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Why I'm Donating to Susan G. Komen - UPDATED

BY Simcha Fisher

| Posted 2/3/12 at 8:55 AM

 

UPDATE:  Well, Komen has caved into the thugs.  Sorry to hear it.  James Taranto in the WSJ called it yesterday when he said,

Planned Parenthood’s bitter campaign against Komen—aided by left-liberal activists and media—is analogous to a protection racket: Nice charity you’ve got there. It’d be a shame if anything happened to it. The message to other Planned Parenthood donors is that if they don’t play nice and keep coughing up the cash, they’ll get the Komen treatment.

Well, don’t give up hope.  Fast and pray, and put not your trust in princes.  (Following is this morning’s original post, before the news of the reinstatement of funding broke.)

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Oh, Susan G. Komen. 

You want the truth?  It was always kind of a relief to realize that I couldn’t, in good conscience, support this foundation because of their support of Planned Parenthood.  Susan G. Komen exemplified all that was annoying in the world of medicine, the world of women’s issues, and the world of Awareness in general.  I once went for an entire week without salt because I couldn’t find a canister for sale that wasn’t pink.

Someone dear to me, who’s recently been treated for breast cancer herself, sums up why SGK gets on some people’s nerves:

Partly it’s the slick marketing (yogurt will cure cancer? for real? where does that money really go?) and partly the way they perpetuate the victim language that surrounds cancer. I’m a little allergic to the pink schmaltzy stuff and the oversimplification of all things cancer and womany. It’s a little like how women’s health centers have to (by law apparently) have a sensitively drawn picture of a rose on the sign out front.

Plenty of others have concerns. While it’s apparently not true that their CEO makes nearly half a million dollars a year, it’s far from clear that the billions of dollars they’ve raised have actually made things better for women with cancer. Their tactics can be thuggish, and did I mention?  They’re annoying.

Still, I just sent them ten dollars.

I have no idea where that money will actually go, and I don’t really care. Because it’s not about the money. It’s about the noise that money makes. The organization needs to know that pro-lifers are happy that they stopped supporting Planned Parenthood. And they need to know that there are lots of us out there.

So I’m donating money to Susan G. Komen, and I hope that they do some good with it (they are also quietly dropping their support of research using embryos, and their new Vice President for public policy is reportedly pro-life).

Now, I read Theresa Tomeo’s warning that we don’t really know what SGK’s long-term intentions are; and they certainly haven’t denounced Planned Parenthood. Please understand: I’m not supporting SGK for what it does. I’m supporting it for what my support says to the world. What I’m really hoping to get for my pittance is another voice in the growing chorus—a few more decibels to catch the ear of corporations in general.

Tomeo is right that pro-life organizations should tread very cautiously before endorsing or supporting SGK. We don’t know what the future holds, and there is no sense in making hasty long-term alliances. But if enough private citizens vote with their wallets—if there is a surge in personal donations as a clear and direct response to this particular action—then I see nothing but good coming as a result. Corporate behavior can change, especially when money’s at stake.

In the last few decades, it’s become de rigueur for large organizations of every kind—from Avon to eBay to Xerox—to send some money Planned Parenthood’s way. It’s like they don’t even think about it—they just assume that it’s the right thing to do, and that consumers will be glad that they’re on the “right side.” In some circles, donating to Planned Parenthood is like dropping a few coins in the guitar case of the Reggae guy in the subway station: it’s what you gotta to do show that you’re a good guy, maybe to impress your date.

Pro-lifers, we are the hot date. We’re the ones corporations need to impress. For too long, pro-lifers have acted like the ugly cousin who never gets asked out. The more we’re ignored, the more we sit and home and sulk, and the more time we spend at home, the less likely it is that anyone even know we exist, never mind ask us to the prom.

No guy in his right mind would try to suck up to his date by tucking money into the spangly bra of a diseased stripper. Let’s let corporations know that that’s what Planned Parenthood is—the diseased one, the junkie, the liar, the one with no shame, the one who cannot be trusted with your money—and above all, the one corporations can’t afford to be associated with.

Money isn’t sacred, folks.  You’re not sending away a little piece of your soul if you donate to a foundation which isn’t squeaky clean.  A donation is just an easy way to say, like the Whos down in Whoville, “We are here!  We are here!  We are here!”