Anti-abortion advocates are cheering a big huzzah this week over the decision by the advocacy group Susan Komen For The Cure to cut its ties with Planned Parenthood. As noted here and here, the Komen folks aren't always the friendliest of sorts when it comes to organizations that want to use the word "cure" as part of their fundraising campaigns. Moreover, their single-minded advocacy of mammography as the critical piece in reducing breast cancer mortality may be misguided due to increasing amounts of scientific evidence indicating otherwise, for which their response appears to be to ignore it. So their kow-towing to groups by-and-large hostile to the idea of women's freedom is only a marginal surprise. The only question is how many women will now be willing to march in all those lovely pink-ribboned Breast Cancer Awareness Walks in the springtime. In Boston, where the Billy Rubin Blog makes its home, I'm suddenly dubious that we're going to see the same level of enthusiasm as in previous years.
Amanda Marcotte nicely dissects the Komen action in Slate here. She notes: "No matter how much anti-choicers wish otherwise, it's not feasible to create an approach to women's health that separates good girl concerns from bad girl concerns. For instance, many women land in gynecologist's offices seeking contraceptive services and cervical-cancer screenings, and doctors use that opportunity to teach the art of breast self-exam." Well written, indeed.
The episode reminds us here at Billy Rubin Central of an old yarn from our med school days. It was supplied by an OB/GYN resident from Romania who had lived--indeed, survived--through Nicolae Ceausescu's regime, which, for those whose history isn't up to snuff, can be tersely summed up as "less cuddly than Josef Stalin". Anyway, Dr. Resident OB/GYN was in med school during the regime, and saw some unimaginable things. What kind of things? Watching women die from septic abortions, for starters. As abortions were illegal in Romania, they were performed much as they were in the US before Roe v. Wade, often by back-alley butchers with little or no medical training in nowhere-near-aseptic conditions.
"I used to see it all the time," my resident told me in the middle of the night while we were on call. "These women would roll in with sepsis from a botched abortion all the time, and the police would find out, and they wouldn't allow us to treat them until they gave up the name of the person who performed the abortion. So we'd see women die all the time, refusing to implicate anyone. This was bread-and-butter in my medical school." It nearly made me vomit all those years ago, but perhaps this would be music to Rick Santorum's ears.
True, it's not quite the same as Komen's move, though the downstream consequence--let's call it the cut-off-their-breasts-to-spite-their-vaginas policy--may well be the same: a heap of discarded ta-tas and mounds of dead women.
If you wish to make a donation to Planned Parenthood shortly, consider doing it in the name of Karen Handel, Komen's Senior Vice President for Public Policy since April 2011. Handel, an anti-abortion crusader and former candidate for Governor of Georgia (state, not country, lest the Romania reference mix anyone up) was overtly opposed to Planned Parenthood during her run, and may have been one of the critical players in forming Komen's new policy.
Various hat-tips to Facebook friends, the Point of Law blog, Amanda Marcotte of Slate, and TBogg of FireDogLake.
BR: Like the post. BUT... groups such as the USPSTF and ACS do not uniformly recommend BSE. So if Planned Parenthood is teaching breast self-exams (see Marcotte above), maybe that's not the best example of how they're helping people. -- Indirect Billy RubinReplyDelete
Point well taken, Indirect. Today I was choosing to set aside the issue of BSE, which, unlike mammography, costs nothing and has I suspect far fewer downsides than the mammogram. But you're right: BSE and mammography were great ideas a generation ago that, alas, aren't standing up to the test, and will need to go the way of the Dodo eventually.Delete
Nice one, Billy.ReplyDelete
The reason the abortion conflict will never be solved is that one side sees abortion as "women's freedom", and the other side sees abortion as taking of an innocent human life. I don't think there is any way these two sides will ever come together. As far as the Komen issue--I don't get why those who support abortion and breast cancer research can't donate their money and time to both organizations--but instead insist that one fund the other. If you really believe that PP helps poor women with breast health, donate to them. But now, for those of us who could never donate to Komen and other organizations that support PP, we are happy that we can now donate--as many of my friends walk in the Walks and I hated not being able to support them.ReplyDelete
This is Heidi--couldn't figure out to put this on here except anonymous
First, technical matters: when you post the comment, at the bottom of the field, there is a tab that asks you for your identity. You can choose from among various “identities”, though signing off as “Heidi” in the anonymous post works perfectly fine. The Billy Rubin Blog audience, which likely numbers less than twenty, is not the type to engage in posting people’s addresses for the purpose of intimidation, with the possible exception of when I waded into discussing the coaching atrocities at Texas Tech a while back.Delete
I agree that the Hezbollah-like fanaticism by which anti-abortion groups pursue their ends makes it difficult for anyone who does not share their views to find common ground. Planned Parenthood does a good deal more than provide abortions, but anti-abortion activists have targeted PP with a zeal that would warm the cockles of the hearts of men with long beards in Tehran. Komen has apparently calculated that it is better to throw their lot in with those who support breast cancer awareness but are opposed to helping women who might even consider abortion services than it is to remain neutral on the issue of abortion and attempt to help all women vis-à-vis breast cancer no matter where they get their help.
