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The Komen Memos and the War on Reproductive Health

Today Jeffrey Goldberg exposes the Komen Memos, prepared early in January to obfuscate the firestorm they knew would occur when they made moves to target Planned Parenthood in a larger war that the ultra right is waging to curb no vanquish complete access to health care for women. We aren't just discussing abortion now, we are also discussing contraception and ultimately whether or not women can make choices for their own bodies without interference.

Today we all know Komen reversed their decision because of a sustained backlash against the group for politicizing the health of women.

December 16, 2011: According to this memo sent out to Affiliates for SGK that grant eligibility criteria had been rewritten, bullet point 2 states this:

Further, should Komen become aware that an applicant or its affiliates are under formal investigation for financial or administrative improprieties by local, state or federal authorities, the applicant will be ineligible to receive a grant. An organization may regain its eligibility once the investigation is concluded if the organization and its related affiliates are cleared of any wrongdoing.

This was Komen's warning shot to Planned Parenthood.

The internal documents in the form of memos to Officers and Directors on the Foundation's talking points regarding changes. Of course, this indicates they knew there would be a firestorm of criticism about their action to assist Republicans in their efforts to close Planned Parenthood all over the country. We know Komen expected criticism from talking point 3 and onward. These talking points are all about how to answer questions regarding unfunding the mammogram program for low income and underserved populations.

However the lie that more groups than Planned Parenthood are involved in the revised eligibility code because the Komen talking points point to no other organizations that will no longer receive funds from Komen due to the new criteria.

Three pages of talking points which defend the Foundations decision to unfund a planned parenthood program that helps people obtain what could be a lifesaving procedure.

Komen's reversal is good, but what is exposed is that the Foundations efforts to assist ultra right conservative Christians in their war on women and reproductive rights. Komens willing participation the War on Women is disappointing. Why did Komen throw itself into the middle of the political battle over women's reproductive health? Why did they take the side of the hard right forces that have not just demonized women's health issues, but have undermined access to care.

Let's look back at 2011 briefly. According to a study conducted by the Guttmacher Institutue, the first half of 2011 916 measure were introduced by legislatures across the country related to reproductive health and rights and by March of 2011 15 new laws passed.

  • expand the pre-abortion waiting period requirement in South Dakota to make it more onerous than that in any other state, by extending the time from 24 hours to 72 hours and requiring women to obtain counseling from a crisis pregnancy center in the interim;
  • expand the abortion counseling requirement in South Dakota to mandate that counseling be provided in-person by the physician who will perform the abortion and that counseling include information published after 1972 on all the risk factors related to abortion complications, even if the data are scientifically flawed;
  • require the health departments in Utah and Virginia to develop new regulations governing abortion clinics;
  • revise the Utah abortion refusal clause to allow any hospital employee to refuse to “participate in any way” in an abortion;
  • limit abortion coverage in all private health plans in Utah, including plans that will be offered in the state’s health exchange; and
  • revise the Mississippi sex education law to require all school districts to provide abstinence-only sex education while permitting discussion of contraception only with prior approval from the state.
It wasn't that long ago that alternet did a great overview of the 10 worst states for women. It's a good read and has some great information about states where women aren't considered full citizens. This is happening all over the nation, the continue degradation of women as full citizens of the United States.
Komens move has shined a harsh light on its own behavior but also gives us some insight into exactly how far ultra-right will go in order to shrink access to health care for women, by targeting poor women these groups have overplayed their hand. And I thank them for that, because women will be paying close attention this election year. It is very public now, just how far Republicans are willing to go and how far their surrogates are willing to go to make sure women do not have access to health care. They will do anything to rid the nation of legal and safe abortions, even so far as cratering a Foundation that used to be considered non-partisan. Thanks for letting us know that wasn't true, the truth does set us free and it sets our money free. I don't know that Komen can recover from this, and I am not sure they should.

Watch out ladies, Republicans and their surrogates don't think we can make our own decisions, nor do they believe we should be able to speak freely with our health care professionals. They will do whatever it takes to make sure we head backwards to 1961 before Griswold, they are stripping us of our rights as full citizens and we need to fight back.

Crossposted @ TheAngriestLiberal

Update: From Think Progress

EXCLUSIVE: Ari Fleischer Secretly Helped Guide Komen Strategy On Planned Parenthood.

Quite an interesting read, and yet another indication Komen did this for a reason. They are complicit in assisting the ultra-right wing with their war on women's reproductive rights.

As I commented before this organization has very deep ties with the Bush political machine.
Almost all my adult life, my belief in self determination of reproductive choice as been bullied and beat up on. I have been fed up about it for a long time. I don't let any missled or miss informed person walk all over a conversation in a group with far right talking points. I just let them know their talking points and Bible quotes are off topic and interjecting them into the conversation is rude because this is a civil conversation not a religious one. It does seem to work. I think that 75% of the women in this country is also tired of having their health care and reproductive health care being a political football. If the GOP can't find a better issue than this to run on when we have major other problems to deal with will not find the votes they need. I hope the GOP is paying attention to this push back.

As I just told Erica, my goodness.

You ladies won!

I am fascinated by all of this.

The little people never win!

Andrea Mitchell went nuts (and by the way Happy 98th birthday to the wife of one of the worst economic skunks who ever lived)

This entire fiasco just elates me to no end!

Kudos.

The push back was long over due. I don't think the Koman foundation has really come to grips with being caught up in this and why. Was this a win? Yes. But more important it reframed the issue of women's health care and sent a huge warning.

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