Author: has written 5299 posts for this blog.

Jill began blogging for Feministe in 2005. She has since written as a weekly columnist for the Guardian newspaper and in April 2014 she was appointed as senior political writer for Cosmopolitan magazine.
Return to: Homepage | Blog Index

29 Responses

  1. EmmaSofia
    EmmaSofia February 1, 2012 at 2:16 pm |

    Don’t forget NARAL ( — either the national organization or one representing your state. While reproductive rights are their focus, they work on all aspects of women’s health.

  2. Comrade Kevin
    Comrade Kevin February 1, 2012 at 3:44 pm |

    Not that reducing access to a potentially life-saving procedure is a good thing, but I was told that Komen didn’t actually contribute nearly as much money to breast cancer research as it claimed.

    The lack of funding is bad, sure, but when people think they are donating to one cause and instead are having their money put elsewhere…

  3. Codi
    Codi February 1, 2012 at 4:43 pm |

    This isn’t the first time I’ve heard something, let us say, questionable about Komen. So it’s enough for me to not give them ANYTHING or support them in any way. I already donate to Planned Parenthood and will just increase that.

  4. snowe
    snowe February 1, 2012 at 5:59 pm |

    It’s not supporting health for *all* women if trans women are not also served by these clinics.

  5. Donna L
    Donna L February 1, 2012 at 7:39 pm |

    It’s not supporting health for *all* women if trans women are not also served by these clinics.

    Do you know for a fact that Planned Parenthood or any of clinics mentioned at Jill’s link don’t serve trans women? I know that one commenter on the old thread you posted a link to said that Planned Parenthood is supposedly transphobic and butch-phobic based on the experience of someone she knew who apparently worked there, but I’ve certainly never heard or read that that’s their policy in general, or that they don’t serve trans women as clients.

    It’s certainly true that there are women’s clinics and shelters of various kinds that refuse to serve trans women; some of the ones that advertise themselves as trans-friendly, when you look at them more closely, are only talking about trans men. And I know for a fact that there are still clinics in Manhattan that refuse to do mammograms for trans women; the excuse is “we don’t know how to read them.” As if there’s some kind of mysterious, incomprehensible difference and trans women’s breasts come from Mars. (Which they don’t, in case anyone’s seriously wondering.) I don’t think the place where I’ve gotten them is like that, but just in case, I never say anything about my history, and leave the “when was your last period”-type questions blank on the forms, in a way I could always claim was accidental. Not every trans women is fortunate enough to be able to have congruent ID and otherwise be able to do that, though.

  6. Donna L
    Donna L February 1, 2012 at 7:43 pm |

    Sorry for all the typos. I’ve been at my office for the last 33 hours straight.

  7. WitchWolf
    WitchWolf February 1, 2012 at 7:54 pm |

    I just made a donation to Planned Parenthood – Then wrote to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation a note explaining why I won’t make any more donations to them.

    Ms. has a decent article about how Komen is in it for themselves, rather than for women.

  8. DonnaL
    DonnaL February 1, 2012 at 10:20 pm |

    I forgot to mention that I also gave to Planned Parenthood today. I hadn’t ever given to them before, but this whole thing (along with everything else that’s been happening) is really upsetting in so many ways.

  9. Christian
    Christian February 1, 2012 at 11:14 pm |

    While I understand why you’re upset that the Komen Foundation has cut its ties with Planned Parenthood it isn’t obligated to donate money to them. Fighting cancer is a noble endeavor and Komen doesn’t need to give money to Planned Parenthood in order to do something great for society. The fact of the matter is that the money that would have gone to PP will still go towards fighting women’s cancers because that’s what the Komen Foundation does. How exactly is this bad for women’s health?

  10. Vanessa
    Vanessa February 1, 2012 at 11:25 pm |

    It’s not supporting health for *all* women if trans women are not also served by these clinics.

    I do not want to be taken in the wrong way but what services would a trans women need? I’m trying to become a RN and I’m very intrested to know, if you have any websites with other info. I would really like to see them.

  11. Caity
    Caity February 2, 2012 at 12:56 am |

    You guys should see their facebook page. It’s ridiculous—I think they’re deleting some of the negative comments but they just can’t keep up. People are really pissed about this.

  12. Lifting As We Climb
    Lifting As We Climb February 2, 2012 at 2:16 am |

    Definitely need more facts here. Too important for hearsay.

    And I hope we learn what, if any, pressures were brought to bear on Komen.

