A lot of criticism is being heaped on an organisation called Susan G. Komen for the Cure lately. They’re a breast cancer charity, and they’re kind of a big deal. They’ve also made a couple of decisions that haven’t gone down too well with a number of former supporters.
For one, they arranged a tie-in with KFC. Yes, that KFC. The one whose health implications are known for being potentially problematic, at best.
This isn’t a new arrangement – in fact, it’s so far in the past these days that their site bucketsforthecure.com has been allowed to expire – but some commentators at the time suspected that it was representative of how the Komen organisation’s priorities were starting to shift. It was great for their bottom line and their brand awareness, as people ate fried chicken from an unusually pink container and were warmed by the thought of a small part of their meal’s cost going to do something good about breast cancer. But suddenly the overall impact they’re having on women’s health isn’t so obviously at the positive end of the scale.
And, just this week, they’ve withdrawn their funding from Planned Parenthood, where they’d previously supported programs to screen for breast cancer. Planned Parenthood provide a number of health services, including some relating to termination of pregnancies, and the people who don’t approve of this sort of thing often pressure other organisations into making exactly the sort of move that Komen just have.
It looks rather like Komen don’t want to be seen as being either for or against something controversial such as abortion; they want to woo pro-life support, but don’t want to alienate those who recognise the importance of all the work Planned Parenthood do and don’t think that support for breast cancer screening programs – basically the epitome of what Komen is for – should be dependent on such things.
Komen have said that their decision was made because of a congressional investigation, which it doesn’t sound like anyone’s really taking seriously. If that’s the case, I would suggest a similar moratorium on any further contributions to Komen themselves, at least until the investigation is concluded and we can get some idea what their true feelings really are.
Update: In between writing all that and hitting “Publish”, Komen have apologised for their recent decision and backtracked. Wait… or maybe they haven’t. And donations being directly sent to Planned Parenthood themselves from the general public have shot up, so that’s all to the good. But it’s still a bit of a mess.