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Since the Komen debacle began, I've commented in a couple of other diaries that I was a longtime supporter who was through with them. I've raised a lot of money for Komen (at least, it's a lot of money by my standards) by running the Race for the Cure every year* for almost 15 years.

But most of it wasn't my money. It was money I solicited from friends, relatives, colleagues and co-workers. They were my sponsors: I promised to run, they promised to lend material support for my cause. So, when this story got so big that it was plain everyone was aware of it, not just us political junkies, I knew I had to answer to them. I did that earlier today:

Dear friends and supporters,

Breast cancer has no politics.

For more than a decade, I have been known as an active supporter of the Susan G. Komen Foundation. This commitment arose from deeply emotional personal events. I have solicited sponsorship from you for my annual participation in their Race for the Cure, and many of you have responded with great generosity. Over the years, we raised over $10,000 dollars intended for breast cancer research, screening and treatment.

 While doing this, I was aware that the founder and CEO of Komen, Nancy Brinker, is a prominent Republican and Bush Administration appointee. I am an outspoken Democrat, but I always felt that this was a cause that transcended ideology, and willingly put my partisanship aside in the interest of pursuing a greater good together. I have no regrets for having made that effort, and I don't think you should, either. We can be reasonably sure that, on the whole, we did good, not harm.

Breast cancer has no politics.

What many of you may not know is that I have a far longer history with Planned Parenthood. As a teenage college student with little money or privacy, I had my first gynecological exam and received my first contraceptive prescription from Planned Parenthood. It was free and confidential, and I was treated with respect. For enabling me to make the transition to womanhood with confidence about my health and my future, I will always be grateful to them. 45 years later, they continue to pursue their mission, providing millions of women, mostly young and poor or uninsured, with a full range of women's health services. I wholeheartedly support that mission.

In light of the Komen Foundation's recent decision to defund Planned Parenthood, its obviously political motivation, and their clumsy and disingenuous attempts at managing the nationwide public outrage that followed, I find that can no longer associate myself with them. I make this decision despite the fact that Komen has reversed themselves and will continue to fund Planned Parenthood, at least for now. Revelations about the hiring of Karen Handel, former gubernatorial candidate from Georgia and avowed enemy of Planned Parenthood, and the involvement in that hiring by Ari Fleischer, George W. Bush's press secretary, have destroyed my trust in them. They also directly conflict with my commitment to the advancement of women's health.

Breast cancer has no politics.

I plan to continue that commitment, and will be researching to find a breast cancer organization that I can support with confidence. It is essential that my efforts, and your contributions, will be put to our intended purpose and no other. I will keep you informed of my progress, and I hope you will continue to support my advocacy. If you would like to discuss this decision with me in greater detail, I would welcome that. Feel free to contact me.

Breast cancer has no politics.

Best regards,
sidnora

The thing is, not all my sponsors are liberals; not all of them are political. One of them is the owner of the company I work for; another is my boss. Some are Republicans. So, rather than turning a verbal blowtorch on Komen (which is an understandable temptation), I was forced to try to explain my decision in terms that they all could relate to.

It's only been about six hours since I sent it out, but I have been overwhelmed by the messages of support I've received in return. A number of them asked if it would be OK for them to forward or post it, so I thought it might be useful if I posted it here. Feel free to "borrow" whatever you find that's useful.

* except for one year. If you've been around here a long time, you may remember this. Scroll down until you see me.

4:35 PM PT: The Rec List? Oh my goodness, thank you!

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