Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day

The conflict of the ages--love versus art; passion versus Passion--brought to life in this segment from the gorgeous, disturbing, and utterly compelling 1948 ballet film The Red Shoes. Enjoy!

May your day be filled with beauty and your heart filled with love--or at least, lust--for career and lovers alike. #YouCanHaveItAll #OrSoTheyTellMe

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Litbrit, resident Twittering clairvoyant, on the Catholics Vs. Contraceptives conflict

While watching MSNBC yesterday morning, at 9:49 am, I Tweeted:

.@BarackObama @MSNBC @JoeNBC @MorningMika *IDEA* Have all insurance cos EAT the cost of BC coverage. All MUST offer it--like a lagniappe.
Three minutes later, at 9:52 am, I elaborated further, Tweeting:
.@BarackObama @MSNBC @JoeNBC @MorningMika *IDEA* BirthControl cheaper thn maternity coverge. Make insurance co. provide FREE.
and as you'll see, writer and blogger Jeff Fecke replied "Sounds like that could be the plan". Not having heard anything myself at that point, I replied that I would be "amazed and happy" if it were, but I wasn't holding my breath. Then Jeff supplied a link to the then-breaking news. Look:

When I thought about all this yesterday morning--well before the White House officially announced the plan, ahem, you're welcome President Obama*--I was musing about what would the best way forward that could simultaneously give the Catholic Bishops the deniability they ostensibly needed (let's give them the benefit of the doubt here and assume that they really are just aggrieved at having their beliefs violated, and that this has nothing whatsoever to do with anyone wanting to control women's lives) and give women employees of Catholic-owned businesses the access to birth control that they needed.

I reasoned that by making free birth control an inherent part of the medical insurance policies themselves--wherein coverage costs exactly the same whether the individuals so covered avail themselves of contraceptives or not--the accommodation would afford the Catholic Church a moral "out" of sorts. They would be able to view purchasing and providing healthcare insurance the way they might view a drugstore. There is a broad variety of products for sale within said store, products that a Catholic needs, even as there are other products for sale--on the shelves in the contraceptive aisle, for example--that a devout, birth-control-opposing Catholic would not select for his or her own use. In other words, the mere existence of Cathlic-Church-prohibited products within that store does not, itself, render the other, needed products--along with the entire store--anathema to Catholics, since they will only be purchasing that which they need and want and are not in any way being forced to pay for the prohibited products. The existence of those prohibited products simply comes along with the existence of the store.

It was a semantic dodge and a fungibility dodge, yes. But it worked for me.

And agreeing to comply with this policy adjustment would surely be a financial consideration for the insurance companies--as I pointed out in the second Tweet above. Good grief, it's pretty straightforward math to state that it costs far less to provide a woman with contraceptives than it does to cover the skyrocketing costs associated with obstetric care, and that's when all goes smoothly, which as we know, it often doesn't. Emergency C-sections are expensive. Neonatal intensive care is mind-bogglingly expensive. Babies are expensive, period.

But you know what? I don't mind. If the way to the insurance industries' heart (such as it is) is through their bottom line, so be it. (Yes, they are getting a killer of a sweetheart deal with this Affordable Care Act, which is a post for another day, I promise.)

For women of all religions and no religion alike, yesterday's announcement was win-win. We women don't get to see those very often, and I think it's a good idea to commit to memory the various anti-women, anti-choice, and flat-out misogynist statements we heard some politicians throw around this week. Those politicians aren't going anywhere, not unless half the nation's voting-age citizens--the ones in actual possession of the uteri that these jokers in Washington are treating like their personal property, or else footballs--begins sending them away for good and replacing them with leaders more given to solving critical problems than resurrecting long-settled debates over matters that are none of their business.

[*I kid, I kid...]

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Ron Paul's offensive and the War on Women

On Friday evening, Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ron Paul spoke to CNN's Piers Morgan about his views on abortion.

Ron Paul does not, himself, have a uterus, and although he was once a practicing OB/Gyn, he cannot speak with any personal experience whatsoever when it comes to the matters of pregnancy and childbirth. Nonetheless, Paul held forth on what he feels we women should be permitted to do when faced with the possibility of an unplanned pregnancy. Specifically, an unplanned pregnancy resulting from rape.

I'm still having trouble getting my head around Paul's jaw-dropping words, so let me just quote him directly, and then I'll try my hand at parsing this utterly ridiculous statement:

"If it's an honest rape, that individual should go immediately to the emergency room, I would give them a shot of estrogen."

