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Posted by on Feb 1, 2012 in At TMV | 30 comments

Susan G. Komen, and Democratic Weaknesses, Give Right Wing a Win Against Planned Parenthood

WASHINGTON – While the right was laying ground for what just happened, the left was giving ground.

This Komen–Planned Parenthood relationship has long been a target of pro-life activists and, media bias aside, this appears to be a remarkable turning point. – Kathryn Lopez

Kathryn Lopez is correct and the abortion rights opponents earned it. Democrats and progressives have no one to blame but themselves.

Nothing happens suddenly on issues this large or in a vacuum. There is always a methodology to this type of madness and when you cede territory to people on a mission you rarely get it back.

In a statement by Cecile Richards of Planned Parenthood, she says she’s “shocked and saddened.” How embarrassing for her.

Progressives are blaming Susan G. Komen, calling the decision “cowardice.” Others write words like “creep up” to describe what has been systematic strategy utilizing tactics that the left is too squeamish to consider. What happened, however, is the right beat the left with a relentless commitment, while Democratic, progressive and other advocates for Planned Parenthood never suited up.

As a liberal, all I can say is that the female leaders we have today not only aren’t up to the task, but progressives have failed immeasurably and completely to defend the ground stronger women who came before won.

This fight has been around for decades and revolves around abortion rights not cancer screening. But a tipping point occurred during the health care debate when Democrats chose to allow the Hyde Amendment to be codified into law. Until the Affordability Care Act, the Hyde Amendment had to be voted on yearly in the budget.

It signified Democrats and progressives had blinked and the right got the message.

At the time, Planned Parenthood’s Cecile Richards wasn’t bothered by the move in ACA or the decisions by Democrats. But when Rep. Bart Stupak was given ground by former Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the first female speaker of the House in U.S. history who also empowered the Catholic Church during health care negotiations, something fundamental shifted on the game board. Mr. Stupak was then elevated further through an unnecessary executive order signed by Pres. Obama and the message was sent and received by people who never give ground that Democrats weren’t going to suit up for the fight.

The Susan G. Komen decision is the result of getting beaten, with women across this country the victims because Ms. Richards, Ms. Pelosi, Rep. DeGette and the so-called progressive “pro-choice” caucus, along with many, many others never understood what compromise on issues of bedrock principle to the right would mean in the long-term.

We’ve seen it with Pres. Obama’s actions time and again.

The Susan B. Komen decision is about the abortion rights opponent forces winning a battle through squeezing the foundation, starting with getting them ostracized. Here’s the background if you’re interested. Komen’s current senior vice president public policy person is Karen Handel, a woman who wasn’t going to stop until the defunding of Planned Parenthood was a reality.

These are not people who capitulate and compromise for the sake of anything, unlike Democrats and progressives in Congress and their allies who set this scene up.

An entire chapter in my book, “Is Freedom Just for Men,” was written because I saw the erosion of women’s rights, which began with the Hyde Amendment decades ago. It then crescendoed with it being not only codified into law, but women are expected to find emergency insurance outside the normal routes, shrinking the pool of insured and opening the door to unavailability. In this chapter in my book, I cite all the “mini-Stupak” laws that have spread in a contagion across this country, because of the message sent by Democrats.

Susan G. Komen Foundation made the decision on Planned Parenthood because the right won critical seats in the 2010 midterms in a rabid campaign that Democrats didn’t engage fully, including on economics. It allowed Republicans to corner Planned Parenthood, which set up the investigation, which was written into Komen as something that disqualified an organization from funding.

As I wrote in “The Party’s Over,” for over 30 years Democrats have said women needed to vote for them to keep our rights secure. I’ve done that, trusted them, and with Democrats the only game in politics who aren’t cut out for the current fight, now look what has happened. What I was promised would never occur if I voted Democratic.

When you have female leaders so weak on fundamental issues of women’s individual freedoms that they are willing to give away foundational concessions on issues won through the courts it’s only a matter of time before you lose them. Putting party loyalty above all else is how this unfolded.

This was very well played strategy by the right whose tactics should have been seen a long way out. That the head of Planned Parenthood is “shocked” says it all.

Needless to say, I’m not.

Next you’ll hear a rallying cry from Democrats and others to fight back and that women’s rights are at stake! The mean anti-women’s coalition is targeting us all! Give money now!

Any organization taking your money to fund political prerogatives over the mission they’re touting doesn’t deserve one dime.

It goes beyond hypocrisy. It’s a betrayal of trust and purpose, using women as the coin.


