It hasn’t been an easy time for women these past couple days, especially in regard to their health. First, news breaks that the Susan G. Komen Cancer Research Foundation has ended grants to Planned Parenthood; then Pfizer announces that they are recalling over a million faulty birth control packs. Crazy, no? So what exactly is going on? How do all these things affect you? Here’s a breakdown:
The Susan G. Komen Cancer Research Foundation has been experiencing a push from the religious right to cut their ties from Planned Parenthood for a while. Christian groups have called for a boycott of the organization, claiming that the group is a “lie from the pit of hell.” Last year, a Christian publisher ceased publishing and removed copies of Komen branded pink bibles from shelves. Representatives for the Komen foundation are claiming that the group can no longer support Planned Parenthood as the non-profit is under investigation from Congress, which is currently forbidden within the organization.
However, people are crying foul as the cutting of grants to Planned Parenthood ban seems to be largely decided by individuals on the inside. Karen Handel, named Senior Vice President of Komen in 2011, was actually against Planned Parenthood and made it clear during her run for governor of Georgia. If she had won the Republican primary and the governor position, she pledged to cut all funding from Planned Parenthood. We cannot solely place the blame on her, although it is suspicious that the foundation would welcome someone who went on record as saying they’re against a non-profit they gave $860,000 in grant money to last year.
Many people are also not surprised as Komen often partners with organizations that rely on chemicals that have been linked to cancer for their line of pink products. Recently, the company came under fire for releasing a perfume, which has been known to irritate chemotherapy patients. There’s also been criticism that in recent years, Komen spends most of their donations on their marketing and advertising.
“Okay,” you’re probably thinking. “Planned Parenthood has other benefactors, they’ll still be able to operate.” Possibly, but the major issue with this is that Planned Parenthood serves a lot of women in low income areas, who can’t afford private practice doctors. Planned Parenthood is also more thorough than a lot of local free clinics, as PP gets more funding. With Komen cutting grants, it’s as if they’re saying “only certain people are worthy for cancer screenings, aka not poor people.” Many people erroneously think that PP just distributes birth control and provides abortions. While those are the most popular services, they’re not the only ones. Cancer screenings are super important, as they can help save lives, which is something Komen seems to forget.
With Pfizer recall, that’s just plain irresponsibility. The company released 14 units lots of Lo/Ovral-28 tablets and 14 lots of Norgestrel and Ethinyl Estradiol tablets. Both products are manufactured by Pfizer and marketed in the U.S. by Akrimax Rx Products. The company found that the packs either had too many active hormones or not enough. The company blames a lack of visual and mechanical inspection on the production line. However, this mistake could cause unwanted pregnancy. Isn’t that maddening? Because someone wasn’t doing their job; they’re messing with women’s reproductive health.
So there you have it–this is what’s been going on this week in women’s health. Are you mad at the Komen foundation? Are you annoyed at Pfizer’s lack of quality control?