Scents of Self is first and foremost a perfume blog. I have always felt that this is not the right space for political debate, and so I have never once used it to air political opinions. But today I must speak.
Breast cancer has great significance for my family. My father, president of Weinberg Medical Physics LLC, is a pioneer in the field of breast cancer detection. He invented PEM, positron emission mammography. With a 92% rate of cancer detection, PEM scans detect breast cancer more accurately than standard mammographies (which have a 78% rate of cancer detection). My father’s mother, Helen Weinberg, died of breast cancer at age 70 in 2003. She was the godliest woman I have ever known. It was my grandmother who taught me that we must be kind and decent to others, particularly those who are less fortunate than us. It is with her lessons in my heart that I write this today.
Susan G. Komen is the world’s largest non profit breast cancer charity. Yesterday, Susan G. Komen announced that it would no longer be funding breast cancer screenings at Planned Parenthood Clinics. Planned Parenthood is a reproductive health care organization. They have 800 clinics in the United States. Because the fees of Planned Parenthood services are determined on a sliding scale (meaning that women with lower income pay lower prices), Planned Parenthood is essentially the only affordable source of reproductive health for many women.
Yes, we all know that Planned Parenthood provides abortions. However, over 90% of the services performed by Planned Parenthood are actually preventative. These include birth control, STD tests and treatment, and, of course, cancer screenings. Planned Parenthood clinics have performed over 4 million breast cancer screenings over the past 5 years. 170,000 of those were made possible by funding from Susan G. Komen.
I don’t care what you think about abortion, and neither does breast cancer. It affects the pro-choice and the pro-life alike. When the day comes that you need a breast cancer screening, I hope to God that you can afford a private clinic. Because thanks to Susan G. Komen, Planned Parenthood just became a little less likely to be able to provide you with one.
I would also like to share with you some interesting information about Susan G. Komen’s spending. These numbers come straight from Susan G. Komen’s 2010 financial statements. In 2010, Susan G. Komen raised $389,309,686. $76,769,686 of that was spent on fundraising and administrative costs. Of the remaining $283,179, 167, $75,407,069 was spent on research, $140,773,507 on “public health education”, $46,860,822 on health screening services, and $20,137,769 on treatment services. In other words, Susan G. Komen allocated more money to “public health education” than the amounts they spent on research, health screening services, and treatment services added together.
Look, y’all, we know what breast cancer is. It was identified in 1600 B.C. The public is already educated. We don’t need any more pink ribbons, “save the boobies” t-shirts, special beauty products, or cutesy Facebook statuses. Raising awareness of breast cancer is no longer the top priority; research, early detection, and treatment are. And if you donate to Susan G. Komen, that is not where your money will be going.
I have never stepped foot in a Planned Parenthood. God willing, I will never need to get an abortion. I was privileged to attend a private high school with adequate sexual education. But considering my family history of breast cancer, it is very likely that I will eventually need breast cancer screenings. No matter what she is there for, a woman who receives treatment at Planned Parenthood clinics is no less of a person than I am. She is no less deserving of breast cancer screening than I am. I will be donating to Planned Parenthood today in honor of my brave grandmother. She believed in always doing the right thing, even when it is difficult or unpopular.