A MoveOn Petition, And a Really Tiny Protest, Outside Komen's LBJ Headquarters Today

Categories: Events, News

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Photo by Anna Merlan
It probably hasn't escaped the Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation's notice that an awful lot of people are very, very unhappy with the organization lately. Just to drive the point home a little further, reps from MoveOn.org, CREDO Action and UltraViolet announced they'd be hand-delivering a MoveOn petition to the Komen HQ today around noon. Yes, Komen has announced they will "continue to fund existing grants" and "preserve eligibility for future grants," including Planned Parenthood's. And yes, Karen Handel, Komen's vocally anti-Planned Parenthood senior VP for public policy, just announced that she's out. But a tiny, vocal group of protesters -- mainly composed of ladies in the 55-and-up age group -- still gathered outside Komen's LBJ office, many of them holding purple signs that read "Shame on Komen" and "Planned Parenthood Saves Lives." They were outnumbered by police, building security officers and press, who lined up on the grassy median across the street from the building.

"We're thrilled Handel has stepped aside," Dawn Mefert, a MoveOn volunteer told us. But Komen still has a lot of work to do "to repair their brand's standing within the female community," she said. "If you look online, a lot of women are saying they won't give another dime to Komen." And MoveOn wants a commitment that the organization will continue to fund Planned Parenthood not just this year, but into the future.

"They haven't committed beyond 2012," Mefert said. "They're saying Planned Parenthood can reapply, but they haven't committed to funding that application." Many of the women present said they had given money to Komen and participated in walks, runs and marches for years, but that the past several weeks had left them uncertain that they'd continue to do so.

"I'm conflicted about it," said Cynthia Beard. "This has really raised a lot of issues."

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Athena Chavez of MoveOn tried to deliver the petitions. But Komen wouldn't take them. She could have just handed them to the press.
Pat Hale, a MoveOn volunteer from Fort Worth, was part of a group of five women who showed up at Komen's offices this morning, wanting to deliver the petition -- signed by 850,000 people -- in person. "They told us we couldn't come in," she said. "Then the cop cars started showing up."

"It was five little old ladies," she said chuckling. "And five police cars. I said, 'Oh my goodness, they got one for each of us." They were asked to leave the building, she said. "It's been a long time since I've been kicked out of anywhere."

Eventually, it was determined that Athena Chavez, the regional coordinator of the Fort Worth MoveOn council, would be allowed to put the petitions on the back of a security guard's golf cart. She carried them over the cart in silence, surrounded by a ring of press guys snapping photo and video. She gravely deposited the petitions onto the golf cart, then went upstairs with Tina Penney, another MoveOn member, to meet with PR reps from Komen.

"Check to see what's inside 'em," a guy in a sweater-vest muttered to a security guard, pointing at the boxes. Bryant Hilton, a "private communications consultant" not employed by Komen, scurried out to make nice with the remaining protesters. "The personally who normally does this is in D.C. right now," he told us.

"Isn't there a woman who could speak for Komen?" Kris Martin asked Hilton. She held a whiteboard with the words "No Politics W/ My Body - Komen, Austin or D.C." Hilton laughed uncomfortably and didn't reply.

The group moved back across the street to wait for the other MoveOn members to emerge. A cadre of building security officers stood on the steps and watched them go.

"I think there are more media people than protesters," John Ramsey, the building's
general manager, told us. He denied the protesters had been asked to leave the lobby. "I would've heard about that." We asked if he'd heard about the Occupy Dallas protest of Komen planned for Thursday. He had. He asked, a little worriedly, if we thought many people would show up for that one. We told him we didn't know.

Thirty minutes passed, and finally Chavez and Morris emerged.

"We had a very nice meeting," Chavez told the group. "They talked about the process for funding and the challenges and issues they deal with."

"Did they commit to future funding for Planned Parenthood?" someone asked.

"They're not ready to make any hard and fast statements," Chavez replied. "They have a process they go through to decide where funds go."

"So does my pocketbook," a protester replied with grim satisfaction.



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21 comments
Mister_Mean
Mister_Mean

So the Tal-i-ban-Repub-li-cans are upset that Koman reversed it’s poorly conceived decision regarding Planed Parenthood and that Karen Handel resigned (she should have been fired and  those who hired her too).    

In respect to this whole mess I will never contribute another dime to Koman and will protest to my city council whenever they have a march through my neighborhood as they have shown themselves to be more of a political orginisation (kowtowing to the Republican extremists) as opposed to focusing on woman’s health issues.   They have lost credibility with me.   As far as those Tal-i-ban-Repub-li-cans who are bemoaning the turnaround:  Let them fart fire and brimstone for all I care.

Teaparty Tom
Teaparty Tom

We would not need the police or the clinic if wimens would stay in the kitchen where they belong

Albert
Albert

Planned Parenthood performs an abortion every 95 seconds (2009 figures).

The devastating loss of Komen funding might knock that back to one abortion every 98 seconds.

Kinda makes you wonder why there aren't thousands protesting.

Albert
Albert

Loss of $700,000 out of a $90,000,000 budget = Coat hangars.

Dave Zappa
Dave Zappa

I really like the Idea that finally women who protest got proper recognition, I mean a Police escort for each one of the five "Little Old Ladies". I am proud to pay taxes to give women that speak out that kind of respect, as FIERCE as i am sure they were!!! You go Girls!And I ain't giving SGK another cent, they are not to be trusted...

nomorepink
nomorepink

Yes, I took care of women in the emergency room in Chicago and the gynecology clinic in the 50's and early 60's with massive infections before Roe V. Wade.  Antibiotics saved some but not all.

For that matter so did my Mother in Philadelphia in 1935-1938.  No antibiotics then so the infections often went to septicemia and death.

Guest
Guest

They haven't said they will stop defunding stem cell research!  thanks to these women for being there today...and yes 55-60 year old's is kind, but we remember the days before Roe vs. Wade.  Many of us had friends die.

Mister_Mean
Mister_Mean

Oh yes I forgot to mention my contribution to Planned Parenthood too as a result of this.

guest
guest

What a sad little creature you are.

Paul
Paul

Taking your statistic at face value, this is 332,185 abortions per year.

Data from the US Census Department (which is most probably the most objective party in tabulating the data) shows that 1,211,500 abortions were performed in the US.

This would mean that PP is performing about 27% of all abortions in the US.

Who is performing the other 73% or so; and, from where do they receive their funding?

Also according to the US Census Department, approximately 2% of all women have an abortion performed.

Is the need for the abortions due to statistical failure of preconception contraceptives or by the lack of contraception?

If it is due to lack of contraception, I would say that the funds would be better spent on providing contraceptives and on basic sex education.

PS:  I do not want to get into an argument about abortion.  I am presenting some factual statistical data to show how skewed from reality some arguments are.

Guest
Guest

State your source.  I can make up fancy slogans too but the facts work well for me.

Guest
Guest

the money from Komen was never used for abortions.

James the P3
James the P3

Fair enough.  But at the same time, the "Hands Off My Body" sign doesn't make sense when it's held by a post-menopausal woman.

Terrycart
Terrycart

 That is terrible and darkness, really hell there!

Albert
Albert

Funds are fungible.

guest
guest

I was one of the women at the protest - way under 55-65 years of age, and I'm not post-menopausal. I'm glad she was holding that sign. You're a really funny guy.

Paul
Paul

 That would be 3.0% not 30% ...

Albert
Albert

Just the equivalent of one Cincinnati a year.

scottindallas
scottindallas

 amazing that that number of abortions only amounts to 30% of the care they deliver.

Albert
Albert

The sign is meaningless if you really think about it.

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