| State Rep. Carol Alvarado sent a letter to the Komen Foundation yesterday, directed at their founder and CEO Nancy Brinker, former Ambassador to Hungary during the George W. Bush administration. Brinker named the organization after her sister Susan, who succombed to the disease in 1980 at age 36.
Here's the text of Alvarado's letter:
Dear Ambassador Brinker:
Sometimes friends disagree. Disappointment is the only word that comes to mind as I learn that the leadership of the Susan B. Komen Foundation has taken the remarkably anti-woman stance against funding lifesaving breast cancer screenings for lowincome and underserved women who seek their well-woman care at Planned Parenthood centers across the nation.
This incredibly shortsided decision, based on what I can only imagine is the propaganda and threats of extremist groups, ends an amazing partnership that over the last five years has resulted in an incredible l70,000 breast exams and 6,400 mammogram referrals.
There is so much good that we can do if we all put our differences aside and work TOGETHER. Although you have now injected yourself into the political theater, I hope that you will reconsider your decision and work to mend this now torn relationship that used to be about preventing and protecting women from breast cancer.
With great disappointment,
Texas State Representative
Rep. Alvarado is a tremendous champion of women's health issues. During the floor debate in the House last session over the sonogram bill, she wielded a trans-vaginal sonogram probe on the floor to show Republicans--especially the male Republicans championing the ultimate intrusion of a woman's privacy--what exactly they were mandating. It is great to see Alvarado reminding the Komen foundation that we all need to work together to fight women's cancers.
Meanwhile, over on Ezra Klein's blog on the Washington Post website, Sarah Kliff has an interesting interview with a volunteer at a Komen chapter in Connecticut. The volunteer expressed her frustration with this policy, especially since her chapter is still funding a grant to PP of Southern New England.
It must suck to be the volunteers in Komen chapters today who have been thrust into this ideological debate over abortion rather than allowed to remain focused on their mission of raising money to fight cancer. It's clear that the higher-ups in the Komen foundation -- especially their new VP, the rabidly anti-choice Karen Handel -- didn't think about the terrible real-world consequences of this decision, especially on their many pro-choice volunteers, supporters, and donors.