Not too long after Susan G. Koman for the Cure reversed its decision to cease funding for Planned Parenthood, anti-choice activists which include Catholic activists and conservatives, cried foul and complained that Koman was bullied into its decision and that as a private entity Komen for the Cure should be allowed to direct its funds to whoever the directors want.
To the last point, the activists are correct. Susan G. Koman for the Cure is welcome to give to any organization it sees fit. But we as a people are allowed to bulldoze it with bad publicity if we see fit.
Don’t get me wrong: the reports of death threats against the employees of Koman are wrong – we should never resort to violence, it demeans all of us. Those that threatened Koman reps with harm should be prosecuted. But the thousands of Twitter followers, Facebook users, politicians, activists, bloggers and journalists were just exercising their right to protest and advocate.
And it goes both ways – just in case those on the right forgot, Rick Santorum, Michele Bachmann, Newt Gingrich and even Mitt Romney have all used airtime and campaign money to trash gays and pro-choicers. The Republican Party as a whole has made a cottage industry out of bigotry and never once did it stop to wonder if it was a “bully” – but when thousands of seriously pissed-off women voice their anger at Koman bowing to political pressure to cut much-needed funding, then the tears start rolling down the collective cheek of the anti-choice movement.
Let’s make no mistake about it – this is yet another volley in the war against choice. What’s sick is that now the opponents of the pro-choice movement are looking to insert themselves into other areas of women’s health, including breast health. Their tactics are gross to say the least – namely confusing uneducated people into thinking that Planned Parenthood’s main focus is abortion (not true).
Many, like myself, are feeling duped for ever giving any money to Komen. Even after its reversal, I think it’s too late for the organization to rebound from this mess. It’s unfortunate because this may make some less likely to donate to breast health organizations – a very worthy cause that needs support. Although, this could also mean that other charities that do not run with as suspicious and specious methods as the Komen Foundation may find themselves being better funded now that Koman’s reputation has been (deservedly) sullied.
And returning to my original point, if we are to live in a free society, it’s a free society for all involved. Which means that if lots of people get wind that an organization is doing something severely messed up, then they are allowed the right to raise a fuss and speak up. What’s gratifying is that making a huge stink actually worked. This is yet another moment in our recent history, including the Occupy Wall Street and the Arab Spring, in which protests that would normally be suppressed or ignored, are being heard.