Tag: mammogram

The Komen Foundation: an Apology, Not a Reversal

When an Apology is Just an Apology

The Apology
Although the Komen Foundation has apologized, it has not actually reversed its decision. It will honor grants to which Komen has previously committed to for 2012 but it does not say anything about future funding.

Komen Foundation founder Nancy Brinker said, “Amending our criteria will ensure that politics has no place in our grant process. We will continue to fund existing grants, including those of Planned Parenthood, and preserve their eligibility to apply for future grants, while maintaining the ability of our affiliates to make funding decisions that meet the needs of their communities.” This battle is far from over.

As The Huffington Post points out, Komen’s apology is not a promise to renew Planned Parenthood grants. It simply says, “continue to fund existing grants” to the organization — which it had already planned on doing — and to make it eligible for future grants. At no point in the press release does Brinker promise that Komen will renew grants to Planned Parenthood.”

The Explanantion
The Komen Foundation claimed the reason it had cut Planned Parenthood funding was because it had established new criteria for grant giving and that it would no longer give grants to organizations under investigation by local, state or federal governments.

The problem with that explanation is that the Komen Foundation currently gives $7.5 million in grants to the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center for cancer research; and as we all know, Penn State is under investigation. That grant would appear to violate  that new rule at Komen. (Mother Jones.) Oops.

Playing Politics with Women’s Health
There is no question that the Susan G. Komen Foundation’s decision to cut funding to Planned Parenthood was politically motivated.

It allowed political pressure—apparently coming from high up in its own organization—to betray its own 501(c)3 mission “…working together to save lives”.  The Komen Foundation launched an all-out attack on poor, young and uninsured women when it announced that it was cutting all grants to Planned Parenthood. This grant money was used by Planned Parenthood for cancer screenings.

This action was apparently taken at the direction of some right-wing extremist senior staff and board member.

In April 2011, Komen hired Karen Handel to be its new senior vice president for public policy. Handel’s extremist positions were not a secret. Handel had run unsuccessfully in 2010, on the Republican line, for governor of Georgia. Describing herself as a pro-life Christian, she ran on a platform to cut all public funding to Planned Parenthood even for non-abortion-related health services.

In addition, Nancy Brinker who is the founder of Komen, is a former Bush administration official, and we all remember the rabid anti-choice agenda of the Bush years. She is a major contriubtor to Republican officials.

Some Komen staff resigned after the decision was made in December.

The War on Women
Komen’s willingness to cut funding to Planned Parenthood highlights the ease with which a direct assault on women—particularly the poor, young and uninsured—can be launched.

The majority of those served by Planned Parenthood are uninsured. Unlike many private doctors, Planned Parenthood does not turn the poor and uninsured away.

Komen’s funding cuts would have directly attacked the wellbeing of the most vulnerable women. It was the Komen Foundation’s version of the Hyde Amendment.

Anti-Choicers Stop At Nothing – Fool Washington Post to Promote Their Agenda

“Anti-Abortion Sting Video Fools Washington Post, No One Else” (from Forbes.com)

“The conservative “gotcha” video* whose claims fall apart upon close inspection is fast becoming a well-established trope. So perhaps it’s a sign of learning that the latest entry in the genre, which “exposes” the lack of mammogram services at most Planned Parenthood clinics, only snookered one mainstream media outlet: the Washington Post.

The video is the work of the Live Action, an anti-abortion group that has been lobbying fervently in support of a Republican-led effort to defund Planned Parenthood. Live Action’s founder, Lila Rose, is an activist-provocateur in the mold of James O’Keefe, he of the ACORN and NPR stings.

In the video, Live Action’s agent calls various Planned Parenthood clinics and attempts to schedule a mammogram, only to be told time and again that they’re not available. “[C]ontrary to the claims of Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards and other supporters of the nation’s largest abortion chain, the organization does not provide mammograms for women,” declares the group — proof, it says, that Planned Parenthood’s claims to provide comprehensive reproductive health services are hollow.

The only problem is there doesn’t seem to be any evidence that anyone in an official capacity at Planned Parenthood has ever claimed the organization does provide mammograms at its clinics — only that it conducts breast cancer screenings and refers patients needing mammograms to facilities where they can get them.

Live Action’s video shows Richards, during an appearance on HLN’s “Joy Behar Show,” saying that a bill before congress, H.R. 1, would cause “millions of women” to lose their access to “basic family planning — you know, mammograms, cancer screenings, cervical cancer [screenings].” That’s a solid assertion: H.R. 1 would have defunded President Obama’s healthcare bill, which, among other things, provides insurance coverage for preventive care for women.

I searched through Factiva looking for examples of anyone from Planned Parenthood claiming its clinics offer mammograms and found nothing. I emailed and called Live Action to ask if it can cite any such instances; I’ve yet to hear back. So it’s a non-story: Party A proves Party B doesn’t provide thing Party B never claimed to provide. Doubtless that’s why The New York Times, CNN, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today and other major outlets gave the whole thing a pass, leaving the usual right-wing outlets — Fox News’s Sean Hannity, the Washington Times, etc. — to crow about it to each other, and the liberal watchdog group Media Matters to pick it apart.

Yet somehow the Washington Post got pulled in sans skepticism, running a story on page A4 headlined “Planned Parenthood Challenged on Purported Mammogram Claim.” What, you may wonder, is a “purported” claim? Surely in this era of 360 degree media, any claim made in public must yield a digital paper trail? Why not, then, save the reader the work of figuring out whether that “purported” claim was ever made, and save the copy desk the extra headline space?

I asked the Post’s reporter, Rob Stein, those questions and whether, in effect, he’d been duped into treating a lazy piece of propaganda as news. “I’d prefer to let the story speak for itself,” he told me.

If only it did.”