KomenWatch

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Category Archives: Programs

Nancy Brinker: The steely force in the Komen controversy

Title: The steely force in the Komen controversy

Author: Monica Hesse

Publication:  The Washington Post

Date: February 15, 2012

…For three decades, the relentless force of Nancy Brinker’s personality has been inextricably tied to Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the behemoth she created in memory of her elder sister, who died of cancer at age 36. She has dedicated her life to it. She has pinned her ambitions on it…

Monday, amid the Planned Parenthood funding controversy that arose this month, the editor of industry publication the NonProfit Times called for Brinker’s resignation. Last week, a former board member of a Komen New York affiliate requested the same, illustrating the symbiosis between woman and mission. It’s not clear what role Brinker played in the initial choice to defund Planned Parenthood and the reversal of that decision. Komen board members, including Brinker’s son, have not returned calls for comment…

Brinker, 65, declined, through a publicist, to comment for this article. “Decline” is an odd verb to follow “Nancy Brinker.” In the past, the woman who turned her philanthropy into a household brand hasn’t seemed inclined to decline much of anything…

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Moving beyond pink ribbons

Title: Moving beyond pink ribbons

Author: Peggy Orenstein

Publication:  Los Angeles Times

Date: February 15, 2012

Over the last two weeks, as Susan G. Komen for the Cure revoked funding for Planned Parenthood, then reversed itself, I watched through the scrim of something that, while less newsworthy, was, to me, no less significant: the death of Rachel Cheetham Moro, the 42-year-old writer of the blog Cancer Culture Chronicles…

Rachel had metastatic cancer — the kind that spreads beyond the breast. And guess what? It turns out that despite the money flowing to breast cancer charities — particularly Komen — the death rate among those with metastatic disease has not budged in 25 years. What’s more, the actual number of women (and men) who die of breast cancer today — about 40,000 annually — is greater than it was in the 1980s. That’s right: More people die now than did three decades ago. True, the overall breast cancer death rates — as a percentage of those diagnosed — have dropped, but that’s in part because mammography is really, really good at finding and diagnosing, for instance, DCIS, which means ductal carcinoma in situ. DCIS is Stage 0 cancer, which will probably never become invasive…

And so, even as pink ribbons have proliferated, even as breast cancer has become polite dinner table conversation, the actual lived experience of women with advanced disease — women like Rachel Cheetham Moro — has been pushed to the margins…

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Abortion and birth control mobilize the masses

Title: Abortion and birth control mobilize the masses

Author: Sonia Verma

Publication:  The Globe and Mail (Canada)

Date: February 15, 2012

First, there was the uproar that followed a decision by the Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation to cut off funding to Planned Parenthood. Then, U.S. President Barack Obama found himself fending off a fresh outcry over a new rule that would require religiously affiliated hospitals to provide free contraceptives…

The decision by the cancer charity to reverse an earlier decision to sever its funding to Planned Parenthood signals to some that the American people have had enough of the debate. Politico.com predicts the backlash will become the “textbook case on the political power of social media.” Far from settling the abortion debate, however, tools such as Twitter and Facebook appear poised to amplify it in other ways

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The re-energised US left has much to teach its dismal European counterparts

Title: The re-energised US left has much to teach its dismal European counterparts

Author: Adam Price

Publication:  The Guardian (London)

Date: February 13, 2012

… The most recent progressive home-run – the high-profile reversal by the cancer charity Susan G. Komen of its decision to de-fund the abortion advice charity Planned Parenthood (imagine Marie Curie doing battle with Marie Stopes) – has followed a familiar pattern of Twitter-enabled people power. In what politico.com has predicted will become the “textbook case on the political power of social media”, Komen executives were clearly overwhelmed by a half-a-million-a-day tweet tsunami, 80 to 1 against the decision, that engulfed them.

The killing off of the internet censorship bills Sopa and Pipa in January, despite big-battalion backing by the entertainment industry, and Bank of America’s binning of a proposal to charge for debit-card usage at the height of the Occupy Wall Street protests, were similarly internet-fuelled successes. The US left, it seems, has gone from retreat to re-tweet in just a few short years.

The progressive revival may be tech-enabled, but it’s far from tech-driven. The real social web these movements have created is a web of values, a vision that somehow connects with people at an emotional level, joining the dots between the personal and the political to create a sense of shared purpose – though often using new digital tools. It wasn’t a thinktank report – that staple tactic of the European left – that won the battle for Planned Parenthood but people like Linda from Las Vegas, a breast cancer survivor, who became an overnight YouTube sensation, when she literally bared her scars to demonstrate her anger at Komen’s small-mindedness…

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Komen founder Nancy Brinker faces more calls to quit

Title: Komen founder Nancy Brinker faces more calls to quit

Author: Karen McVeigh

Publication:  The Guardian US News Blog

Date: February 13, 2012

There was more trouble on Monday for Susan G Komen for the Cureand its founder, Nancy Brinker, as another call came for her to step down.