Taylor Marsh is the author of the new book, The Hillary Effect – Politics, Sexism and the Destiny of Loss, which is now available in print on Amazon. Marsh is a veteran political analyst and commentator. She has been profiled in the Washington Post, The New Republic, and has been seen on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal, CNN, MSNBC, Al Jazeera English and Al Jazeera Arabic, as well as on radio across the dial and on satellite, including the BBC. Marsh lives in the Washington, D.C. area. This column is cross posted from her new media blog.

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Copyright 2012 The Moderate Voice
  • spynnal

    In the end, Planned Parenthood will recoup the lost donations in a matter of just days. The outpouring has been unreal.

    Komen on the other hand stands to lose millions, and that is before the inevitable pressure on their corporate sponsors to move their donations to a non-politically affiliated breast cancer charity.

  • roro80

    I could not agree more with your article, Taylor. Thank you for writing it.

  • zephyr

    “As a liberal, all I can say is that the female leaders we have today not only aren’t up to the task, but progressives have failed immeasurably and completely to defend the ground stronger women who came before won.”

    People get complacent. They imagine the forces of ignorance, superstition, and subjugation will stand down or go away once they’ve been brought into the open, had the light shine on them and been beat back once. Some kind of honor system fantasy I guess. Sort of like the fantasy of a free market regulating itself. Eternal vigilance…

  • slamfu

    This is one of those classic liberal blunders that reminds me why rabid conservatives can still hold so much sway on the national discourse. The left is pretty dumb sometimes. Like when NPR over-reacted and fired Juan whatshisname. Its PC toss the baby out with the bathwater crap. `I expect the Heritage Foundation to not be able to tell the differences in the services that PPH provides, and to base all funding on the 4% of its business model that does abortions instead of the 96% of it that helps people. But to see this, it makes me concerned.

  • roro80

    zephyr — My guess is that the complacence in our public officials does not have to do with the issue itself, but complacence in thinking that women will continue to vote for them while they blithly throw women’s rights away as a “compromise” for other political gains.

  • zephyr

    Right. So what’s the “solution”? Trying to shake up the D party or threatening to migrate to a 3rd party? The political power of women is still more in the realm of potential than it is being fully realized. More education and organizing could make them a force to be reckoned with.

  • The_Ohioan

    Progressives are going to have to decide if they are more concerned about Obama’s “assault on civil rights” or the welfare of their women. It would be nice if both could be solved in one person, but I don’t see how.

    I sometimes think, I could be wrong, that men are simply unable to understand the fear women feel when they think their bodies are going to be removed from their own control. Not that they are not empathetic, but it’s something you have to actually face to understand.

    I could be wrong.

  • I don’t know who to blame but I have supported Komen for years. That support will now go directly to Planned Parenthood and apparently I’m not alone.

  • roro80 says:
    FEBRUARY 1, 2012 AT 3:18 PM

    It’s quite a situation and as spynnal & Ron Beasley offer, people are not going to give to Komen. I think now the goal is a big walk for the cure to stick it to them.

    slamfu says:
    FEBRUARY 1, 2012 AT 4:14 PM

    This is one of those classic liberal blunders that reminds me why rabid conservatives can still hold so much sway on the national discourse. The left is pretty dumb sometimes….

    The left is not only dumb, & complacent, as zephyr says, but they’re masochistic!

  • desert moderate

    If the Komen organization is intentionally choosing to do the wrong thing, then they are doing so because their money donors are misinformed about Planned Parenthood.

    The solution would be to get out compelling evidence, of the truth about Planned Parenthood, into the public square and to the money donors. I do not understand why Planned Parenthood has been so inept as to fail to do this. The solution would include winning the philosophical argument in the public arena.

    MLK tied his fortunes to his faith that human beings (even bigots) would act upon truth and morality, if only they could see it clearly.

  • DR. CLARISSA PINKOLA ESTÉS, Managing Editor of TMV, and Columnist

    komen said they were for ALL women’s health. I think they may never hold sway again. In part, bec even before this, much money being made, and not sure where it actually went. Have to look at the annual report to see and read between the lines and requisition the line item budget month to month to see.

    On another hand, to try to be fair, whoever put pressure on Komen by threatening to withdraw funds, was playing dirty, I’d say.

    On one more hand, if Komen had said, we’re getting pressure and we’re going to be underfunded by x amount bec, naming name (s) so and so is threatening us… it could have played out differently. Completely differently.

    But too, I’d like to know where all the money coming in to Komen was actually going and for what.

    Thinking about what my dad might say about this somehow medical helper turning into a political jobber… (My dad’s passed away, but as you know some of our beloved parents are still alive in our hearts)… if komen solicited funds from known anti-women’s health people… then, maybe it’s
    “lie down with dogs, dont be surprised to get up with fleas”

    Really, it was shocking that Komen took this stance. I am still stuck on the idea that they were supposed to exist for ALL.

