Sitting back after the dust has settled on Susan G. Komen’s awkward about-face (which is actually no about-face at all but a bit of temporary cover), one thing has become clear. Komen has given a renewed voice back to the pro-choice movement, too long drowned out by the money and loud talking heads of the anti-choicers. Komen’s disastrous decision to go political and in turn anti-woman has turned the lazy press on its heels, causing reporters and opinionators to have no option but to shed new, favourable light on pro-choice voices and Planned Parenthood, too long the whipping boy in the media. It’s revealing that in the rubble that is now Komen, women who value both themselves and the rights of everyone to choose for themselves now have a voice they would not have had save for Nancy Brinker’s political blunder.
It’s also given Planned Parenthood new ammo to help out poorer women. The organization has suffered the brunt of bald-faced lies from the likes who now make up the powerful anti-choice elite at places like Komen, the Republican party and evangelicals (and Canada’s Conservative party, don’t forget). The primping, polo-playing conservatives in the media-darling outfits like Komen have been exposed for who and what they are. The media cannot help but point out the false accusations against Planned Parenthood while unveiling the hypocrisy and political agenda of such suspect groups as Komen. And now Planned Parenthood is thriving, taking in cash from unlikely places, thanks to Komen.
Women with minds of their own should thank Komen and especially Nancy Brinker. And television, too. It didn’t do Brinker any favours. The image representing Komen on TV to millions has uncannily unveiled Brinker’s inner anti-choice stance, despite her words. Her chiseled looks, militant haircut and defiant lies did not help her. Brinker has obviously been reading too much Ayn Rand and not enough Marshall McLuhan.
Nancy Brinker has invigorated a generation of women and men to question the pink ribbon unquestionable titans who have ensconced breast cancer fundraising in the rarefied lair of southern evangelical socialite purity. Breast cancer doesn’t just happen to the rich, those who feel above poor folks, or the hard right. Everyone deserves help when they need it. That’s what makes Planned Parenthood so special. It serves everyone.
And that is why so many on the right are so pissed today at Komen for reversing its joining the conservative fight against Planned Parenthood. Nobody on the right thought this move would make any waves. The foundation thought so little of the women supported by Planned Parenthood, it cavalierly slipped news of its disassociation with PP under the radar. Komen had become so insular, so arrogant, so out-of touch, it thought no one would notice.
But what of Susan G. Komen herself? A woman who died far too early in life from cancer deserves better than what her ideologically-driven sister has tarnished.
It will be interesting to see if the beast at the heart of this controversy, newly-hired ‘life-long conservative Republican’ and vehement anti-choice Karen Handel, will be released from her VP position. If that is the case, Komen will once again provide .016 of its funding to Planned Parenthood. If Handel stays, expect the Komen curse on Planned Parenthood to continue. The goings on behind the scene at Komen may never be known. Bush loser Ari Fleischer’s hand in this is unmistakable. But at this moment, a battle is being waged at the foundation pitting ideology against relevance. Who will win? If Handel stays, Komen loses. Simple. One thing is clear, there’s a movie in this and it won’t be pretty.
(Just out of curiosity. What happens to that whopping $7.5M funded by Komen to Penn State, which is currently under federal government investigation?)
UPDATE: What is cancer? Watch this.