The Susan G and Planned Parent Puppet Show

Melodrama –  defined as a sensational, dramatic piece with exaggerated characters and exciting  events meant to appeal to emotions.

I  watched with interest and then sadness this week the saga of the Susan G. Komen/Planned Parenthood puppet show. And the puppets? Hate to say it, but the public, more specifically, women. Now, I realize the blood pressure of some of you have just sky rocketed off the page,  but hear me out, please.

These two organizations are very different with very different missions. On the one hand you have Susan G. Komen Foundation. A not for profit foundation, founded in 1982 by the sister of Nancy Goodman Brinker. Nancy died at the young age of 36 from breast cancer. She and her sister believed had they found the cancer earlier, she would still be alive. The foundation was born out of  a promise she made to her sister. The philosophy simple, teach women how to do self breast exams, and encourage early screening to prevent breast cancer.

Today, it is the largest and most widely known breast cancer organization in the United States. It  raises over $35 million a year from 60 plus marketing partnerships, and sponsors the world’s largest fundraising event, the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. The organization invests more than $2 billion in breast cancer education, research, advocacy, health care services and social support. It awards more  than $180 million in grants for breast cancer research.

With more than 100,000 volunteers, you would be hard pressed to go anywhere and not see a pink ribbon tacked on something or someone in support of this great, inspiring organization. I believe her sister would be proud. What a legacy! On the other hand is the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. It has a long history, starting back as far as 1916. I won’t go back quite that far. Its mission is different, and important. I’m not here to argue for or against anything, simply stating facts.

It is the largest family planning service provider in  the United States with a federation of 85 independent affiliates operating more than 820 health centers in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. They serve five million patients a year, 26% are under the age of 19 and 75% at or below poverty level income.

In 2009 they provided contraceptives services; emergency contraception; screening for breast; cervical and testicular cancer related services; pregnancy testing, pregnancy options counseling; testing and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases; comprehensive sex education; menopause treatments; vasectomies, tubal ligations, and abortions. In addition, its doctors and nurses annually conduct 1 million screenings for cervical cancer and 830,000 breast exams.

Planned Parenthood’s funding is different. It doesn’t have pink ribbons or foot races to raise funds. No, It’s received federal funding since 1970 when President Richard Nixon signed into law the Family Planning Services and Population Research Act amending the Public Health Service Act. Title X of that law provides funding for family planning services, including contraception and family planning information.

A third of its money comes from  government grants and contracts, approximately $360 million, in 2009. Additional funds, about one quarter of its revenue, come from a very large and active, 700,000 membership base and private donors. Including Bill Gates, the Buffet Foundation and The Turner Foundation to name a few.

The intersection of these two, very different organizations came about because of money and boobs, but make no mistake about it Planned Parenthood is not about boobs. That isn’t their mission. Their mission is family planning and pro-choice. That is where their fight is, has always been, and continues to be, especially this election year. Breast exams is an ends to a means – money, more funds, and more grant money to keep their mission going. Why do I say this? Simple.

I worked in a clinic as an RN and anytime you do an evaluation, an exam to give a woman contraceptives, you are going to do a breast exam, and if you don’t I would question your practice. Period. In their own literature, Planned Parenthood states they provide breast exams. Mamograms are referred out, as they should be. That’s  always been their practice. So you have to ask – why the uproar?

If Planned Parenthood is not changing what they have always done in how they examine a patient, why did they try to crucify Susan G. Komen? I’ll tell you.

Spin-They wanted to create an unfavorable impression to present to the public. Poor women would not get breast exams and therefore breast cancer wouldn’t be detected early!  And since Planned Parenthood was the only place most of these poor women could go…..

No one stopped to consider these facts:The philosophy of the Komen foundation  is about women taking responsibility for their own self breast exams, and  given the resources Susan G. Komen Foundation has put in the hands of nearly everyone.

Free clinics, volunteers and a zillion other resources, women only have to ask, teach me. Instead, Planned Parenthood and their surrogates created emotional furor and fear, manipulating a public unfairly and unscrupulously forcing Susan G. Komen to cave in to their demands. Give us what we want or else. 

They were willing to let the Komen Foundation who works tirelessly to save millions of lives from breast cancer, lose any amount of funding in order for them to regain a grant for family planning and abortion. After all it’s a hot topic this election year. In addition,  “sympathy” donations started pouring in to Planned Parenthood. At least two donations of $250,000 each, one from Mayor Bloomberg himself, and six other donors have contributed $400,000 in just two days.

Don’t tell me it was ever about breast exams. I’m not that easily manipulated. Those who participated in this farce tarnished a promise, a memory, and a mission. For all the Susan G. Komen Foundation has done for so many of us and our loved ones, we should be ashamed. We should have stood arm in arm with them against this bully. This week the bully came for Susan G. Komen. Next week, who will it be?