New Orleans For a change we’re winning one against the right wing strategy of progressive institution defunding. This is a Texas-style bare knuckles dispute, and I’m so proud of the way Cecile Richards stepped into the ring here that I could just spit!
The Susan Komen Foundation folks are headquartered in Dallas so they should’ve known a mess was coming. Sure they were easily surrounded by the Southern Baptist Convention and some of their largest churches are in Dallas, so they should have been used to the climate, rather than folding like a cheap skirt. Cecile is a Texas woman through and through and the daughter of a fighting labor lawyer and a fire-fun-and-fury woman, Ann Richards, former Texas governor and freedom fighter, none of which should have made the pink people think that when they go after women, Cecile and Planned Parenthood were going to meekly creep to the corner and let it go down.
We’ve been through how thin, hypocritical, and fictional the excuse that Komen came up with to defund Planned Parenthood in order to either curry favor from right wing pols and anti-abortion zealots or to cave into their bullying. Picking between those two paths should pretty much disqualify Komen from any future pretense as an advocate for women and their health. The lead editorial in the Times appropriately called their rationale a “fig leaf,” but frankly that dishonors an excellent tree and a delicious fruit. This was subterfuge and a lie, pure and simple.
I was shocked to see how little Komen was supporting Planned Parenthood, even when they were supposedly long time partners. A $94 million operation that funded 2000 groups around community health initiatives was only providing $700,000 in support? Seems way small, and this has been a long time criticism of Komen that so much of its pink-thing, branding emphasis, and change-through-marketing strategy was distracting and not really doing all it could and should about women’s health and its declared mission around breast cancer.
So far the lost money has been replaced by individual donors, some 6000, and pledges by folks like Mayor Bloomberg. That’s not enough to declare victory.
Cecile and Planned Parenthood have seized the initiative by creating a campaign around the stark cynicism and cowardice that allows all of these rightwing, gotcha strategies to work. They prey on the weak and unprincipled who are so afraid that they could be next or that they might have trouble that rather than banding to protect their partners and friends when under attack, they run for the hills with their tails between their legs and hope nobody notices them. This is what happened on the ACORN attack. Friends and allies pulled up the covers and hoped it wouldn’t happen to them. This is what board members of Komen have publicly confessed. They didn’t analyze the merits of the scurrilous attacks on Planned Parenthood or the impact on the women they had claimed were their mission, they simply deserted them, trying to save themselves. Shame, shame, shame!
And hooray for all the women, including some within the Komen ranks who have resigned and are protesting (all 7 branches in California!), who have finally said “enough is enough” to these kinds of unprincipled attacks and stood up for Planned Parenthood.
Now if we could get men to grow backbones as well, and, if we could get everyone to stand together for a change, we could finally take the teeth out of this attack on progressive institutions before more of them are caught in the vortex that sank ACORN and has rolled Planned Parenthood over the last year.
Put a ribbon around that, and I’ll wear it!
Update: Victory, Komen Foundation Restores Funds to Planned Parenthood. Way to go in stopping the rightwing!