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The Susan G. Komen Foundation Defunds Planned Parenthood: Science Fiction Comes to the Rescue

Rights of Passage


The Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation, the largest breast cancer research, treatment, and awareness organization in the United States, shocked a lot of people earlier this week when it announced it would no longer be making its usual grants to Planned Parenthood, eliminating more than half a million dollars of funding that would have allowed PP to offer breast cancer exams and education to women without the income to otherwise receive them.

Luckily enough, John Scalzi, author of Old Man’s War and president of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, is trying to help Planned Parenthood out, and urging others to do the same.

Komen’s decision looks an awful lot like it was motivated by wanting to distance itself from an abortion provider, even if safe, legal abortions make up only 3% of Planned Parenthood’s actual performed services, the rest of which are providing much needed low cost health care to women. Komen has gotten pushback from anti-abortion providers for funding over the years, and recently accepted pro-life, anti-Planned Parenthood crusader Karen Handel as its senior vice president for public policy. Komen maintains that it is simply complying with newly adopted criteria for its grants, which disqualify any organization under congressional investigation from receiving grants, but Planned Parenthood is the only receiver of Komen grants to be affected by the new rule.

Republican representative Cliff Stearns of Florida has just begun his own investigation of Planned Parenthood to see if public funds are illegally being used to for abortions, though he has voiced no timetable for his investigation, has made no charges of wrongdoing (saying that he would only consider holding hearings based on what he learns)… and Planned Parenthood is already audited regularly for the same reasons, in accordance with the Hyde Amendment of 1976, and has never been found to be in violation.

From the Washington Post:

“We’re kind of reeling,” said Patrick Hurd, who is CEO of Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Virginia — recipient of a 2010 grant from Komen — and whose wife, Betsi, is a veteran of several Komen fundraising races and is currently battling breast cancer.

“It sounds almost trite, going through this with Betsi, but cancer doesn’t care if you’re pro-choice, anti-choice, progressive, conservative,” Hurd said. “Victims of cancer could care less about people’s politics.”

Whether caused by Komen’s political crossfire, or congressional political crossfire, Planned Parenthood is short hundreds of thousands of dollars to provide for needy women. And John Scalzi wasn’t about to let that go without doing what he could. Said Scalzi:

I don’t think it’s right that poor women get caught in [political] crossfire. They don’t deserve to die just because they can’t afford to catch their cancer early…

So, between today and February 8, 2012, every time you buy a Subterranean Press eBook written by me here in the United States, the proceeds are going to Planned Parenthood. I will direct that the donation go specifically toward their breast cancer screening and educational activities, to help replace the funding lost from the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

According to Planned Parenthood, they’ve received more than $400,000 in donations since Komen’s announcement (UPDATE: Actually, $650,000 in 24 hours). As of this morning Scalzi says sales of his books, priced between $1 and $5, have raised almost $1,700 for Planned Parenthood, and that’s only a day into the drive from Kindle sales alone. If you’d like to pick up an ebook and the warm fuzzy feeling of helping spread awareness, both general and personal, of breast cancer risks, you can check out his post here.

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Susana Polo thought she'd get her Creative Writing degree from Oberlin, work a crap job, and fake it until she made it into comics. Instead she stumbled into a great job: founding and running this very website (she's Editor at Large now, very fancy). She's spoken at events like Geek Girl Con, New York Comic Con, and Comic Book City Con, wants to get a Batwoman tattoo and write a graphic novel, and one of her canine teeth is in backwards.