Thursday, February 02, 2012

Tough One (UPDATED!)

UPDATE! After the massive public outcry and deluge of high-profile donors pulling out, Komen has reversed it's decision to defund Planned Parenthood. Good news, but their official statements are packed with caveats and CYA language that leaves things open for them to try and pull the same shit in another form later on. Frankly, I don't think I'll be giving them any more money myself until they purge the pro-life nutters from their leadership ranks. But that's just me.

ORIGINAL POST:
For a variety of reasons I'm a bit more cautious about approaching politics and/or muckraking related to cancer research - breast cancer research in particular - than I am about similar goings-on with other issues. Also, believe it or not I do try to consider that any attraction to allegations of malefeasance by supposed charitable organizations might need to be second-guessed; since it plays waaaay too well into my natural trust-nobody/fuck-the-world cynicism.

WARNING! POLITICAL STUFF AFTER THE JUMP:


This is partially why I haven't done any posting about the buzz-gathering documentary "Pink Ribbons Inc;" which bills itself as an expose of unflattering practices by the ubiquitous Susan G. Komen breast cancer charity - chiefly alleging that the organization has become more concerned with it's role as a corporate-synergized "brand" than actively seeking a cure. I'll confess, I've often felt that seeing the yearly deluge of Komen-branded "pink products" to be a bit on the tacky side however well-intentioned... but I wasn't totally as comfortable with this particular "go get `em!" as I was with, say, a whack or five at PeTA.

But given recent events, it feels like I have to agree that this organization - at the very least, it's LEADERSHIP - needs some major scrutiny. So here's the trailer:



The film has, of course, jumped back into buzz-territory as of yesterday; when SGK stunned and outraged many of it's longtime supporters by announcing they would cease all funding of breast cancer screenings performed at Planned Parenthood facilities - one of the top resources for such screenings for low-income women in the U.S. Unsurprisingly, this comes not long after the foundation raised eyebrows by appointing virulent anti-abortion zealot (and failed gubernatorial candidate) Karen Handel to Vice President of Public Policy. So... yeah, the whole thing stinks to high heaven so far as I can see.

I'm sure there's already no shortage of petitions and protest sites associated with this, but given how new the happenings are I'm not looking to post them just yet - again, cautious about these things... but speaking only for myself I feel placed in an ideologically-awkward position. I'm pro-choice for the exact same reasons I want to find a cure for breast cancer: I care about women's health, and I can't really fathom how one could be decoupled from the other.

So... yeah. That's the trailer, them's the facts, make of it what you will.

30 comments:

biomechanical923 said...

I see no reason why Komen needs to fund and provide cancer screenings inside of Planned Parenthood clinics, as opposed to other venues.

Maybe a lobbying group as powerful as Komen became privy to some information on Capitol Hill that forced them to make a decision that was in the best interest of their mission.

It's all speculation, but I could easily see some senators telling Komen "Planned Parenthood is going down, get out while you still can"

Anonymous said...

It's because, for many women who are poor or cannot afford healthcare, Planned Parenthood is literally the only way that they can be screened for breast cancer. So essentially, be doing this, Komen has cut off thousands of women from their ONLY way to be screened. Planned Parenthood is the largest outreach for them. So Komen has just gone against everything they're meant to stand for, and potentially (That's semantics. They HAVE.) killed many of the women they claim they're trying to save.

Good job guys.

biomechanical923 said...

@Anonymous

But that's wrong.
Komen isn't stopping cancer screening. They just stopped doing it through Planned Parenthood.

Anonymous said...

@Biomechanical923

I will reiterate, because you seem to be missing the point.

A large % of women simply CANT get screened otherwise. It was LITERALLY the ONLY option for them.

Now that that option is gone, those women will not be getting screened, and many women who would have had been warned early will now be at greater health risk.

By removing that option, Komen has gone against the principles it claims to stand by, getting rid of breast cancer.

