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Cervical Awareness Month

Breast Cancer Foundation Stops Grants to Breast Exam Provider

by: Katherine Haenschen

Tue Jan 31, 2012 at 06:53 PM CST

So this is an unfortunate way to end Cervical Awareness Month: the Dallas-based Susan G. Komen Foundation, which raises money to fight breast cancer, announced today it will stop its funding to Planned Parenthood for breast exams.

That's really smart, Komen Foundation! Denying low-income women breast exams through defunding Planned Parenthood will totally help win the fight against breast cancer. OMG why didn't someone think of this sooner!

Last year, the Susan G. Komen Foundation, which is the largest and most well-known breast cancer advocacy group, funded 170,000 breast exams and 6,400 mammogram referrals provided by Planned Parenthood. As we noted earlier today, Planned Parenthood performed almost 750,000 breast cancer screenings in 2010.

Apparently the Komen foundation has adopted a new rule that prevents it from providing grants to organizations that are under investigation by state, local, or federal authorities. A conservative Republican Congressman, Cliff Stearns of Florida, recently launched a probe to determine if money was improperly used for abortions. It's a b.s. accusation designed to prevent Planned Parenthood from receiving funding, one which will in turn imperil the health of thousands of women.

Planned Parenthood claims that the Komen foundation is caving in to pressure from anti-abortion activists.Clearly these anti-abortion activists would rather see more women die of breast cancer than if that's what it takes to stop women from exercising their right to choose.

Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, told the Associated Press, "It's hard to understand how an organization with whom we share a mission of saving women's lives could have bowed to this kind of bullying. It's really hurtful."

It sounds like the Komen foundation was fairly rude in how they dealt with Richards and Planned Parenthood. From the Statesman:

Richards said she was informed via a phone call from Komen's president, Elizabeth Thompson, in December.

"It was incredibly surprising," Richards said. "It wasn't even a conversation - it was an announcement."

Richards subsequently sent a letter to Komen's top leaders - CEO Nancy Brinker and board chairman Dr. LaSalle D. Leffall, Jr. - requesting a meeting with the board and asserting that Komen had misrepresented Planned Parenthood's funding-eligibility status in some states.

According to Planned Parenthood, the Komen leaders replied to Richards with a brief letter ignoring the request for a meeting, defending the new grant criteria, and adding, "We understand the disappointment of any organization that is affected by these policy and strategy updates."

This was a bad move on the Komen foundation's part. Planned Parenthood primarily provides women's health care -- annual physicals and exams, pap smears, birth control prescriptions, and yes, breast exams and mammogram referrals. With this move, the Komen foundation isn't just denying support to Planned Parenthood -- they're denying support to women. It's very shameful.

Want to do something? There's a range of Internet actions you can take.

  • DailyKos has a quick letter you can fire off to the Susan G. Komen foundation: click here.
  • There's an Act.ly petition calling on Komen to reverse their decision: click here.

Boo, Komen foundation! Boo!! Pro-choice women get breast cancer, too! Shame on you.  

Discuss :: (1 Comments)

And Now for a Public Cervix Announcement

by: Katherine Haenschen

Tue Jan 31, 2012 at 11:41 AM CST

Another January has come to a close, as the Republican legislature looks to continue its unprecedented attack on the cervixes of Texas. We need to restore funding to family planning and women's healthcare so that all women can receive the care that they need.

In honor of the 100,000 Texas women who lost access to healthcare last session, I'm reposting this diary. It is sadly still too relevant. -- kh

January is Cervical Awareness Month. I'm sure you've heard all about this, what with the parades and the TV specials and everyone wearing teal ribbons all over the place.

Why should you care? Because the cervix is yet another battlefield in the Republican Party's war on women. Positioned between the vagina and the uterus -- two body parts that aging white male Republicans always seem most eager to want to legislate control of -- the cervix is literally in the middle of the debate over women's health.

