My godfather, the Reverend Carl Flemister, was the Executive Director of Planned Parenthood in New York City in the years when I was growing up. His association with the program seemed to me then, and still seems to me, such an honorable and altruistic use of his considerable talents and connections. I remember growing up with the understanding that “Uncle Buddy” would make sure that, in his city at least, women were supported; that women in New York would have important resources at their disposal; and that it was considered important that women have a voice in the direction of their lives.
Mostly, I grew up with the understanding that caring for women’s health was on the radar, and that Planned Parenthood was a part of this.
It was a child’s understanding, of course, based on a child’s view of the world. Still, it felt like a slap to hear that the Susan G Komen for the Cure foundation–leaders, as they have been, in raising awareness of breast cancer, pink ribbons everywhere–had decided to cut off all funding for Planned Parenthood’s breast cancer screening and education programs. What could the foundation be thinking? And whatever infighting it is succumbing to, why should the women who need these services be the ones to pay the price?