So there was this article in TPM this morning, about how the Race for the Cure is experiencing significant reductions in participants from last year's numbers. This is largely attributed to what I can only call an incredibly misguided political move Komen made, then unmade, this year to defund its Planned Parenthood cancer screenings (primarily for lower-income and often uninsured women).
And I'm of two minds on the development.
On the one hand, I feel like the reason right-wing Republicans are going whole-hog on anti-abortion, anti-birth control, and anti-anti-violence-against-women (take a moment, it'll make sense - I didn't want to say "pro-violence-against-women," though that's essentially what it boils down to when you try your darndest to weaken VAWA), etc, etc is because they think women will not punish them for it in the upcoming elections. They seem to feel fairly confident that they can do pretty much whatever they want to women and pay no political price for it. And that part of me thinks, "yeah, well take a look at how long women remember it when you try to play politics with our health and rights." Because apparently even organizations who are NOT involved with Komen are bearing the brunt of a lot of criticism from women who are still very angry about what Komen did.
And it's not only Komen that we noticed. The nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation came out with a poll that found that:
About one-third of U.S. women say there is a "wide-scale effort" under way to limit their access to birth control, abortion and other reproductive health services...The finding comes as Democrats continue to hammer Republicans leading up to November using the charge that the right, in its disagreement with certain women's health policies, is mounting a "war on women."Thirty-one percent of women appear to agree with this charge, including 30 percent of centrist women, Kaiser found in May. Smaller shares — 23 and 22 percent, respectively — both agreed and called the effort a "bad thing."A 45 percent plurality, meanwhile, said that only some groups want to limit reproductive health services for women and that their effort is not a broad one.Only 7 percent said there has been no effort to curb women's access to certain health services. [Emphasis mine]
And I've got to tell you, this is a topic that a lot of women I know are pretty upset about - and one that women will probably be thinking about as they go to the OB or buy birth control between now and the election.
On the other hand, when we choose to protest an organization that aids women's health, that has a negative impact on women's health. And that's not good. I have heard controversy before the Planned Parenthood kerfuffle, based on Komen's position on stem cell research, but even without support for stem cell research, cancer screenings are good.
And there is one other thing I wonder about: are we taking out our anger on Komen that should be directed at Republican legislators because Komen is mostly run by women? Is this a case where we go after each other rather than the mostly male politicians who are really hurting us here?