And even if they did get some inside info and pulled out, that would make me trust them even less. You know someone reaaly stands for a cause when they stand by it if the shit hits the fan. And conversely, you know they don't really stand for a cause if they discard it when the shit hits the fan. If Komen really had heard the shit was gonna hit the fan and pulled out, then you know they don't really care about breast cancer.

IMA different anon btw

Ironhammerstew said...

In terms of Komen's choice, I would like to back up biomechanical923 by pointing out that the article cited at the top of the page says that of the $1 million spent by Komen in Conn, only 38000 actually went to Planned Parenthood. I think Anonymous raises a good point about access, and its ABSOLUTELY Komen's responsibility to find ways of granting access to those women who might not be in a position to just switch from Planned Parenthood to something else.

In terms of the idea that being pro-choice is the only way to be for woman's health...

Speaking as a part of the pro-life side, I can categorically state that I do in fact care about women's health. I and my fellows don't believe that we should just let people die. If an expectant mother is at risk we absolutely believe that doctors should do everything they possibly can to save her...short of deliberately killing the unborn child. We don't think the unborn have more rights than the mother....we believe they have equal rights. We as a society do not do enough to care for women who are pregnant, and must correct this. I believe in that. But I admit I don't care for what seems to be the implication that everyone who is pro-life is a misogynist who would gleefully cut off cancer cure research/other forms of medical care for women. I believe we should fund and promote research into curing cancer/other diseases, and like the idea of the Federal Government putting money into said research. I personally do not assume the worst of those who disagree with me on this issue, even though I in fact disagree. So why should the worst be assumed of me? It is possible to be pro-life and not sexist.

Since I admit I do like "stirring the pot" so to speak, I was wondering what you guys think about ma the 2011 March for Life? I have read sources saying its largest so far, and contained scores of young people, suggesting that the debate is far from over. Thoughts?

biomechanical923 said...

@Anonymous
A large % of women simply CANT get screened otherwise. It was LITERALLY the ONLY option for them.

What exactly is stopping people from seeing a doctor in a hospital or in a non-abortion providing clinic?

If Komen really had heard the shit was gonna hit the fan and pulled out, then you know they don't really care about breast cancer.

There's no honor in going down with the ship. Like I said, it's fully speculation, but it's well known that there are a lot of very powerful individuals who have Planned Parenthood in their sights, yet don't want to see cancer treatments get caught in the crossfire.

Mads said...

"
What exactly is stopping people from seeing a doctor in a hospital or in a non-abortion providing clinic?
"
They can't afford it you fool, and they won't do it if it's not free. The reason people buy these ribbons and pink things is to combat breast cancer, even among those who can't afford it.

Also, female health clinics that don't provide abortion are very few. In the end, who gives a shit where it happens; it's CANCER, everybody should hate it. Except this organisation that apparently thinks being pro-life is more important than their bloody mission statement.

@Ironhammerstew

It's a health issue because women will mutilate themselves if they don't have access to safe abortions, or go to quacks who will mutilate them. Making it illegal does one thing: It makes it unsafe for those who do it. It's just like drugs. Tell me you don't know where to pick up 5 grams of cocain in your city right now, and that you can't find out; this in spite of 20 years of a war on drugs.

That's why it's a womens health issue: Making it legal simply makes it healthy. It doesn't make more women do it.

You want to stop abortions, make pregnancies more legitimate and support the women who go through them. Spread condoms out to teenagers for free. Make birth control pills cheaper.

Don't make abortions illegal.

It's not about assuming you're a sexist, it's about saying, wellp, I guess you're ok that what you support will make thousands of women get mutilated so long as you think it might also prevent a few http://www.blogger.com/captcha?token=AM2hDkASoh9MR/E3sTToACrM8u53vc%2Bnon0J8eZ5NUV2W4hRgjSkSuL6keJfQdZOHDs9/EBhzvMdmGMDg4r3XnIQc1tbHfs5AChWMCjd6jhZW7ZXj/MniJ/Mr5FCp4SG3Tc4V1gr2sEJabortions here and there.

Anonymous said...

Moviebob! I love your political commentary! "American Bob" and "game over-thinker" episodes which discuss patriotism, sexism, and political paradigms really impress me.