Setting aside the obvious sexism inherent in telling women what to do with their own bodies, one thing that jumped out at me was Paul's exceedingly callous use of the term "that individual" and the ungrammatical use of the gender-neutral pronoun "them". An individual who has been raped and who might then be concerned about having been impregnated by the rapist is by definition a woman. Yet Paul does not say "woman"; he says "that individual", effectively disappearing an entire sex. The female sex. The very sex that goes through pregnancy and childbirth; the very sex that is disproportionately represented among rape victims (RAINN notes that in 2003, 9 of every 10 rape victims were female.) I'll put on my English teacher's hat for a moment and note that while the mistaken use of the neutral plural pronouns they, their, and them for a singular subject of unknown gender--as opposed to he or she, his or hers, and him or her--has become so commonplace in casual speaking as to be accepted in all but the most formal expressions of language, English does indeed provide gender-specific pronouns for use when the subject or object is unquestionably female. As a rape victim facing a potential pregnancy will invariably be.

Yes, it's easily dismissed as a slip of the tongue, but I submit that this odd, distancing use of the words "that individual" and "them" is rather telling. It smacks of the phrase those people. In other words, not us, but them. The Others. The people who are not like me; the people to whom I do not relate.

Let's look at the next telling part of Paul's statement now. The part where he helpfully orders that individual--excuse me, the raped and possibly impregnated woman in question--to go directly to the emergency room. As rape victims will sadly confirm, when you've been raped, you'll most likely be non compos mentis--not in a clear, organized state of mind (if indeed you are lucky to even be awake, as many rapes take place after the rapist drugs his victim or physically renders her unconscious). Does Paul truly believe that every rape victim can and will go straight to the hospital? As my friend Valerie so succinctly put it in our Facebook discussion yesterday:

"Yes, everybody who's just been raped instantly feels fresh, energetic, and present of mind enough to haul ass down to the ER and ask for an 'estrogen shot'."

Again, Paul's words display a staggering disregard for people who are not Ron Paul. And a complete lack of understanding and sympathy for victims of a crime that Paul, purely by dint of his gender and socioeconomic status, is unlikely to have experienced himself.

But the most abominable element of Paul's statement about What We Raped Women Must Do--the bit that's unsurprisingly garnering the most attention and negative press--is the phrase "honest rape".

Again, I must turn to my love of language here, because I believe that by examining word choices and the manner in which a person frames a concept, we can discover a great deal about his or her character, motivation, and general goodness (or lack thereof).

Honest rape.

What an extraordinarily awful phrase that is. Paul was probably trying to say something to the effect of "a bona fide case of rape, that is, sexual assault as opposed to consensual sex"--and this attitude is of course imbued with its own awfulness along with no small amount of definitional ambiguity--but that is not what he said. He said honest rape. Implying that there are rapes that aren't honest, because women lie. Implying that some rapes, at least, are not "honest" ones--they're dishonest rapes: fabrications, or else stories made up by women who had unprotected sex that they now regret. [Those dirty sluts.]

And it further implies that he, a white male conservative who's apparently crowned himself King and Ruler of American Uteri (and knower of what's best for us) will want you to meet his standard--his personal definition of having been Honestly Raped--if you show up in his emergency room. Will you need to be bruised and bleeding before he'll let you have that "estrogen shot"? (Note to Dr. Paul: there is a safe, effective, simple-to-take medication available to women nowadays--it's called Levonorgestrel, aka "the morning-after pill", or Plan B.) What if your rapist drugged you, meaning you were unconscious during the crime and thus have no outer bruising or lacerations from trying to fight back? What if you couldn't or wouldn't fight back because, oh, I don't know, perhaps you were threatened with being killed? Perhaps the rapist held a weapon to your head? Perhaps other rapists held you down?

What about cases of incest, where the victim not only knows her rapist but is related to him?

What about date rape, where the victim knows her rapist and was unfortunate to be in the near vicinity when he somehow forgot the meaning of the word NO? Is that an "honest rape" or not, Dr. Paul?

I keep coming to the same conclusion I always reach: anti-choicers simply do not see women as fully human--as people--and they do not trust us to make the right choice for our own health; our own private, personal bodies; our own futures.

If these obdurate, pandering, uterus-free politicians had any sense or sensibility, they would just say, "I'm a man, so it's really not my decision to make, is it? Let's leave it at that, Piers/Wolf/whoever," and keep their opinions about abortion, sincere or not, to themselves.

