Women’s health care shouldn’t be at the mercy of Komen or Bloomberg

As Samhita mentioned yesterday, in response to the Komen fiasco, Mayor Bloomberg is matching donations to Planned Parenthood up to $250,000. While he’s probably contributing the biggest chunk of change, Bloomberg is hardly the only supporter rallying to Planned Parenthood’s aid. Just 24 hours after Komen announced they were pulling their funding, Planned Parenthood had raised nearly enough to offset the loss.

That’s wonderful. Bloomberg is kind of the worst on some issues, but he has been a strong and consistent defender of reproductive rights. I’m thrilled he put some of his money where his mouth is in this case. And it’s also been truly heartening to see how quickly and passionately regular folks have mobilized to defend Planned Parenthood as its funding has been threatened again and again over the past couple years. There is a real sense that, as one supporter writes, “When you go after Planned Parenthood and the people they serve, you go after ME.”

But I cannot tell you how angry I am that it comes to this. That it always comes to this. Planned Parenthood does incredibly valuable work, but the fact that its services are so indispensable for thousands of Americans is itself evidence of this country’s profound failure. Planned Parenthood, and other women’s health clinics, fill a health care gap that simply shouldn’t exist. This country should be able to ensure that all women can get cancer screenings and birth control and, yes, abortions–and that their primary source for such care isn’t a constantly embattled organization like Planned Parenthood. Basic women’s health care shouldn’t be subject to politics or at the mercy of foundation funding or reliant on the generosity of a billionaire plutocrat.

Last year, before Koman decided not to fund them anymore because they’re under investigation–I mean, because they don’t provide mammograms directly–I mean, let’s be real, because of the abortions–the foundation seemed to understand quite well the gap that Planned Parenthood fills:

In dozens of communities, in some areas, the only place that poor, uninsured or under-insured women can receive these services are through programs run by Planned Parenthood…These facilities serve rural women, poor women, Native American women, women of color, and the un- and under-insured…As long as there is a need for health care for these women, Komen Affiliates will continue to fund the facilities that meet that need.

Komen may have split, but the need remains. Thanks to the supporters who have stepped up, it will be met this year. But what about the next year and the one after that?

Atlanta, GA

Maya Dusenbery is an Executive Director in charge of Editorial at Feministing. Maya has previously worked at NARAL Pro-Choice New York and the National Institute for Reproductive Health and was a fellow at Mother Jones magazine. She graduated with a B.A. from Carleton College in 2008. A Minnesota native, she currently lives, writes, edits, and bakes bread in Atlanta, Georgia.

Maya Dusenbery is an Executive Director of Feministing in charge of Editorial.

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  • http://feministing.com/members/courtkneestl/ Courtney

    The whole fiasco is so incredibly frustrating, especially considering the fact that this is really nothing new. Frankly, I wasn’t surprised. What I was surprised about is the amount of backlash I got when I would tell my “pro-life” friends that I was with planned parenthood. If people can stop painting a picture of this place as an abortion mill and maybe take a minute to walk in someone’s shoes who’s going into a planned parenthood – to get an abortion or not – and stop stigmatizing women’s choices for their reproductive health, we can really make progress.

    I had someone attack me for standing with planned parenthood, and she said that there’s ways to avoid having an abortion (because that’s well over 90% of what they do ; )) like abstinence and… that’s it. I explained to her that that is unrealistic and that some people may or may not abstinence but still get pregnant through rape or incest. What should we do then? She had no response.

    What’s so great about planned parenthood is that they really are attempting to reduce the need for abortion through positive sex education and preventative methods for women and men who need it, and provide other important health services to keep men and women as prepared as possible if a woman does get pregnant. And of course if a woman feels the best choice for her is an abortion, they are supportive of her choice and guide her through it. WHY IS ANY OF THIS BAD?!?!