Susan G. Komen’s “Abortionplex” PR Nightmare

Planned Parenthood supporters.
Planned Parenthood supporters. Credit: Wikipedia.

By Juliana Jiménez

I wasn’t planning on writing about Susan G. Komen‘s defunding of Planned Parenthood, nor about the ensuing public outcry and media criticism, nor about the embarrassing but awesome backtrack. But then I had to, more as a guide to what’s being said about it, which is a lot.

This International Herald Tribune article, from the Female Factor series, does a great job of summarizing and offering a global perspective, noting that,

Abortion, a polarizing topic that provokes little debate in Europe, stirs up bitter and sometimes violent debate that has been raging for decades in the United States.”

The motive behind the defunding was debunked in several media, like in this Slate article, and in this The Atlantic article covering the resignation of one of Komen’s top officials over the debacle, noting that Komen

… says it cut off Planned Parenthood because of a newly adopted foundation rule prohibiting it from funding any group that is under formal investigation by a government body (Planned Parenthood is being investigated by Rep. Cliff Stearns, an anti-abortion Florida Republican, who says he is trying to learn if the group spent public money to provide abortions).

Komen wanted to avoid controversy by defunding PP. But that was exactly what it got, controversy, and tons of attention, and not of the good kind. The public outcry was outstanding, and actually forced them to backtrack, although not in time to save face.

Susan G. Komen's supposed pink hand gun.
Susan G. Komen's supposed pink hand gun. Credit: Wikipedia.

Gawker then got the story that Komen was offering discounted pink hand-guns as PR clean-up. Or maybe not, because right away, they deny it on the Huffington Post, saying

We do not have partnerships with any firearms manufacturer. Nor does our Seattle Affiliate receive donations from this manufacturer,” said Andrea Rader, who works in the public relations department at Komen. “As you noted, they even got the name of our organization wrong.”

OK, this is getting weird. We might not be seeing too many pink ribbons next Cancer Awareness month.

The funny thing is, after Komen announced its defunding decision, Planned Parenthood received $3 million in donations, and, according to NPR,

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, for one, pledged up to $250,000 of his own money to the organization to help make up for the money for breast cancer screening.

This timeless Stephen Colbert Planned Parenthood video from April last year channels the hilarity that is the “Planned Parenthood Abortion Myth.”

The best representative of this conservative paranoia is Sen. Jon Kyl, Republican from Arizona, who famously said that over 90% of what PP does are abortions, when it’s actually about 3%.

But nobody does it like The Onion does it, on this great sneak-peek into PP’s fictitious $8-billion “Abortionplex“. Now the more hilarious part of this, is that Republican Louisiana Rep. John Fleming thought the Abortionplex story was real. Though the story is old, from May 2011, and though he’s not the first to fall for an Onion article, we would expect more from a member of Congress. About 50 years ago. The Atlantic Wire story shows how he just casually posted it in his Facebook, not even particularly outraged, but just as a very fitting part of the abortion horror movie narrative. The Onion people must be proud.

If neither “factual statements”, nor over-the-top satire dissuade Congress Republicans from their Planned Parenthood abortion paranoia, who knows what will.

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