Susan G. Komen for the Cure Fights Breast Cancer—And LGBT Equality And Reproductive Rights Too?

For more than 25 years, Susan G. Komen for the Cure has dedicated to finding a cure for breast cancer. It’s sponsored charity races around the nation, landed celebrity supporters like Ellen DeGeneres and Cynthia Nixon, and has leveraged widely publicized pink-ribbon campaigns with major corporations like Old Navy Evian, Dell, Energizer and Yoplait.

Heck it even has its own perfume.

But now the group is coming under fire because, after five years of sponsorship, it’s cutting funding to Planned Parenthood Federation of America. The official reason: PPFA is under congressional investigations (yeah, by anti-choice Republicans on a witch hunt).

Is Komen severing ties because it doesn’t want to piss off conservative donors or because it’s adopting its own right-wing agenda—one that spells bad news for gays and lesbians?

Boy Culture posted a 2010 interview from WXIA-TV in Atlanta featuring Karen Handel, Komen senior vice president for public policy and a former Republican candidate for the Georgia’s governor’s office. A veteran politico who ran on an anti-abortion platform, Handel is also against marriage equality—and she’s not shy about sharing her beliefs:

As Handel explains above, she would work against any plans to further civil unions, adoptions by gays and lesbians, or same-sex marriage measures.

“Marriage is between one man and one woman—I’ve been very very clear about that.  And the record is clear about any of the other issues like domestic partner benefits or anything like that. In fact in Fulton, I voted no on domestic partner benefits.”

…I do not think that gay relationships are—they are not what God intended.  And that’s just my viewpoint on it.  Others might disagree with that.  But I would also hope that if you look at what is happening in our state, we’ve got issues we need to be focused on in Georgia.  We have a constitutional amendment against gay marriage.  And it’s something that I supported wholeheartedly.  We have that, and let’s get dealing with the other issues that we also need to deal with in Georgia.  And the press can help with that.  (Laughs).

Once again, we see a Republican politician who thinks furthering gay rights is a waste of resources but suppressing them is a legitimate use of the legislature’s time. Except in this case, the politician also happens to be a senior policymaker at a major cancer nonprofit.

It seems like Komen is shooting itself in the foot by disengaging from Planned Parenthood: Early detection is essential when it comes to cancer, and routine mammograms—the kind that are PPFA’s bread and butter—save thousands of lives each year.

If you’re truly serious about protecting women from cancer, you should give more—not less—money to Planned Parenthood.

And if you’re at all serious about standing by the LGBT community, fire Handel while you’re at it.

Photos: Glenn Francis, Aine D

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  • Shannon1981

    Anti- Choice and anti- Equality? No thanks. I’ll stick with Planned Parenthood.

  • JayKay

    Does this mean it’s ok for me to say I’m sick and tired of seeing pink plastered all over everything for the entire month of October?

    Because I am.

    Might not be so bad if there were similarly omnipresent campaigns devoted to fighting prostate cancer, but whatever. Them’s the breaks.

  • Holla

    @JayKay: I don’t know about the US, but here in Canada “Mowvember”, where men grow moustaches during the month of November to raise awareness of prostate cancer is very popular. It often leads to unfortunate facial hair and annoying emails from friends and coworkers seeking sponsorship. The pink ribbons are annoying and excessive, but the moustaches are (generally) unattractive and much more in your face.

  • Mike UK

    @Holla: same here in the UK.

  • Price Waterhouse

    I thought I smelled a big republican rat somewhere.

  • Alan brickman

    So please phone Safeway next time they bombard you with pink ribbon week (seems everyweek) ask them to remove it from display….always thought it was s a slush fund for man hate anyways….

  • GayGOP

    I will continue to support the Susan G. Komen Foundation despite Ms. Handel, but that is in part because I think it is necessary to stop the murder of innocent children, and PPFA, despite the wonderful work they do in many arenas, is also a Baby Murder Factory that deserves to be at least partially de-funded.

  • Cam


    So they are so pro life, that they are preventing poor women from getting screened for cancer. Yes, that makes sense.

