Let me start by telling you a story about a woman raising four children on her own, who re-entered the workforce after several years away. The only jobs she could get involved slightly better than minimum wage, and certainly didn’t offer health insurance. She goes several years without seeing a doctor for even a yearly exam, but faithfully does her breast self-exams monthly.
Then one week, in the shower, she feels something. About a nickel in size, but perceptible, a lump in her left breast. With a lump in her throat, she drives her children to school, puts herself through the paces at work, all the while wondering if she’s just discovered something that will cause her to miss graduations, weddings, births of grandbabies. In a panic, she calls her old OB/GYN at lunch. The nurse that returns her call, good soul that she is, helped her get an appointment at a local Planned Parenthood office.
It was there, in addition to her first pap smear in years, that they checked her lump, and performed a mammogram. They helped her get a biopsy, which thankfully assured her it was just a lump, and not something more nefarious.
But what if that resource wasn’t available? What if it hadn’t been “nothing?” Well, my mom would’ve missed my graduation, for one. She would’ve left four children bereft of parents.
And yet, somewhere out there, in the next year or so, a woman in this predicament will choose to ignore that lump she felt, because she has no health insurance. She might have gone to Planned Parenthood before, but now that Susan G. Komen has caved to political pressure, a partnership that worked well for years to provide low-income and uninsured women basic health care has been dissolved. Will she have the time and the wherewithal to look for another clinic offering breast cancer screenings and mammograms? Will she still catch that cancerous lump before it invades more of her body?
I sure as hell hope so. But let me point this out: Right now, I am a woman with health insurance. Tomorrow, if I found a lump in my breast, I could call my OB/GYN and get an appointment within a week. I would not have to go to one place for my pap smear and another for a mammogram. I wouldn’t have to call around and search for a provider. I wouldn’t have to scour the Internet looking for a clinic. I wouldn’t have to stare intently at DART’s schedule to figure out the easiest bus/train combo to get there. And I wouldn’t have to wait all day to be seen.
So I find it fundamentally unfair that a woman without insurance must do so much to get even the most basic of health care.
Perhaps, in the long run, Susan G. Komen really only cares for people who can afford to buy the overpriced pink crap hocked at every single store in the area.
So now I will begin looking for a charity or foundation to support that funds research on women’s health without political bias (so far, I’ve found one – The Society for Women’s Health Research, but I need to look at it closer). I will also take a good, hard look at this list of corporate sponsors, and shop wisely when I can (and yeah, I know that eliminates a ton of restaurants thanks to Brinker International’s inclusion on the list).
And let me make this crystal clear, for those who insist that they’re saving countless unborn babies with the decision: The Komen grants never went to fund abortion. If you’ve ever worked with a nonprofit at all, you’d know that grants for specific things must be used on those things. If you get a grant for breast cancer screenings and mammograms, then you must use those funds for that. With most grants given to organizations who provide several different services, there are audits to make sure that grant money is being used for the specific program that applied for it.
So no, it didn’t save any unborn babies. But it will likely cost the lives of many uninsured, low-income mothers.