You have enough speaking ability, historical context, and political understanding to warrant a paid, full time analysis of political culture which I think can easily match your "Big Picture" knowledge on useless(albeit hilarious) comic book continuity.

Please turn these rants into audio files I can download onto my android, or watch on YouTube! You are more cutting than Ron Paul, more funny than Maddow, and more likeable than any of these pseudo folksy hacks who run on the right.

Your fan from Seattle
Rocky
RHrabar@Gmail.com

biomechanical923 said...

@ Mads
"They can't afford it you fool, and they won't do it if it's not free. The reason people buy these ribbons and pink things is to combat breast cancer, even among those who can't afford it."

You seem to be operating on the assumption that if Komen isn't giving their money to Planned Parenthood, then they aren't giving their money to anybody. This is false.

All the money that went to PP will probably go to other cancer centers instead.

This isn't going to reduce the number of cancer screenings, this is only going to change where they are done.

So if the only difference is a change of venue, what's the problem?

Anonymous said...

@biomechanical923
Because, again, there really aren't many other places to do so outside of PP. PP is the biggest, best funded, most accessible place for these women to get screened, and pretty much the only place where they can get it done for free, making it accessible to everyone who cannot afford it.

Essentially, because of their pro-life politics (And I really scoff at that. Anyone who dares call themselves pro-life and does this is an abominable human being.) this group is allowing these women to die. There aren't enough, or really any, places with as far a reach as Planned Parenthood, or who help as many women as they do. This is very real murder of people who have nowhere else to go.

@Ironhammerstew

So wait. You're saying that if a possible mother WILL DIE if she doesn't have an abortion, she should still try and save the baby? If you believe that, then you DON'T care about women's health. That would be an awful situation to be in to begin with. And as a women who does want children, it would break my heart if I were ever in that situation. That being said: Telling me that I have to die because "hey maybe the child will survive even though you won't!" is pretty disgusting.

The fact is, believe it or not, in countries that legally support abortion, there are actually LESS of them. Why? Because places like say, Planned Parenthood, offer contraception, as well as abortions if you need one.

Places where abortion is illegal: More women tend to get pregnant, as there are fewer options for contraceptives. More women then proceed to DIE because they get abortions illegally. This is reality.

If you want to ACTUALLY stop abortions, which I would like to do, this is what you do: Support legislation that actually takes care of kids when they are BORN. Things that make it more financially possible for people to raise children. Daycare provisions. Contraceptives. Healthcare for pregnant women. Rights for pregnant women so they don't lose their jobs, or be discriminated against. Improve the adoption laws, or child services, so there are safer ways for adoptions to take place.

THESE are the ways you stop abortion. Not making it illegal.

Fett101 said...

@Ironhammerstew, That $38,000 number is only the amount given to Planned Parenthood of New England. Komen gives Planned Parenthood about $680,000 total per year.

"I have read sources saying its largest so far, and contained scores of young people"

Very easy to get those numbers since schools, youth groups and churches plan mass trips. Having been in one of those schools I will say, anecdotaly, there's just as many kids who are very dismissive of the march.

"What exactly is stopping people from seeing a doctor in a hospital or in a non-abortion providing clinic?"

This is a big deal because Planned Parenthood is the largest reproductive health services provider in the USA. You have some major blindspot if you don't see the issue with how this will effect women's ability to get screenings.

Please remember a year from now the thought that "Komen became privy to some information on Capitol Hill" so you can perhaps learn something.

there are a lot of very powerful individuals who have Planned Parenthood in their sights, yet don't want to see cancer treatments get caught in the crossfire.

This is just one part of the "war" on women's health. The shit-storm over the HPV virus is a sign of how many people are putting their own moral qualms ahead of the health of others.

Ironhammerstew said...

@Mads

There are many factors that might push someone into feeling abortion was absolutely necessary. Poverty, families more interested in judging than helping, and abusive spouses/partners are just some of those factors. What I and my fellow pro-lifers would say is that we as a society must deal with these factors without abortion being considered a possible solution. For example, I would happily pay higher taxes to provide better services to pregnant women so that they did not feel like abortion was the only way out.