  • Dabb

    Ahhhh a game between Pro-choice and no-choice with no-choice winning.

    It doesn’t matter who wins in this man’s game. The losers are poor women. And no one seems to give a rat’s you-know-what about them.

    Sounds like Mitt Romney.

    The poor be damned! Carry on Republicans. Carry on.

  • I guess the question is how did uber wingnut Karen Handel get the keys to the organization.

  • DaGoat

    I disagree with Komen’s decision, but overall the Komen foundation does much more good than harm. It’s unfortunate people are pulling their donations over this – in the long run it will hurt low-income women and there is not a similarly high profile breast cancer organization out there.

  • zephyr

    Planned Parenthood has been in the political thick of it for years, but not Komen. I don’t think they’re going to like how this shakes out.

    “The money provided by Susan G. Komen for the Cure went to just a fraction — about 19 according to one report — of Planned Parenthood’s more than 85 affiliates. And it was all — roughly $680,000 last year and $580,000 the year before that — used for breast-cancer screening and other breast-health services for low-income, uninsured, and under-insured women.”

    This Karen Handel person isn’t doing her organization any favors.

  • SteveK

    Sometimes being ashamed of how ‘some’ people think ‘other’ people should act is important… On this issue it’s mandatory.

    Thanks to all who understand the reality of this foolish acquiescence to the radical insane right.

  • PATRICK EDABURN, Assistant Editor

    Although I am personally mildly pro life I find this decision disappointing to say the least.

  • Rcoutme

    In the end, Taylor, if you voted for Democrats only because of their stance on abortion you are just as foolish as anyone who voted just for Republicans because of their party’s stance. I am against abortion. I generally vote Democrat. Why? Because there are other issues–and those issues ARE THE ONES THAT CAN BE DIRECTLY AFFECTED!

    Sorry for the shout, but I have been railing against people in my circle for making all elections ‘one issue’ elections for years. They throw the poor under the bus in order to ‘maybe make it a wee little bit harder’ to get an abortion. This is absolute nonsense.

  • drbob10001

    This marks the official death of Feminism. “My Body, Myself,” no more. Women be damned in the new Right Wing era.

  • bluebelle

    This is truly disgusting. The right won’t rest until poor women have no access to health screenings and birth control. Its a shame that they care more about the embryo in the womb than the baby after birth

  • bluebelle

    We need a new wave of feministas to rise up and take back their reproductive rights— maybe burn a few bras, LOL

  • Interesting that no one seems to consider the fact that large numbers of women are either solidly against abortion (go to any pro-life rally to see it) or are moderates on the issue and do not consider the all-or-nothing no-compromises position of the pro-abortion rights left as something they agree with either? Perhaps women’s voices have more power than you believe, and they aren’t helpless, they just aren’t voting the way you want them to because they don’t share your view. I know an awful lot of pro-life women and an awful lot who are pro-choice but much more moderate on the matter–and women vote more in most elections than men do. If this really were about women’s empowerment, and most women really saw it that way, things like this wouldn’t happen. You might want to at least consider the fact that women, young women in particular, are not always inclined to see this issue in the way you do.

  • Rcoutme

    Umm…you didn’t read my post, Dean? I mean…well…umm…

  • Rcoutme says:
    FEBRUARY 2, 2012 AT 1:27 AM

    I voted for Obama-Biden on foreign policy, which is one of the driving issues for me in presidential elections. I’m not a one-issue voter, but I will say a woman’s individual freedoms is a cause worthy of that choice.

    DEAN ESMAY, Guest Voice Columnist says:
    FEBRUARY 2, 2012 AT 7:14 AM

    “pro-abortion rights…. pro-life women and an awful lot who are pro-choice but much more moderate on the matter…”

    The words above in italics are rife with a loaded political agenda that is as old & tired as it is predictable from the anti-women’s freedom crowd. But it does reveal the purpose of anyone using this type of language, which is to electrify the discussion.

    No one I know is “pro-abortion.” This is a marketing tactic long used by right wingers & others who want to demonize something that is far more deeply rooted in personal liberty. People use these terms in italics, including “pro-life,” as if the woman in a dire situation isn’t “pro-life” where her own life is concerned. I’ll leave aside that any man speaking for women on the subject of abortion has no ground on which to stand. When he can’t control what he could do with his own personhood then we can talk.

    The question actually lands here: Is Freedom Just For Men?

    That’s a chapter in my new book, with abortion rights opponents saying YES, only men are free.

    Stopping & limiting abortions further is paramount. But the right isn’t interested, nor are many religious institutions, because they block means that are effective in doing so. Pres. Obama & Democrats are guilty as well (see the Plan B decision).