Because--honestly--it really isn't any business of theirs.

Friday, February 03, 2012

Planned Parenthood for the win

Poster by Darcy Burner, candidate for the United States Congress, representing Washington state.


What an exceptionally interesting week it has been. News on the women's healthcare front has been coming at us thick and fast, so I thought I'd put together an up-to-the-minute summary of all things Planned Parenthood and Komen for the Cure (reserving the right to further update things later today, of course):

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced he will personally give $250,000 to Planned Parenthood, stating "Politics have no place in health care...breast cancer screening saves lives, and hundreds of thousands of women rely on Planned Parenthood for access to care. We should be helping women access that care, not placing barriers in their way." Bravo for this, Mayor Bloomberg.

MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell interviewed Komen founder and ambassador Nancy Brinker; Brinker called the storm of outrage (about Komen's defunding of Planned Parenthood's cancer screenings) "a mischaracterization", and essentially prevaricated, dodged, and lied her way through the segment. To her credit, Mitchell--herself a breast cancer survivor--did not let her off the hook, despite having had personal ties to the organization that included fundraising and participating in the race. Brinker said, "...all I can tell you is that the responses we're getting are very, very favorable. People who have bothered to read the material, who have bothered to understand the issues -- again, we work for a mission, every day of our lives." [Brinker surely isn't referring to Komen's Facebook page, where on Wednesday evening, comments were already in the thousands, with negative reactions far outnumbering the handful of anti-choice-based positive ones.]

Writing at The Atlantic, Jeffrey Goldberg reveals some nasty truths that completely lay waste to Brinker's (and other Komen execs') claims that the defunding of Planned Parenthood had nothing to do with anti-choice politics: "...three sources with direct knowledge of the Komen decision-making process told me that the rule was adopted in order to create an excuse to cut off Planned Parenthood."

This "no investigations, or no grants" rule at Komen would only seem to apply to Planned Parenthood (aka the Religious Right's much-wanted quarry and the House Republicans' favorite punching bag). Certainly it does not apply to Penn State, currently under federal investigation for a horrific child-rape scandal: Komen awarded the university a generous 5-year $7.5 million grant in 2008 and has made absolutely no efforts to defund the school in the months since the investigation was launched. Are we to deduce that Komen must really, really love football, given that it has one set of rules for an athletic institution that covers up the rape and abuse of children by its employees, and a completely different set for a program that provides access to cancer screening for low-income women? You tell me.

A growing number of Komen leaders are already resigning in protest of Tuesday's announcement.

Hollywood is running the other way, too. Kudos to Ellen Barkin and Rosanne Barr, who've been especially vocal in their outrage.

And the Komen "brand"? As one who studied advertising, I can tell you this much: it's going to be extremely difficult, if not impossible, for them to recover from this. Salon's Joan Walsh predicted this on Tuesday and tweeted "The Komen Foundation just destroyed its brand, and it's going to be very, very sorry." In the hours since, the arrogant digging-in--and outright lying--by founder Nancy Brinker and anti-choice mouthpiece Karen Handel have all but dealt a death blow to the Pink Menace. (Amazingly, Handel tweeted, and then deleted, a boastful "cry me a river" message, referring to how she felt about Planned Parenthood's dismay at being defunded.) Every PR expert will tell you the same thing: when you screw up so publicly and undeniably, you've got to get out there immediately and admit it, apologize, and make a very public effort to put things right. That's obviously not what Brinker and Handel are doing, so one can assume they're perfectly fine with their respective parts in the complete destruction of the country's largest breast cancer charity. Well-done, ladies! Well-done.

But there's some really good news to report, too.

In a stunning feat of timing, Léa Pool's acclaimed indie movie, Pink Ribbons, which exposes the dark side of Komen's pink-ribbon marketing crusade--many of the details of which I wrote about on Wednesday--and which is set to premiere in theatres today (!), will likely have a far bigger audience than I imagine its creators dreamed possible.

And Planned Parenthood, amazingly, received $400,000 in donations (in addition to Mayor Bloomberg's pledge) within the first twenty-four hours after Komen's defunding announcement; gifts small and large continue to pour in.

And best of all, a significant portion of our busy, distracted, stressed-out populace has finally had its eyes opened to the harmful and extremist politics of the Religious Wrong Right, and it clearly doesn't like what it sees. Here's hoping that energy continues to build--who knows, we who've been banging the single-payer drum for years may be able to parlay America's newly-adopted "keep politics out of healthcare!" philosophy into another moral step forward and upward for the nation: keeping the profit motive out of healthcare, too.