Thanks to the Republican Party and their draconian cuts to women's health and family planning services, next year's Cervical Awareness Month will celebrate a lot fewer healthy Texas cervixes.

And as the Republican Legislature's efforts continue to close Planned Parenthood clinics and curtail funding to health centers that perform pap smears, we should see the incidence of and death from cervical cancers rise, and watch our overall healthcare costs increase as well. So let's talk about cervical cancer, and why the Republican legislature's policies will increase the number of women who die from this thoroughly preventable, treatable disease.

Learn more below the jump.

There's More... :: (0 Comments, 925 words in story)

Top Medical Association Doctors Oppose Sonogram Law, Cuts to Family Planning

by: Katherine Haenschen

Tue Jan 31, 2012 at 09:59 AM CST

The Texas Tribune ran an interesting interview with the doctors who head the American Medical Association and Texas Medical Association today. Topics included Medicaid and Medicare reimbursement rates, the American Care Act and its individual mandate, and the general politicization of healthcare.

The doctors interviewed were American Medical Association President Peter Carmel, a New Jersey-based pediatric neurosurgeon, and Texas Medical Association President Bruce Malone, an Austin orthopedic surgeon. There was an interesting -- and very insightful nugget in there about the Republican Party's war on women's health. Carmel directly called out the sonogram law as a "needless, dangerous interference" in medicine, and both decried cuts to family planning and attacks on Planned Parenthood. Malone went so far as to call it "stupid."

Read for yourself, formatting/emphasis mine:

TT: Where do you come down on Texas' abortion sonogram law, which requires a sonogram at least 24 hours ahead of an abortion and mandates that a doctor play the fetal heartbeat aloud and show the woman the image of the fetus?

Carmel: It is a needless, dangerous interference with the practice of medicine by politicians. And as physicians, we have to oppose all interference that we possibly can by politicians in the practice of medicine. There are all sorts of rules all over the country, with state legislatures trying to dictate what doctors do. In the state of Florida, it is illegal for a doctor to ask the family of a child whether there are guns in the home. You can ask about storage of chemicals, about fire alarms, fire escapes, open windows, how the windows are sealed. You're allowed to ask all those questions, but you cannot ask whether there are firearms in the home. Firearms are a major cause of childhood mortality and injury. It's so extreme as to be ludicrous. The important principle is, the government shouldn't interfere with the doctor-patient relationship. The government shouldn't practice medicine.

TT: And what about Texas lawmakers' efforts to slash spending on family planning? Now they're threatening not to participate in the Medicaid Women's Health Program if they can't exclude Planned Parenthood.

Malone: That would be a really stupid thing to do. Planned Parenthood does not do abortions in the state of Texas with state funds. So this is a very stupid political thing. It's not like the state of Texas has another safety net for these women for medical care. The Texas Medical Association doesn't want to get into the issue of whether a patient wants an elective abortion. That's not what we're dealing with. We're talking about well woman services, pap smears and breast exams, things that make public health sense. And we don't want to see those women who are vulnerable denied essential medical services because someone wants to debate an ethics issue. That's their right to debate that. That's fine, but these are essential medical services.

Carmel: What it sets up is two classes of patients. If you've got rocks, you've got the ability, you've got access to contraception, to women's health, to all of these things. If you're poor, we're going to deny you access to that kind of health. That's first of all not tolerable for medicine, and it can't be tolerable for Americans. No American would say, "Yes, the poor should get inferior treatment."

Aww, Dr. Carmel's clearly spent too long in a Blue State. Actually, down here the Republicans do want to deny poor people treatment. We've seen it session after session after session.

It's important to note that these leaders in the field of medicine disagree with what the Republican legislature is doing -- making women's health an ideological issue, rather than a medical one. Slashing funds to women's health and family planning services hurts all of us.

I'm glad that these distinguished doctors realize this. It's too bad our Republican legislators don't.  

Discuss :: (1 Comments)

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