Grappling with the mish-mash of American politics
I was a Planned Parenthood affiliate chief executive, supervising a network of clinics in New York state, during the early days of this terrible recession. We ran deficits, cut hours, closed centers and laid off staff members. In a recession, things get very difficult — more and more people are in need, while government funds lag and donations dwindle. But still we did not turn patients away, even if they could not pay. At the same time, we had to fight political battles to preserve women’s rights to basic care and information about their sexual health.
Amid the debate, let’s address some of the misperceptions about this nearly 100-year-old health-care organization.
After the Susan G. Komen Foundation for the Cure’s decision to defund Planned Parenthood, attention has focused on its Vice President for Policy, Karen Handel. She joined the group last January after a failed run for governor in Georgia, where she had advocated defunding Planned Parenthood.
But there’s another woman who deserves equal credit: Americans United for Life President Charmaine Yoest. It’s her group that issued a report last fall, “The Case for Investigating Planned Parenthood,” that led to a probe by the Energy and Commerce Committee. And it’s that investigation that puts Planned Parenthood in violation of Komen’s new policy that bars funding of groups under investigation.
UPDATE: As of this morning the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation has reversed their decision to eliminate their funding to Planned Parenthood. They clarified their previous position which was not to provide funding to organizations under investigation, which Planned Parenthood is by the Republican-controlled House of Representatives. Their new position is that “… disqualifying investigations must be criminal and conclusive in nature and not political.”
The pressure exerted by those who support Planned Parenthood, and all their services to low income families, over the last 24 hours illustrates the loudest voices from the far edges of the ideological spectrum do not represent the views of the majority.