  13. Justamblingalong
    Justamblingalong February 2, 2012 at 8:14 am |

    I realize I’m really sticking my head in the lion’s mouth here, but isn’t it possible that they believed they’d be able to do more to help women if they provided the same services but with a different partner? I could very easily understand the argument Planned Parenthood was a subject of political controversy and a Congressional investigation, and so it just made more sense to steer clear of the entire issue by partnering with someone else. None of this means Planned Parenthood is bad or that they think it’s not a worthy cause, but simply that their primary goal is providing cancer screenings, and they could do that more easily without dealing with an unrelated political fight. It’s a very pragmatic position, but it’s one which I can understand.

    I don’t know, I get why this upsets people (and frankly, it upsets me that there’s a congressional investigation, period), but I think most of the fault here lies not with Komen, but the people who think Planned Parenthood shouldn’t exist in the first place.

  14. Justamblingalong
    Justamblingalong February 2, 2012 at 8:17 am |

    On the other hand- and I should have said this above- if this means that there are, in fact, there’s just less money being spent on breast cancer screening/research/treatment period, then yeah, it’s pretty inexcusable.

  15. Justamblingalong
    Justamblingalong February 2, 2012 at 8:17 am |

    On the other hand- and I should have said this above- if this means that there is, in fact, just less money being spent on breast cancer screening/research/treatment period, then yeah, it’s pretty inexcusable.

  16. EG
    EG February 2, 2012 at 8:28 am |

    I think most of the fault here lies not with Komen, but the people who think Planned Parenthood shouldn’t exist in the first place.

    It’s no coincidence that one of those people is their new VP for public policy. In 2010 she ran for governor, saying “I will be a pro-life governor who will work tirelessly to promote a culture of life in Georgia…. I believe that each and every unborn child has inherent dignity, that every abortion is a tragedy, and that government has a role, along with the faith community, in encouraging women to choose life in even the most difficult of circumstances…. since I am pro-life, I do not support the mission of Planned Parenthood.”

    The foundation is those people.

  17. Miriam
    Miriam February 2, 2012 at 8:31 am |

    One of my best friends — 35 and unemployed — is going through a breast cancer scare. While our local PP doesn’t do the actual exams, they did do a general physical for free and got her a referral to a clinic that saw my friend and got her a mammogram within 36 hours of her initial call. The relief alone that it was being taken care of was priceless.

    That was *this week* and done by a clinic that is only open 2-3 days a week because the state has gutted their funding for the same anti-choice reasons that Komen made up. PP is getting a hunk of my paycheck.

  18. Emily
    Emily February 2, 2012 at 8:42 am |

    What other organization provides health care to low income women on a semi-national scale? There may be individual local clinics Komen could give the money to, but how are they going to research and find them all? PP is the best way to semi-comprehensively reach a population that has no other access to health care. So I think taking the money from PP absolutely means fewer exams will be available.

  19. jillian
    jillian February 2, 2012 at 11:11 am |

    regarding health services for transgendered folks, there was a group in Washington DC (their building was on U street) that offered a safe space for gyneological care for transgendered men. this was 8+years ago and i dont remember their name. it might be but i dont see those services on the website.

  20. Miriam
    Miriam February 2, 2012 at 11:34 am |

    I realize I’m really sticking my head in the lion’s mouth here, but isn’t it possible that they believed they’d be able to do more to help women if they provided the same services but with a different partner?

    There is evidence that the policy (no partnerships with orgs that are under investigation) was designed to give them an out with PP, an out that they haven’t exercised with several other organizations they partner with that are also under investigation, including several research universities (like Penn State) and Bank of America. That PP is the only organization that has been affected by this very vague policy is instructive.

    Also consider the strategy behind this policy. If all it takes is an investigation to pull funds — not even a finding! and do these investigations have time limits? — all it takes is a little strategic planning to ensure that organizations that are given the side-eye by conservatives are for all intents and purposes shut down financially, indefinitely. Consider as well that PP is audited annually anyway and has never had any findings. The issue for pro-lifers is that PP does abortion at all. The Komen breast screening income stream and the general funding abortion service stream may never cross, but to conservative groups, the funding of the Komen stream for PP means that there is that much more in the abortion service stream to spread around.

  21. IrishUp
    IrishUp February 2, 2012 at 11:51 am |

    Here are some organizations that deal with trans* health information and services

    Project HEALTH:

    Vancouver Ca CostalHealth Transgender Health Guidelines:
    (pdfs available).

    NRC on LGBT Aging

    I have learned a lot from these people who’ve shared their experiences in health care settings and their perspectives:




  22. Justamblingalong
    Justamblingalong February 2, 2012 at 12:15 pm |

    Those two things aren’t separable, though. Komen hired a virulently anti-PP Vice President.

