Here’s my take on it.

Filed under: @ 12:45 pm

This morning the Susan G. Komen Foundation reversed their decision to stop making grants to Planned Parenthood for breast health screening for low income and uninsured women.


Glad of it.

But the fact that they made the original decision to stop the grants — and would have made good on it if they hadn’t had such an outcry from the public — shows me that they’re not an organization with an awful lot of integrity.

The Komen Foundation was willing to bow to political pressure from the conservative members of congress who have their knickers in a twist about Planned Parenthood regardless of the fact that the Komen Foundation’s grants were made to support breast cancer screening and didn’t have ANYTHING to do with Planned Parenthood’s support of contraception, abortion, or other reproductive counseling. And then the Komen Foundation was willing to bow to pressure from the public and from the rest of congress to reverse their decision.

While I am, as I said, glad that they did reverse the original decision, the fact that they’re willing to flip-flop so readily makes me really think hard about whether or not I want to support them anymore.
And it’s made me sad that I now have to justify my decision that I am still going to walk this summer.

It’s taken me nearly four hours to put down in words what I feel about the whole situation and to explain, to myself if to no one else, what my position is going to be in the upcoming months.

This is what I sent to the Komen Foundation this morning.

Dear Komen Foundation

In the last week I’ve had to think hard about whether or not I am going to participate in this year’s 3-Day. The original decision to stop the grants to Planned Parenthood for breast screening for low income and uninsured women, had it stood, would have kept me from walking. And while I am glad for the fact that the Komen Foundation was willing to reverse the decision the whole episode has left such a bad taste in my mouth that it will keep me from walking again after this year.

Here is the e-mail that I originally had planned to send:

When I first started investigating the Komen Foundation before signing up for my first 3-Day I read about how Nancy Brinker had promised her dying sister to end breast cancer in our lifetime. And I read about how 80 plus percent of the funds raised by 3-Day walkers would go to breast cancer screening and research. I even managed to convince some skeptical donors to sponsor me that year because I was so proud of what the Komen Foundation was doing.
And I walked that year.
This year was to be my fifth breast cancer 3-Day. I was looking forward to it. As stupid as it sounds, I’ve found that walking for three days straight and pounding my feet to pulp is a lot of fun. And I made a promise to my niece who would have been walking for the first time this summer.

But now I can’t.

I don’t remember seeing anything anywhere in Nancy and Susan’s heartwarming story about how Nancy promised to end breast cancer “unless you’re a low-income or uninsured woman who can’t afford breast screening anywhere else than the subsidized screening that is offered at Planned Parenthood”.
I don’t remember seeing the footnote to “Everyone Deserves a Lifetime” that reads “unless you have your mammograms done at Planned Parenthood in which case you’re out of luck”.
I don’t remember hearing the disclaimer at the end of the television ads that state “A woman dies of breast cancer every 74 seconds. The Susan G. Komen Foundation wants to change that.” that mutters at an almost supersonic speed “unless you are a low income woman in which case we don’t care because Planned Parenthood also offers other reproductive health services that we don’t support because someone in Congress doesn’t support them”.

For shame! Shame on you!

By canceling your grants to Planned Parenthood for breast cancer screening you have said to a large number of American women “We don’t care about your breasts. You don’t make enough money to afford your own insurance, or you’re a student, or you’re unemployed. Since you have to go to Planned Parenthood for your breast health care, you don’t matter to us!”

I am a doctor and a scientist. Medicine and science should never, NEVER be at the whim of political pressure.

The Komen Foundation would have gained many thousands more dollars from me and my sponsors over the next years. But your lack of integrity has shown me what sort of organization you really want to be.

And I can’t support that.


Margaret Hammond

But, as I said above, I did decide to walk again this summer.

The nonsense that has gone on over the last week will make it very difficult for me to raise the sponsorship that is required to walk, but I think I can still do it. I will face a lot of pressure from my sponsors, but I’m willing to stand up to that and explain why I am still going to walk.

I’m going to walk for three reasons.
The first being that I made a promise. I said above I made a promise to my niece who will, if things turn out right, be walking for the first time this summer under my chaperonage and my sponsorship. I want to walk with her this summer because she is looking forward to it and because I want her to know what sort of a difference a group of strong, determined women can make in this world. I keep my promises.
The second reason is that I made a promise. One of my cousins died last November of metastatic breast cancer. I made a promise to myself, and I made a promise to her spirit, that this year I’d walk for her. The effort and the pain are my sacrifice to honor her memory. I keep my promises.
The third reason is that I made a promise. When I signed up for my first 3-Day -god, was it really 10 years ago?- I said in my sponsorship letters that I considered myself very lucky. None in my family had had breast cancer and I wanted more girls and young women to grow up in a world like that. While I know now that breast cancer has struck my family and probably will again, I still want more girls and young women to reach their mid-thirties (my age when I did my first 3-Day) without knowing the pain of breast cancer. As it is, I have two young second cousins who will grow up without knowing their mother which is heartbreaking. A friend gave me a copy of Melissa Etheridge’s “I Run For Life” off of “The Road Less Traveled” when I was in training for my third 3-Day. The lyric line “And if you ask me why I am still running/I’ll tell you I run for us all” has been my promise to my sex. I keep my promises. I walk for us all.

So I’ll walk this summer to keep my promises to the tough, brave women to whom I’ve made promises.

But next year all of my charitable efforts, both financial and physical, will go to Planned Parenthood.


Margaret Hammond

3 Responses to “Here’s my take on it.”

  1. Valerie Says:

    Thank you, Margaret, for weighing in. I was just about to click on your link to sponsor you for the 3-Day when the SGK announcement about their cancellation of their PP grant came out. I thought long and hard about it, and I just KNEW you had a strong opinion you would eventually express. Unfortunate and ill-advised decisions from politically motivated management stooges should not ever take anything away from the dedication, commitment, and hard work the many grass-roots fundraisers have shown over all the years the 3-Day events have been running. I am pleased that the decision was reversed, but I am NOT pleased about all the rest of the dirt that has come to light in the wake of this controversy.

    I was waiting to see what you were going to do. I was going to support your decision either way, because I knew that you were not going to make your decision lightly–whatever the result will be. So I will be sponsoring YOU and supporting YOU in your dedication, commitment, and hard work. I will also be increasing my monthly contribution to PP via the Boeing Employees Community Fund.


  2. Margaret Says:

    Valerie, you don’t know how much your support means to me. 😀 I haven’t really done a lot of fundraising yet, I was really going to start my primary push this week -SIGH-, and I am expecting a lot of push back from some of my more vocal leftie aunties and uncles regarding my decision to stick with the walk this summer. I shall, perhaps, wait to send my traditional begging letter to them. ttthhhhpppphhhhhtttttttt!

  3. Uncle Andrew Says:

    Now that Karen Handel, VP of Public Affairs at Komen—who by many accounts was the driving force behind the decision to defund Planned Parenthood’s screening services—has resigned, maybe the rest of the board will be able to resurrect their good name. Too early to tell right now; we just need to keep a careful eye on them. As for the 3 Day, I’m urging Margaret to let me slap a Planned Parenthood logo on this year’s Team Ecccentrica T-shirts. 😆

    Nah nah naaaaah nah….YEEEEEAH….nah nah naaaaah nah nah nah….YEEEEEAHH….

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