  • adelinesdad

    I posted this comment on another thread, but since the discuss appears to be here, I’ll post it here too (slightly modified) to get your point of view. Considering the passionate consensus here, I’ll offer this pre-emptively: I haven’t reached any conclusion, mostly from lack of information. If you think I’m wrong, please respectfully point out why:

    In my view, there is a question left unanswered before I can reach a judgment: Were there other organizations whose grant renewals are being denied due to the more stringent standards? If not, then it does suggest the intent was to exclude planned parenthood. Otherwise, it’s not as clear.

    Something to keep in mind is that the total amount of funding going toward screenings is not going to change (well, unless those calling for effective boycotts get their way). It’s just being directed to other providers. Is that right? Well, on one hand, the more providers that can provide screenings, the better chance that everyone can get screenings. On the other hand, there does have to be some minimum standard to ensure that the money is being used effectively. Why is there not a similar outcry whenever anyone’s grant application is denied? Doesn’t that also reduce access to some segment of women, regardless of the reason for the denial?

    The next question is whether an investigation should be grounds for denying an application. Whether or not you agree with it, on its face there’s nothing political about that. In fact, if the policy were to evaluate each investigation to determine if it warranted a denial, that process would almost certainly be polluted with politics. So, I think either you have to exclude all organizations under investigation, or none of them. And I think either option is defensible.

  • adelinesdad

    My last comment did not address the question of abortion at all. If it is shown that Komen’s decision was due to the issue of abortion, I agree that is wrong.

    But, switching gears, regarding this:

    Taylor: “The question actually lands here: Is Freedom Just For Men?”

    Can you not understand the alternate perspective that the question instead lands here: Should a fetus be considered an individual separate from the woman carrying it? (I hope you will notice my earnest attempt to avoid any phrases that you might consider electrifying)

    That seems to me to be the more fundamental question because, if the answer is Yes, the freedom of the woman is irrelevant. Is this fair? No. I don’t know of any biological situation where the freedom of a man is intrinsically connected with the life of another individual. So, it is indeed unfair, but I’m not sure how you resolve that.

  • zephyr

    “The question actually lands here: Is Freedom Just For Men?”

    If America’s political right (driven by it’s more retrograde elements) had it’s way the answer to that question would be so obvious even America’s most apathetic, apolitical nonvoters would know the answer to it. This entire debacle is about control, not about morality. The more we are finding out about the Komen organization, the more we are seeing it’s dark side.

  • roro80

    “if the answer is Yes, the freedom of the woman is irrelevant.”

    It’s only irrelevant if you think it’s irrelevant. If the answer is yes it’s a separate entity with it’s own freedoms, is it unfortunate that the baby can’t live without using the mother’s organs and body as a home? Sure, of course. Does that mean that her body physically belongs to the baby? No, it doesn’t.

    Here’s a time when an adult is physically dependent to live on another person: organ donation. The situation: I will die if you don’t give me your kidney. Does that mean you must, by law or by morals, give it to me? No. You might decide to be extremely generous and do so. In a similar situation, I’d hope that I would make the choice to do so as well. However, neither the law nor any moral imperitive forces you to give up your bodily autonomy and share your organs with me so that I can live. Surgery, like carrying and giving birth to a baby, can be dangerous and extremely painful, and can leave your body forever changed.

    That someone will die because you choose to own your own body does not mean that there must be a law that says you don’t.

  • adelinesdad


    I appreciate your response. I think you make a good argument. I’ll have to consider it further, but my first thought is that, in my view, there is a difference between a dependence that occurs biologically and one that requires medical intervention to create. In other words, there is a difference between a woman’s obligation to the fetus (again, assuming it is considered a separate individual) and a potential organ donor’s obligation. But, like I said, I’ll need to consider that.

  • roro80

    I appreciate your consideration. One thing else: I understand your feeling of obligation. We love our moms. We love our children. We think there is something universal and special about that relationship, and there is. But we also don’t force people to give organs to their relatives, whom they often love or share that same bond with — again, that bond makes it much more likely that someone considers giving up a major organ. It should be noted that women giving their wombs and their bloodstreams and their bodies to grow a child inside of them happens with happiness and joy a lot more than it would if that bond did not exist. For example, how many women would choose to be surrogates for people they don’t know if they weren’t compensated for all the related medical risks, as well as having the medical costs of all pre-natal and birthing costs completely covered? A few might, just out of the kindness of their own hearts, but it is extremely rare as it is to have women willing to be surrogates. Having a kid is scary, expensive, dangerous, does permanent damage to a woman’s body, and is emotionally very difficult for many women. The biological instinct is so strong that most of us do it eventually anyway, but to force that onto someone is a whole different question.

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