has a vintage guitar collection worth in excess of $2M. I find that to be BS. I think 100 - 150K would be enough for any non profit employee. The money is supposed to be going to charity.
Maybe they felt that PP had too little to do with the actual work that, I believe, the Komen foundation is working on, which is breast cancer. PP is about birth control primarily and abortion. They do other things as well, but that is, I believe even according to them, their main focus. Maybe Komen wanted to spend their money on something more closely associated with breast cancer.

Or maybe they just got sick of putting money into an organization that performs over 300,000 abortions (very few of them medically necessary or because a woman was raped or a victim of incest, etc.,). You don't like it, send money to PP. Sounds like a lot of people have been doing so.

Me, I'll be glad NOT to.

Organizations should fund what they believe in. Komen too is allowed, if they were the reasons, its moral choices and, yes, its politics.
Great piece. The larger problem here is how easy it is for right wing ideology to fracture communities -- even communities that share such important work as the prevention and cure of breast cancer. In a perfect world it ought to have been possible for women in the two organizations to put aside their disagreements on abortion and unite around their shared interests on cancer prevention. Liberals at least tried with the agreement to keep Planned Parenthoods services segregated. Conservatives wouldn't even hear of it. Planned Parenthood did abortions and so was irredeemably unclean. End of story. And so the effort to find a cure for breast cancer is set back. Multiply this scenario thousands of times in different contexts and you understand why American society is becoming increasingly fractured, polarized and dysfunctional. And both sides are not equally to blame for this.
Nancy Brinker should resign. This is bigger than the NPR scandal.
Breaking News: VP and Republican anti-abortion activist Karen Handel just resigned, issuing a statement that the Komen decision was never political; this in the face of a HuffPost report from a Komen insider who maintained "that Handel, who ran for governor of Georgia in 2010 on the promise to defund Planned Parenthood, has been pushing to drop the organization from grants since she was hired in April 2011."
I think it's important to say something else here too--before starting to "pile on." And that is the fact there was a massive outpouring of support of PP and that it shows there has been at least some progress in moving forward in this direction rather than backward.

I believe that each one of these victories, such as they are, need to be seen in the broader perspective as well for they indicate the majority view has shifted, and "choice" has taken precidence to "authority."

Those who took the time and made the effort to turn this around are the leaders, and the ramifications in other cases where our right to reserve our individual freedoms have been strengthened.
Ted - I am not sure which conservatives would not hear of separation. I just suggested it in a previous post.
I have to believe that it is liberals that would not really like separation. Because the abortion part of the service would then become totally obvious statistically.
No confusion about how much money, what % of services etc and maybe the abortion part would actually get less of the money they so desperately want.

Society is fractured because they have opinions. You seem to suggest that the right politicians, the right media and the right level of consciousness would somehow make everyone more in line with one thinking. And of course that is your line of thinking.

As I already said, 10% of people serviced get an abortion.
Now tell us the number who walk in pregnant and we will know he real % of pregnant women get an abortion.
Somehow I cant find that info.

Has is crossed your mind to think and act conservatively to fix this fracture. Of course not.
SO I can blame you and you can blame me. There is no blame. There are differences that are not going to somehow line up in your favor.