@Anonymous

During the process of my conversion to Catholicism, I'll admit I initially struggled to accept the Catholic Church's position on the subject. Something I discovered and liked is the Church's position on medical situations like the ectopic pregnancy. In such a case, a doctor may remove the fallopian tube, even though this will result in the child's death. The same is true if the doctor must remove the lining of the uterus. The difference here is that you are not trying to kill the kid. Its an accidental effect rather than aim.
And as far as cases where a Doctor might feel they had to deliberately and directly kill the developing child? In a post on the website First Things, George Weigel spoke of the Hippocratic Oath to "do no harm" (http://www.firstthings.com/onthesquare/2011/02/clarifying-ldquodouble-effectrdquo). I accept the notion that intentionally killing one life to save another constitutes "harm". I do accept that police officers, soldiers, and people being robbed may have to kill in self defense. However, in those cases the person they might have to kill is deliberately trying to hurt them. No unborn child wants to hurt its mother.

I should also note that, as stated above in my response to @Mads, I agree with you about the need to have programs/greater societal involvement so that mothers do not feel trapped.

Anonymous said...

@Ironhammerstew

The problem with what you're saying is that these are really semantics. The "goal" is not to kill the child, as in this case I'm going with that this child would be wanted and this is the worst situation for any expecting parent. The "goal" is to save the mother. But some of these suggestions, like removing her fallopian tubes and whatnot, might ruin her chances of ever trying again.

Yes, this is tragic and awful. It is one of the worst things a person could ever experience. I would probably be devastated if it were me. But you know what? I would want them to save me. I would want the chance to actually be able to have children. I would mourn the loss of that child, absolutely. I can't imagine how hard that would be. But to risk the chance of not being able to have more? To risk my own life for someone who hasn't even taken a breath yet? Sorry. Me, and frankly no one else I know, (And I have known people who were in this situation. It was difficult enough on the sidelines.) would rather die, or risk the chance of not having children again, just so the doctors or whatever could have a clear conscience since their goal "wasn't really to kill the baby!" but it's what happened anyway. Realistically, in that situation, it isn't how people think.

I'm glad you feel like society should make moves to provide pregnant women at risk with greater care. But banning abortion won't do that, it will make mother, child, and potentially father's lives much worse in the long run. More women will die, and abortions will still take place. Instead of being "pro-life" (Which I consider a fallacy. It's anti-choice. More people die because of "pro-life" policies than live.) you should consider being pro-choice, and devote your efforts to things that will help stop abortion in the long run: Education, funding, contraceptives, daycare, adoption, etc.

In a perfect world, no one would HAVE to get an abortion. But we don't live in one. We live in a world where single mothers cannot afford to stay pregnant, because they'll lose their jobs or be unable to work. Because they know as well as I do that children's services and adoption agencies are incredibly corrupt (Though of course, there are exceptions to every rule. I know of cases of adoption that have been wonderful. But for every lovely story where everything turns out great, there are two where it doesn't.)

You can WANT to be "pro-life" and pro women's health in theory. In practice though, it doesn't work like that. All the money that goes to making abortion illegal could be used to improve foster care. Fight for pregnant women in danger-areas, below the poverty lines, etc. and education. Instead the effort is put on making their lives worse, and as a result, making these children's lives worse when they are born. No daycare. Overworked underpaid parents who can't afford their kids. An overburdened underfunded foster care system. That's reality.

How many of these kids are you willing to adopt? Because there are literally thousands in the system.

antecedentless said...

They caved.
PP funding has been restored.

Also
>Soft drinks or bottles with carcinogens
The PVC "controvercy" again? Really?

antecedentless said...

As the Bob "retweeted"/noted on twitter,
It turns out they did not cave that much

The grants they have already processed will go through, but for now on they will give grants to organizations who actually do mammograms.

