Author: Sam Byrne
The single pink ribbon embodying the hope associated with the Susan G. Komen Foundation has been the symbol of strength for women fighting breast cancer since the 1980s. Unfortunately, it has shriveled into a discouraging reminder of just how capable the conservative American movement is of stripping women of affordable sexual health opportunities and personal freedoms. The controversy emerged the day the Komen Foundation decided to deny funding for Planned Parenthood corresponds to the day the United States realized that the “land of the free” is only for those who can afford it and for the men exempt from political decisions concerning their bodies.
Sure, the Komen Foundation reversed its decision to cancel a $600,000 donation after a public outcry, but that’s the true issue. The issue lies with the fact that an organization promising to save lives removed funding for breast exams that save millions of women from a malignant and life threatening cancer because Planned Parenthood provides cost-friendly abortions—a conservative’s worst nightmare. In the effort to protect the sanctity of life for unwanted children, the Komen Foundation has decided to ignore the lives of those urgently needing affordable breast cancer screenings. Hence it decided to put politics before its own mission statement.
The foundation prides itself as an organization that saves lives, yet disregards the millions of Americans who can’t afford health care. Here, the issue is twofold – a lower-class demographic is denied much needed health care, and a sexist revelation surfaces confirming that a powerful conservative agenda can easily strip women across America of their fundamental rights.
With a deceptive insincerity, the Komen Foundation promises on its website, “We’re working together to save lives, empower people, ensure quality care for all and energize science to find the cures.” The author should have included a much-needed asterisk in the fine print, reading: “Only applicable when efforts support a right-wing agenda.”
The Komen Foundation says it halted partnership with Planned Parenthood affiliates due to alleged government investigations of the nonprofit organization. Florida Congressman Cliff Stearns launched an inquiry into whether Planned Parenthood funds abortions with public money, prompting the Komen Foundation to sever its ties with the public health organization. The “government investigation” card that the Komen foundation pulled is unsubstantiated and offensive to women who rely on Planned Parenthood for health care.
In an interview with “The Daily Beast,” Karen Handel, the recently resigned executive of the Komen Foundation, admitted that the Foundation had come to a “ladies’ agreement,” or an understanding that the organization would not publicly discuss the removal of financial support for Planned Parenthood. Of course, in the unspoken rules of ladylike behavior, one should never admit to a wrongdoing and must always maintain a proper appearance.
It is difficult to maintain appearances, however, when the Komen Foundation’s hands are dirtied with the proverbial blood of women that have been denied lifesaving screenings and the professional help they deserve.
Sam Byrne is an undeclared sophomore. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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