  • Triple S

    @Mike UK: Same here in Australia


    Breast cancer awareness and screening has nothing 2 do w/ pro-life and glbt issues. Retard cake Handel must step down from her post. She needs 2 stop mixing her personal agenda w/ breast cancer awareness- which affects anyone w/ a gf, Mom, Gramma, sister, aunt, or friend.

  • the crustybastard

    “Marriage is between one man and one woman [and as a legislator,] I voted no on domestic partner benefits.…I do not think that gay relationships are—they are not what God intended. And that’s just my viewpoint on it.”

    So you legislate other people’s rights according to your “viewpoint” regarding what you “think” a supernatural being “intended.”

    Go sit in the corner, dumbass.

  • Bob

    Simple…the GLBT community and their families just stop supporting the ‘Susan G. Komen for the Cure’ until they fire this cow.

    And, it is about time that men’s cancers are given equal time! Every year in my office they make a big deal about raising money strickly for women’s issues and it is a slap in the face to all the men. Yet, so menay men just go along with it. Wake up guys! Save some of those finds for us!

  • drewa24

    So hefers bottom line explaining why she will not tolerate GAY ANYTHING, is, “just a-cause”???? How the hell do these fuck-tards continue to get elected? I was not put on this earth to be TOLERATED by the likes of this cracker and her redneck cum bred ilk. Kids, we had best wise up to this shit-ola soon because these jebus freaks are hell bent on either killing us or shipping us off to Newt’s TOTAL RECALL moon colony! WORD!

  • Alexa

    God forbid one female problem actually get some attention – and let’s ignore the fact that men get breast cancer as well. How about complaining that heart disease, which affects women as well as men, is virtually always investigated as a male problem and that progress in fighting the disease is aimed almost solely at men? We have to be visible about fighting breast cancer or we would be ignored, as usual.

    Saying all that, this bitch needs to go. Putting her faith above women’s lives is disgusting and the rest of the Susan G. Komen Foundation should get her out. I know they lost donations from some because of their ties to PP, but I suspect this will completely backfire on them. And that is sad for everyone, because they do a lot to combat the disease, and it is pathetic that they will lose money because one woman puts her personal views above her duty to help others. Some Christian.

  • Timmmeeeyyy

    I wrote a check to my local Planned Parenthood yesterday to help them cover the gap in funding. I also wrote to the Northeast chapter of the Komen foundation to let them know that the money I usually give them will now be diverted directly to planned parenthood.

  • the crustybastard

    @Bob: “Every year in my office they make a big deal about raising money strickly for women’s issues and it is a slap in the face to all the men.”

    Men can get breast cancer too, you boob.

  • Bob

    @the crustybastard:
    I am not against this cause in the least, but prostate cancer is just as, or more deadly but since it does not affect women, they totally ignore it. And, it is really a shame that you need to lower yourself to name calling to make your point!

  • the crustybastard


    And it’s a shame you need to resort to misogyny to make yours.

  • RomanHans

    Some of these idiots here remind me of letters in the NY Daily News criticizing Occupy Wall Street folks. “Why don’t they cook food for the poor?” “Why don’t they help old people across the road?” Uh, they’re doing what they think is right. If YOU think something should be done for WHOEVER, shut the fuck up and do it. Don’t raise your pasty pink hand and say, “Hey, breast cancer fighters, why don’t you ever do anything for MEN?”

    (Far stupider, of course, is the moron who hates breast cancer activism because the color pink gives him a headache, but we were already agreed about him, right?)

  • Gay Bacon

    Fine. I think I’ll just walk for Relay for Life only this year.

  • xamthor

    Donate directly to PLanned parenthood & LiveStrong.

  • Queer Supremacist

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Christianity is a cult.

    Most of these “pro-life” breeder goyim would do a 180 if sexual orientation could be detected in the womb. They’d be advocating aborting gay babies like the Chinese abort baby girls. I am pro-abortion and think it should be mandatory in some cases, but if that scenario ever became reality I would support making aborting a gay fetus a hate crime punishable by death.

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