Moneyquote from the comments:
>The majority do not do breast exams or pap smears. Again, their main business is abortion and they push that hard. I know nurses who used to work in that business.

Anyways, there has been a controvesy over whether or not mammograms actually help... but, well, more on cancer, personhood of cell blobs, the coorelation between legality and danger (lets legalize Prostitution! And Heroin! Create lots of tax revenue and jobs!)... and other silliness discussed and/or scoffed at here later.

Jake said...

@antecedentless
I'm not going to argue about abortion (since as a libertarian I see it as a separate issue), how ever, drugs and prostitution should be legalized. When a prostitute is raped in a place where prostitution is illegal, they usually don't go to the police for fear of the police arresting them. And the same happens for drug addicts who want to get better.

It's not just about jobs and tax revenue. When you make something illegal, it actually does the opposite of what the government is trying to do, it makes them unregulated. At least in decriminalized forms they are regulated and the product/service is safer. At least when it comes to drugs, every major, comprehensive study has said that our current policy is not only not working, but making the problem worse and that at least decriminalization would be better. And don't say, "then why don't you just legalize murder and rape" prostitution and drugs are not the same as murder and rape.

I personally don't agree with doing drugs or buying the services of prostitutes, but I think people should be free to make their own choices, as long as they don't hurt anyone.

Jake said...

@antecedentless
cont'd
When it comes to drug decriminalization you should ponder these things.

One, how many prisons do we need to build in order to solve the drug problem. And tell me the exact number.

Two, a lot of people talk about "What would Jesus Do" in certain situations. Now I'm a Christian, and I'm going to assume you are to. If we handed him the problem, would he tell us to build more hospitals and rehab centers, or would he tell us to build more prisons?

Three, one of the most important aspects of recovering from addiction is getting and keeping a job. That's harder when you have a criminal record or have been in jail.

Four, don't forget about the fact that driving it underground causes more crime and gang/mob violence.

Mads said...

@ Ironhammerstew

"
There are many factors that might push someone into feeling abortion was absolutely necessary. Poverty, families more interested in judging than helping, and abusive spouses/partners are just some of those factors. What I and my fellow pro-lifers would say is that we as a society must deal with these factors without abortion being considered a possible solution
"

That's a great idea! Why don't you take your time machine and your mind guns and go and erase all records of abortion from human history.

I'm assuming you can do this, since this is the only way you're ever going to make people not consider abortion when the pregnancy is problematic in some fashion.

But, sometimes I'm wrong in my assumptions. If I am, and you don't have a time machine and mind guns, then welcome to reality: Making something illegal will not make people disregard it as an option.

It's a great concept, but, and I cannot stress this enough, abortions _will_ happen, whether illegal or not. Adding additional legal pressure _only_ makes it unsafe, it _doesn't_ stop it from happening.

Learn to deal with the limited means accessible to government, rather than imagining it can solve everything.

antecedentless said...

Before I get back to my studies, I'd like to remind everyone that nearly one in five pregnancies are purposefully terminated. one. in. five.

Abortion apologists, when they are not arguing that traveling through the birth canal magically makes a non-human human, love to bring up coat-hangers, back allies, rape/incest and whatnot... some have even tried to here, and still keep going for the legal=safer fallacy, but that statistic should tell you that in nearly all cases, abortion is not an emergency form of contraception or even an alternative means of contraception. It is the means of contraception.

More hard numbers from much more reputable sources (more reputable than wikipedia anyway) later.

Jake said...

@antecedentless
To be fair, most pro-choice people believe that person hood begins in between conception and birth, like when heart beats start. It's not either or.

Ironhammerstew said...

@Anonymous

I would argue the distinction is more than just semantics. In the cases I described, a doctor does/would operate on the infected part of a woman's body, not on the baby itself.