    I didn’t know that, and that definitely alters my perspective. Thanks for letting me know.

  23. Donna L
    Donna L February 2, 2012 at 12:43 pm |

    Vanessa, I would also recommend the Callen-Lorde center in New York. They offer fantastic services to LGBT folks, and are also very focused in low-income and immigrant communities in NYC. I’ve had great experiences with them

    Perhaps not surprisingly, I’ve been a patient at Callen-Lorde since 2002, several years before my transition. They certainly have more trans patients than any other health clinic on at least the East Coast of the U.S., and I’ve got nothing but positive things to say about the providers there; they were the first place — the first people, really — ever to interact with me in a positive, affirming way. In fact, if you look at their Spring 2004 newsletter, at , you’ll see that it actually has a short article about a letter I wrote to them expressing my appreciation for how they treated me. (See p. 4, the piece about “Donna — one of our patients of transgender experience,” and the Director’s Note about it in the far right column of p. 1. They actually used some quotes from me, uncredited, in their fundraising materials for a few years after that!)

    But that doesn’t change the fact that if you need a mammogram or any other test or procedure done beyond a simple blood test, they still have to refer you to a diagnostic/radiology clinic. And it doesn’t change the fact that — as my own doctor at Callen-Lorde first informed me — there are places like that, even in the middle of New York City, that refuse to treat trans women for purported reasons like the excuse I mentioned above,

  24. Caperton
    Caperton February 2, 2012 at 12:49 pm | *

    The New York Times had a quote from a Komen board member about the motivations behind passing the new rule.

    John D. Raffaelli, a Komen board member and Washington lobbyist, said Wednesday that the decision to cut off money to 17 of the 19 Planned Parenthood affiliates it had supported was made because of the fear that an investigation of Planned Parenthood by Representative Cliff Stearns, Republican of Florida, would damage Komen’s credibility with donors.

    … “People don’t understand that a Congressional investigation doesn’t necessarily mean a problem of substance,” Mr. Raffaelli said. “When people read about it in places like Texarkana, Tex., where I’m from, it sounds really bad.”

    So the Komen board voted that all of its vendors and grantees must certify that they are not under investigation by federal, state, or local authorities. But for Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider, being the target of partisan investigation is part of doing business. So Komen’s new rule effectively ended their longtime partnership and seemed to the health services provider an unacceptable betrayal of their common mission to save women’s lives.

    … When Komen’s board voted on the policy, several members asked who would be affected by the new policy. Elizabeth Thompson, Komen’s president, said, according to Mr. Raffaelli, “Planned Parenthood is the only one we know of. If we find others, those would be impacted, too.”

    So basically, they passed the rule to give themselves an excuse to de-fund Planned Parenthood. And for some mysterious reason, PP has been the only organization snagged.

  25. Donna L
    Donna L February 2, 2012 at 12:56 pm |

    PS: advance apologies to the Hari B.’s out there for “trans-jacking” another thread with unimportant comments about the implications of all of this for trans women (and for trans men, many of whom need to utilize such resources and services too). Not that I was the first to bring the subject up here, any more than I ever have in any other thread.

    Going back to Susan G. Komen, I find the whole business very upsetting on a personal level too, because when I looked at the list of women on the SGK Board of Directors, at, I realized that I actually used to know, rather well, one of the conservative, anti-abortion SGK Board members. And I liked her, even though I always knew her politics were very different from mine. Long ago and in another lifetime, I was her husband’s best man (allegedly!) at their wedding. We lost touch (or they lost touch with me, to be entirely accurate) after I transitioned. Still, it’s causing me a lot of cognitive dissonance. It’s always been very hard for me to understand (emotionally if not intellectually) how it’s possible that intelligent people whom I liked that much could be so wrongheaded — and, in this case, could do so much obvious harm.

  26. Amanda in the South Bay
    Amanda in the South Bay February 2, 2012 at 1:04 pm |

    I am a trans woman who has always relied on PP for primary and transition related healthcare since I started transitioning. I have had two really good doctors, and at least around where I live there’s definitely an awareness of trans health issues.

  27. Komen for the Cure Hates Women. Apparently. « Democrazy

    […] the women’s health organization has been thoroughly denounced as putting “so-called “pro-life” values ahead of actual women’s lives” and promoting hostility towards women and female sexuality. I’ve never paid much […]

Comments are closed.

The commenting period has expired for this post. If you wish to re-open the discussion, please do so in the latest Open Thread.