A girl can dream.


UPDATE: Komen just issued a statement apologizing and announcing they are reversing their decision to defund Planned Parenthood.

Planned Parenthood for the WIN, indeed!

Even so, if Komen are committed to saving lives as opposed to injecting extremist anti-choice politics into women's healthcare, there is something else they must do, something very important: fire Karen Handel, along with everyone else in the organization who's responsible for this week's disgusting display of anti-choice bullying. As Cynematic at MOMocrats says, A uterus is not a football.

UPDATE 2: In response to the apology letter, Kaili Joy Gray at Daily Kos makes some important points:
Sorry, but to me, this looks like more damage control. If Komen is really sorry and really changing its criteria and really continuing to fund Planned Parenthood's cancer screening and prevention programs, why doesn't it say so in big, bold letters?

This just looks like a further attempt to try to save Komen's battered image. Is that enough for you?

Want to support a real pro-women organization that really does focus on women's health care, not politics?

UPDATE 3: It seems Komen has also stopped funding stem-cell research. *Sigh* This little defunding move was quietly enacted in November, 2011. At this point, I don't think anyone doubts that Komen's leadership is infested with anti-choice, anti-science extremists, but oh dear, what nasty pink icing on the already-damaged cake this is. From Care2:

In addition to pulling funds from Planned Parenthood for The Susan G. Komen Foundation also decided to stop funding embryonic stem cell research centers making it fully transparent the organization has evolved from non-political non-profit to a partisan advocacy organization.

That means the loss of $3.75 million to the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, $4.5 million to the University of Kansas Medical Center, $1 million to the U.S. National Cancer Institute, $1 million to the Society for Women’s Health Research, and $600,000 to Yale University. That’s a loss of nearly $12 million dollars in research money to eradicate breast cancer this year alone.

This is a new position for the organization which had previously supported all sorts of scientific research targeted at finding a cure for breast cancer and saving women’s lives. It’s new position is that the organization will categorically no longer support any embryonic stem cell research.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

On Susan G. Komen For the Cure: Pink ribbons and an opened can of worms

The largest and most well-funded breast cancer organization in America, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, announced on Tuesday that it would no longer give cancer-screening funds to Planned Parenthood. Simply put, this will mean that many thousands of low-income and uninsured American women--nearly 170,000 of them, in fact--will have to go without clinical breast exams and mammograms:

Over the past five years, the Komen organization has given Planned Parenthood health centers the funds to provide nearly 170,000 clinical breast exams to low-income and uninsured women. But now, amid pressure from anti-abortion lawmakers and organizations, Komen has made the decision to cut off hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants to Planned Parenthood.

And as you may have already heard, Komen's unconscionable defunding move has absolutely nothing to do with supporting women nor with providing them with the means to detect cancer at an early stage, which for many will improve prognosis and survival rates.

No, Komen has decided to inject extremist anti-choice politics into women's healthcare, and in so doing, they've inadvertently exposed the extremism and greed of their organization's administration as well as its troubling modus operandi (of which more in a moment).

In April, 2011, Komen appointed former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel as Vice President. As Georgia residents already know, Handel, who ran for governor of that state in 2010, is a vocal opponent of choice. Despite having no background whatsoever in medicine or science--or, indeed, a degree of any sort beyond a high-school diploma--and no work experience in health care (unless one considers working for Hallmark Cards as somehow being part of the healthcare arena), Handel declared that when she was elected governor, she would determine the medical fates of countless low-income Georgia women by cutting off state funding for Planned Parenthood's breast and cervical cancer screening services:

First, let me be clear, since I am pro-life, I do not support the mission of Planned Parenthood. During my time as Chairman of Fulton County, there were federal and state pass-through grants that were awarded to Planned Parenthood for breast and cervical cancer screening, as well as a “Healthy Babies Initiative.” The grant was authorized, regulated, administered and distributed through the State of Georgia. Because of the criteria, regulations and parameters of the grant, Planned Parenthood was the only eligible vendor approved to meet the state criteria. Additionally, none of the services in any way involved abortions or abortion-related services. In fact, state and federal law prohibits the use of taxpayer funds for abortions or abortion related services and I strongly support those laws. Since grants like these are from the state I’ll eliminate them as your next Governor.