You may be happy that you will now be able to donate to the women who participate in the Komen walks; my guess is that such walks will be diminished in their broad popularity and become essentially partisan events.
that is too bad that now Komen is not supporting PP, that many people--I assume those who support abortion, will not support them in their efforts to stop breast cancer. Why were they not partisan before when they supported PP, but you assume that now that they don't support PP--it will become partisan? I suggest it is because of the fanaticism on the left in this case. PP's will not have to be shut down simply because Komen does not support them--you can still donate to PP. I have been to a few pro-life events--Hezbollah fanatics we were---all that praying and holding up signs with slogans like "Adoption is a loving choice", caused people to scream in horror. The pro-abortion groups also will stop at nothing to prevent common sense restrictions on abortion--such as parental consent, watching an ultrasound, etc. I wouldn't call them Hezbollah fanatics but they do everything in their power to keep abortion a common practice that is not even regulated as much as my dentists office--and you now how I hate regulations:) Don't worry--you all have won the battle--any 13 year old could be statutorily raped by a 20 year old, he could take her in to a PP, or she could ask her school counselor to take her, and get her an abortion and the parents would never know. If that doesn't make pro-abortion people realize they have basically won this battle--I don't know what willReplyDelete
Oh--and I think the reason PP is targeted is that they perform the most abortions by far of any other abortion mill in the country and my tax dollars have to support it. It would still be targeted if it were a totally private, but I don't think to this extent. And please don't tell me no tax dollars go to abortion--the money they don't have to use to support their other services that are being subsidized by tax money is then freed up to be used for abortion.
I find it odd that you claim to understand the argument on both sides yet you completely misrepresent who the "other side" is. The other side is pro-choice, not "pro-abotion." Its not about "Women's Freedom," it is about Women's rights. Not so subtle differences. If you disagree you are only affirming my point.
Second, that poor 13 year old was in foster care. I beg you, ponder that for a moment while you wave your loving adoption sign. As for your Federal dollars, if you really cared to know what those dollars supported I would hope your intelligence would lead you to be sick over other things than providing healthcare to woman who have no health insurance.
Someone pounced on the red meat:) I characterized your side as "pro-abort" bc my side was characterized as "anti-abortion", "anti-choice"--not pro-life as we prefer:) And I wrote "women's freedom" as that is how Billy referred to it in his original post. I am much more concerned about the rights of the growing human life, rather than women's rights which is code for abortion on demand.Delete
I don't think allowing a poor 13 year old in foster care to go through a secret abortion is in her best interest--I'm sure we differ there.
And obviously since I am a conservative, many things my tax dollars go to make me sick--but not many more than supporting the taking of innocent life.
We are not going to change each other's minds--but your side has won--just look at the recent HHS ruling as an example--so I don't get all the outrage towards a charity that funds breast cancer research that no longer supports an organization that does many things including abortion. SGK has said that it will give the same amount of money to the cut-off communities but to other organizations that do the same breast screenings, etc. So breast health of poor women is not in jeopardy--just funding to the largest abortion facility is. And pro-lifers shouldn't even be too sure this is going to last bc Brinker said if PP can write a grant that meets requirements, they will return to giving them money.
WOW--I forecast the future with that last sentence. They have already changed their tune.Delete
I would also suggest making an donation in honor Rep. Cliff Stearns. You can make a donation as small as $5 to PP and they will send a card to the honoree.ReplyDelete
Thanks, Build. I am all for passing the contempt around to as wide a net of deserving people as possible. Best, BillyDelete
well said, as always.ReplyDelete
For the record, Sharon is not a paid employee of the Billy Rubin Blog. If we did have a staff, Sharon would be the first paid member, however.Delete