@Mads

I recognize that the way I phrased my thought sounds naive. Thanks for calling me out on that. What I mean is that at the same time as they are working to change the laws, the pro-life side should (which isn't to say some of them don't) try and get enough of a support system set up so that whether rich or poor, women in this county were not faced with the choice between an abortion and a life of misery and poverty. To the argument that some would slip through the cracks, either by choosing an abortion anyway or the system failing to help them...I desperately wish I could say that would never happen. The best we could do would be to work to make the number of people who feel through the cracks as close to 0% as we possibly could

@Moviebob

I am believe Dinosaurs went extinct millions of years before humanity evolved, and that intelligent design should not be taught in biology. Am I the same in your eyes as someone who thinks fossils are just tricks of the devil?

Also, I would argue that Zygotes should be protected because they are unique. When the father's and Mother's genetic material come together, it forms a unique genetic pattern that is essentially a "blueprint" from which that person will be built. Destroying the blueprint would deny the person to be born the ability to live because of factors outside of their control. And I would not extend that same recognition to, say, the zygotes of plants, since they never develop into beings capable of rational thought...Plants may be living things, but there is a reason we dont accord them civil liberties.

Ironhammerstew said...

"I am"....ok....let me try that again....I am a pro-lifer who believes Dinosaurs went extinct millions of ...." hey, its late ;)

Anonymous said...

I love the leftist neanderthals who don't comprehend that this is a private charity and is thus entitled to decide where its money goes. Maybe if someone beat the idea of private property into their thick skulls this country would be better off.

Ironhammerstew said...

@Anonymous

to be fair, no one is saying Komen couldn't have withdrawn the money....its more about if they should. If someone tried to have Komen's leaders arrested.....that would be completely utterly wrong. But I have not heard anyone say that....I think its just that some people dont want to give Komen donations now.

Anonymous said...

"to be fair, no one is saying Komen couldn't have withdrawn the money....its more about if they should. If someone tried to have Komen's leaders arrested.....that would be completely utterly wrong. But I have not heard anyone say that....I think its just that some people dont want to give Komen donations now."

http://dailycaller.com/2012/02/02/after-cutting-ties-with-planned-parenthood-komen-donations-up-100-percent/

Anonymous said...

"Zygotes should be protected because they are unique. When the father's and Mother's genetic material come together, it forms a unique genetic pattern that is essentially a "blueprint" from which that person will be built."

And this differs from the millions of uniquely endowed sperm cells that never get so much as the opportunity to combine with an ovum, or fail in the attempt, dying inconsequentially, how?

Ironhammerstew said...

@Anonymous

The sperm cell is just the fathers genetic material, while the zygote is the combination of both. Also the sperm miss the egg/die naturally. Humans have nothing to do with that process.

antecedentless said...

@Jake
Sadly, it is either or.
This man put partial birth abortion back on the table. Anyone who holds the position that yes the child is absolutely human after date X has no one to vote for. The pro-death lobby viciously defends everything up to and including birth.

As for the promised stuff about stats... well, this news item is old enough to not be read very much, so when I am caught up in my studies I will just do a blog post and link it here.

Also
>Health Insurance should pay for contraception (morning after pills included), even for religious organizations
Really? And I guess my car insurance premium should cover oil changes and saftey checks.

Ironhammerstew said...

hey guys, ummm its been a while and i dont know if anyone will see this, but I feel like posting this anyway. After some further thought, investigation, and talking to friends who are of the Jesuit Catholic persuasion, I have decided to commit that terrible sin of "flip-flopping" ;). Specifically, you know that bit where I said a doctor has an oath to do no harm? Well, further thought makes me realize that while I still think life begins at conception, in situations where the mother's life is at risk and the principle of double effect wont save the kid, I am not against the doctor performing an abortion. In a case like that, there inst even really a choice to speak of.

Also I wanted to apologize to you Moviebob. You have already basically stated you think they're thinkers within Christianity (you have praised Tolkien and Lewis), and I feel bad for being so sensitive about your criticisms that I tried to insist you be more direct about the distinction. In retrospect, I seems ridiculous that I even thought you assumed the worst of all Christians. I am sorry for being thin-skinned on that.

Ironhammerstew said...

doh, I recognize I said something incorrectly....I meant principle of double effect wont work. AHHHH! I need to edit!