The above paragraph comes directly from Handel's campaign blog, so one can safely assume that her anti-choice defunding scheme was well-known to the people in charge at Komen when they appointed her. And now we know about it, too.

What's more, many of us busy women who've made donations in the past--or perhaps even walked or run in the famous Race for the Cure--are now, finally, taking a good, hard look at this slickly-marketed charitable organization, and what we're discovering is truly taking the pretty out of pink.

Where the money comes from and goes

From the Komen Wiki page:

In the 2009-2010 fiscal year, ending March 31, 2010, Komen reported approximately US $400 million in earnings. Of this, $365 million (91.3 percent) came from contributions from the public, including donations, sponsorships, race entry fees, and contributed goods and services. Approximately $35 million (8.8 percent) came from interest and dividends and gains on investments.

Expenditures (for the same year):

And what of those "fund-raising costs" and "administrative costs"?

According to Charity Navigator, the annual salary of the organization's former CEO and president alone was over $450,000 (it is unclear what the current president's salary is). One can access Komen's financial statements via their website, but finding the executives' individual salaries is tricky. One thing is certain, though: the hefty administrative salaries are not advertised on race materials, nor are they listed on any of the myriad pinked-out products that line the shelves during Breast Cancer Awareness month.

In addition to these salaries--which are quite high by any standards--Komen, who are ever protective of their enormous pink goose and its golden egg-laying talents, spend an unspecified yearly sum suing other non-profits who dare to use any variation of the phrase "for the cure" in their advertising and appeals to donors.


Another issue that kept coming up amid online discussions yesterday was Komen's relationship with corporate America, most saliently those corporations which profit from wrapping their their products in pink, or pink ribbons, and pushing the notion that when one buys them, one will be helping breast cancer research, or aiding breast cancer victims, or otherwise doing something good and honorable. Lest you doubt the effectiveness of this as a marketing approach, take a look at Komen's own list of "corporate partners", the length of which is impressive.

Is all this actually funding breast cancer research and financial assistance for low-income women in need of care? In a 2006 article in Time, Stacie Stukin looked into the matter:

Donating by making a purchase is a "really seductive" idea, says Samantha King, a professor of health studies at Queens University in Kingston, Ont., and the author of a new book, Pink Ribbons, Inc.: Breast Cancer and the Politics of Philanthropy (University of Minnesota; 157 pages). "People often say to me, 'I'm really busy, and this is something small I can do.' But the problem is, it's really not clear what kind of positive effect it's having overall."

Some of the pink-ribbon promotions don't make much sense financially. Take Yoplait's offer to donate 10¢ to the Komen Foundation for every pink yogurt lid mailed to the company from September through December. Komen would get a bigger donation if consumers simply donated the 39¢ it costs to buy each stamp, not to mention the fact that donors would have to polish off 100 yogurts to come up with a $10 contribution--a formula that surely enriches Yoplait more than the breast-cancer cause.

Big Pharma's tentacles

The matter can be summed up thus: Hadassah Lieberman, "Global Ambassador" at Komen and former lobbyist for Big Pharma.

By way of explanation: Senator Joe Lieberman--who famously fought having any kind of "public option" or Medicare for All during the healthcare debate--is married to a lobbyist for the pharmaceutical industry and at the same time actively worked to push legislation that would benefit these giant multinational conglomerates:

Among Hill & Knowlton’s clients when Mrs. Lieberman signed on with the firm last year was GlaxoSmithKline, the huge British-based drug company that makes vaccines along with many other drugs. As I noted in July, Sen. Lieberman introduced a bill in April 2005 (the month after his wife joined Hill & Knowlton) that would award billions of dollars in new “incentives” to companies like GlaxoSmithKline to persuade them to make more new vaccines. Under the legislation, known as Bioshield II, the cost to consumers and governments would be astronomical, but for Lieberman and his Republican cosponsors, Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., the results would be worth every penny. Using the war on terror as their ideological backdrop, the pharma-friendly senators sought to win patent extensions on products that have nothing to do with preparations against terrorist attack or natural disaster.

Three-time breast cancer survivor Jane Hamsher of the blog FireDogLake pointed out the incredible conflicts of interest at hand when she wrote to Nancy Brinker, the organization's founder (and the sister of the late Susan G. Komen), in 2009:

It has come to my attention via an article by Joe Conason in Salon that Hadassah Lieberman – wife of Senator Joe Lieberman (I-CT) – is currently a compensated “Global Ambassador” for Susan G. Komen for the Cure. It is widely known, however, that not only has Senator Lieberman been an instrument of obstruction to the kind of health care reform advocated by Susan G. Komen for the Cure, but that Mrs. Lieberman is also a former lobbyist worked for the lobbying firm APCO Associates, which represents the interests of the same major, private health insurance and pharmaceutical companies which Mr. Lieberman seeks to protect.

