Pink Chicken Buckets versus Life-Saving Medical Treatment

That’s what it comes down to, my friends.

Susan G. Komen, no doubt under the influence of a Sarah Palin-endorsed failed GOP candidate for the Georgia governor’s mansion, has yanked funding for breast cancer screening provided by Planned Parenthood.

Feel like you need some ammo for your conversations with people who are skeptical/ignorant about what Planned Parenthood actually does? Allow me to provide it.

My Planned Parenthood affiliate, Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, provided 17,489 Pap tests in FY2010. Pap smears are the first step in uncovering abnormal cells in the cervix, and abnormal cervical cells . . . well, that means cervical cancer, people.

And I can guaran-damn-tee you that they did at least that many breast exams, if not more.

But that’s just screening. My Planned Parenthood also provides actual further diagnostics and even treatment as follow-up for women who have abnormal Pap test results. They offer colposcopy, cryotherapy, and LEEP, which you can read about here.

Komen is a pass-through organization. They raise funds (and take an administrative cut, and a cut for their own marketing efforts) and pass them along to other organizations that are actually doing the work. Other organizations which often have their own fundraising staff and programs, but which were not as early to the party or aggressive about defending their market share as Komen.

I’ve blogged about Komen and the pink-wash movement before, so my feelings aren’t exactly hidden on this. I’ve never enjoyed my interactions with the local Komen affiliate. One year, my donations were lost. The checks never cleared. When I followed up to ask about this, I was told that they shut down their PO box at some point after the race ended, so my checks must be sitting there.

Really?

I’m sure they’ve figured out a way to keep their donations flowing year-round by now, but that year, my mother had been diagnosed with breast cancer for a second time, and I didn’t want to know that this organization that was raising money off of her friends’ fear and pain and solidarity shut down its PO box after the race because if the money didn’t come in by a certain deadline, it didn’t matter.

I vowed then to never give them another red cent, let alone pink cent, and most everything they’ve done since then has reinforced my decision. Partnerships with KFC to promote Buckets for the Cure versus actual treatment for low-income women who would not be able to get such treatment anywhere else.

If you want to look pretty in pink, give to Komen. If you want to create opportunities for women to access life-saving care, give to Planned Parenthood.

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