Odd and ends here after a busy week that included mid-terms for my A&P and Human Dev classes…this may become a “weekly feature,” you know, more like “weekly-ish.”
The whole Susan G. Komen debacle has been dominating news cycles. In case you haven’t heard, they announced early in the week that they would no longer be funding a grant to Planned Parenthood for breast cancer screenings. Cue national uproar, and a few days later, they changed their minds. I’ve never been a huge fan of the Komen juggernaut. They’re huge, they’re focused mostly on researching pharmaceutical cures (rather than taking a holistic approach and looking at causes and prevention), and they’re not a very efficient organization.
I’m hopeful that this will be an opportunity for people to learn about other organizations that are doing research and advocacy around breast cancer. For starters, there’s the Silent Spring Institute. And then there’s Breast Cancer Action, who have been questioning Komen’s pharmaceutical donor ties for over 10 years. I’m eager to see this documentary, which hits theaters in Canada, starting today!
Here are a few links that sum up my thoughts on unfolding of this story:
The people who have urged Komen to stop supporting Planned Parenthood aren’t opposed to breast-cancer screenings; they’re opposed to other services Planned Parenthood provides, which include contraception and abortion. But a campaign to sever the ties between a foundation that’s raising money to find a cure for breast cancer and a health-care provider that advocates for reproductive rights exposes more than a division over contraception and abortion. It exposes a gruesome truth about politics in this country.
In American politics, women’s bodies are not bodies, but parts. People like to talk about some parts more than others. Embryos and fetuses are the most charged subject in American political discourse. Saying the word “cervix” was the beginning of Rick Perry’s end. In politics, breasts are easier to talk about. I first understood this a few years ago, when I was offered, at an otherwise very ordinary restaurant, a cupcake frosted to look like a breast, with a nipple made of piped pink icing. It was called a “breast-cancer cupcake,” and proceeds went to the Race for the Cure.
And there’s this, from RH Reality Check, about refusing to apologize for that measly 3% of health care services that PP provides that everyone seems intent on minimizing, apologizing for and sweeping under the rug whenever possible.
We must stand with Planned Parenthood. But let’s not do so in a way that denies the extreme importance of all the services they provide. As advocates for reproductive justice, the last thing we can afford to do is allow ourselves to become complicit in the stigmatization of abortion.
And in other good news… there’s Governor Deval Patrick, of Massachusetts signing into law legislation that frees CNM’s to practice independently of physicians, able to order tests and prescriptions and other therapeutics. They still have to be affiliated with a health clinic (which limits their ability to attend home births), and have a relationship with an OB-GYN for referrals, but this is definitely a step in the right direction. CNM’s are trained and certified to be independent, primary care providers. This legislation will give more women more choices when it comes to choosing their care providers. Of course, in Oregon, CNM’s have had this right for a while…but it’s good to hear that more states are expanding the scope of midwifery practice.