Mrs. Lieberman’s relationship with Susan G. Komen for the Cure is unethical and misleading. Important and often very personal donations made to Susan G. Komen for the Cure to benefit the sick and dying are essentially undermining their intended use. And as Hadassah travels the globe under the banner of Susan G. Komen for the cure, decrying the inadequacies of our health care system and the desperate need to reform it, her husband is at home to kill the reform efforts we so desperately need.

Unethical and underhanded tactics, say runners and donors

Komen's page on the charity review site Great Nonprofits offers a great deal of telling commentary. Bearing in mind that these are self-reported experiences that are by definition not from documented sources, take a look at what people who've participated in the Run for the Cure--or simply donated--have to say (the following comments are all dated weeks or months prior to the defunding of Planned Parenthood):

As a scientist myself I've taken the time to look into the research the Komen foundation funds and nearly all of it goes to the interest of pharmaceutical companies. The continue to help companies fund research to patent new chemotheraputic drugs while ignoring any serious competition such as the Burzynski clinic. At the same time the CEO owns stock in pharmaceutical companies she's giving grants to, and these companies always get to patent the drug the Komen foundation helps them research. If the Komen foundation cared about curing cancer they wouldn't let for profit companies keep patents.

I am glad to read that others are concerned about this organization as well. Here's what I have to say. A best friend of mine contacted the SGK foundation and she's a Breast Cancer Survivor, when her young daughter (25 yrs old) who is under insured had signs of early BC, she contacted SGK and requested some financial assistance for her daughter to get it checked out. The SGK representative told her that "they don't help people in her zip code." I was furious when I heard this and called the foundation myself to see what they would say when I gave them a similar situation, they too told me that they didn't help people in my zip code. So I emailed the SGK foundation myself and requested to find out how much money had been raised in my area (Zip code) through the walks and other events. They refused to comment and i messaged them back asking them: "How can you take money out of this community through your run/walk events and NOT give money back to help people in this area?" I never got a response back and I refuse to support this cause because of it.
Shocked!! Organization took in $135 Million in 2010, provided grants for research, education & screening of $74 Million and a paltry $10,000 (yes, only ten thousand dollars) in grants to individuals in the USA. The remaining millions were used to pay contractors (other expenses line items) and employees (many in the high 6 figure income bracket). Shameful, absolutely shameful.
I signed up to do the SGK 3-day walk for the cure. I was so proud to be able to walk for my mother-in-law who lost her battle with breast cancer on april 4, 2009. I sent the "donate for me" letters which stated, "help her get to her financial goal." I emphasize "GOAL." I soon realized that I was required to bring in $2,300! Apparently this little nugget is buried in the terms and conditions and forever after noted as a "GOAL." I cannot bring in that kind of money. My friends and family donated and I got to $300, but I don't have the time to campaign the way they want you to. I was appalled to also find out that if I didn't make it to $2,300 by the day of the event, I could give them a credit card for the remainder or just go home. They neither refund any money collected by me or my registration - which is not tax deductible. I found this outrageous and deceptive. They keep my money - received by my family to support me in this event. I basically signed up to be an unpaid fundraiser. I would think any donation and the willingness to walk 60 miles to promote awareness would be thanked....not with SGK. I'm not good enough for their charity. I agree with a former reviewer - I think they lost their way. They have raised nearly 2 billion dollars and there is no cure.

What now?

In light of everything I've learned about Susan G. Komen for the Cure in the past day, I am going to do a couple of things, and I hope readers will join me.

First, I will make every effort to avoid buying products from companies who partner with Komen, mainly by avoiding the pink ribbons, yes, but also by seeking alternatives to the ones Komen itself lists as "corporate partners".

Second, I will continue to write to my Congressmen and urge them to lead the way toward implementing Medicare For All, in order that no woman in America will ever again find herself unable to afford basic healthcare, including cancer screenings.

And last--and most importantly--when my family and I next make our charitable donations, we will be giving directly to Planned Parenthood, which continues to empower women, especially those unable to afford medical insurance, by providing them with access to critical healthcare, cancer screenings, and reproductive medicine.

Also at MOMocrats.