Writing in the NonProfit Times, a leading business publication for management of non-profits, editor-in-chief Paul Clolery said Brinker should resign not because of the initial policy change behind the decision, but for the way it was implemented and “how the ensuing media was mishandled.”

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Komen for the Cure’s Biggest Mistake Is About Science, Not Politics

Title: Komen for the Cure’s Biggest Mistake Is About Science, Not Politics

Author: Christie Aschwanden

Publication:  Discover Magazine (This post originally ran on the blog Last Word on Nothing.)

Date: February 10, 2012

The Planned Parenthood debacle brought renewed attention to other controversies about Komen from recent years—like its “lawsuits for the cure” program that spent nearly $1 million suing groups like “cupcakes for the cure” and “kites for the cure” over their daring attempts to use the now-trademarked phrase “for the cure.” Critics also pointed to Komen’s relentless marketing of pink ribbon-themed products, including a Komen-branded perfume alleged to contain carcinogens, and pink buckets of fried chicken, a campaign that led one rival breast cancer advocacy group to ask, “what the cluck?”…

But these problems are minuscule compared to Komen’s biggest failing—its near outright denial of tumor biology…the notion that breast cancer is a uniformly progressive disease that starts small and only grows and spreads if you don’t stop it in time is flat out wrong. I call it breast cancer’s false narrative, and it’s a fairy tale that Komen has relentlessly perpetuated…

Komen isn’t wrong to encourage women to consider mammography. But they’re dead wrong to imply that “the key to surviving breast cancer” is “you” and the difference between a 98% survival rate and a 23% one is vigilance on the part of the victim. This message flies in the face of basic cancer biology…

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Komen charity under microscope for funding, science

Title: Komen charity under microscope for funding, science

Author: Sharon Begley

Publication:  Reuters

Date: February 7, 2012

The Susan G. Komen for the Cure charity defines its mission as finding a cure for breast cancer. In recent years, however, it has cut by nearly half the proportion of fund-raising dollars it spends on grants to scientists working to understand the causes and develop effective new treatments for the disease…

Critics within the philanthropic and research communities in particular have raised questions over its scientific approach to some issues and how it spends the money it raises…

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Now the American right has even hijacked breast cancer’s pink ribbon

Title: Now the American right has even hijacked breast cancer’s pink ribbon

Author: Hadley Freeman

Publication:  The Guardian

Date: February 07, 2012

Last week, Komen announced that it was withdrawing its $600,000 annual funding from Planned Parenthood, an organisation it has long supported, and which helps to provide breast cancer screening, prevention and awareness to lower income women in America, owing, Komen claimed, to purely “regulatory” reasons. On Sunday, the Huffington Post got access to emails suggesting that this decision was, as most suspected, political and motivated by Karen Handel, Komen’s recently appointed and avowedly anti-abortion vice-president for public policy.”

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Lila Rose: The Woman Who Sparked the Planned Parenthood Flap

Title: Lila Rose: The Woman Who Sparked the Planned Parenthood Flap

Author: Michelle Goldberg

Publication:  Newsweek

Date: February 6, 2012

Last week, when the Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation announced it would stop funding Planned Parenthood, it seemed an enormous victory for the 23-year-old Lila Rose, who has been waging a long media war against the country’s largest abortion and family-planning provider. Initially, the Komen foundation said it was ending grants to Planned Parenthood because of a new policy against supporting groups under government investigation. The only grantee affected by the new policy was Planned Parenthood, which is under investigation by Rep. Cliff Stearns, an anti-abortion Florida congressman who says his inquiry was inspired by Rose’s undercover videos.

Ultimately, of course, Komen reversed its decision. Still, the incident highlighted how effective Rose has been in providing pretexts for those who have long sought to take Planned Parenthood down.

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How Planned Parenthood won Susan G Komen’s ‘race for the cure’

Title: How Planned Parenthood won Susan G Komen’s ‘race for the cure’

Author: Amanda Marcotte

Publication:  The Guardian

Date: February 03, 2012

…For the past year, anti-choice activists have set their sights on Planned Parenthood, determined to wipe out the behemoth provider of low-cost reproductive healthcare. The strategy? A massive propaganda effort aimed at painting Planned Parenthood as a dirty, criminal organization, instead of the efficient provider of quality care that it is. This strategy involved making false accusations of abetting sex traffickers, opening nuisance congressional investigations and throwing the word “abortion” around a lot to justify attempts to eliminate federal funding for contraceptive service.

As part of this strategy, anti-choicers mounted a pressure campaign on Komen, trying to get them to cut ties with Planned Parenthood in order to create the impression that Planned Parenthood has cooties.

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