I like pink. There, I said it. I have a pink wallet and a pink toothbrush, and a pink wool coat with fancy buttons that I only bring out of the closet when I’m feeling particularly sassy. It’s a guilty little pleasure.
Or at least, it was back when pink was just a color. Then the Susan G Komen foundation made pink cool. Suddenly, everybody was going pink. Spatulas, paper towels, toilet tissue, water bottles, soda cans… you name it, it probably came in pink along with a donation to a foundation that was supposed to be working toward a cure for breast cancer, one of the most frequent killers of women.
Tuesday, the Susan G Komen foundation chose to remove almost $700,000 in annual funding for breast cancer screenings for poor and under-served women. Why? Because the organization that performed those screenings, the only source of healthcare many women at the lowest end of the socioeconomic ladder have in this country, also performed other reproductive services.
This decision was not made due to lack of means or lack of education. It was not made with a plan in place to offer the same services to the same women in some other fashion or through some other venue. Early detection of breast cancer through free or low-cost screenings is the best way of preventing death from this disease. Planned Parenthood is the only option for screening available to many of the women who this defunding will effect. This was a political decision, without regard to the mission of the foundation or to the women it is meant to serve.
I had this conversation with my husband today:
Me: I need a new wallet.
Me: It’s pink.
Me: Pink has become the color of anti-woman, right-winged wackery.
Him: Don’t let them take pink. It’s pretty.
Me: Fuck pink. I’d rather live. I’d rather poor women with no other access to cancer screenings live.
They can have pink. I’ll choose life. My time and money are going to an organization that serves the health and well-being of my fellow human beings, regardless of their political affiliations or reproductive choices — Planned Parenthood.
I have to wonder, though, how the real Susan Komen, who the foundation was named after, would feel about her name becoming synonymous with an organization giving some the poorest women in America a sentence of death by breast cancer.