The Stages of Grief: Processing the Loss of Komen

Pat Paluzzi

My first reaction to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation announcement to de-fund Planned Parenthood was sadness. How could such a significant women’s organization turn on another significant women’s organization? Yet more politics on the backs of women—Komen, really?

I have supported both of these organizations fully throughout my life—I am a survivor and I have worked for the local Planned Parenthood on more than one occasion and therefore have firsthand knowledge of ALL the good work they do, including some 750,000 annual breast exams to women who might otherwise go without. So I initially tried to deny it was true, quickly followed by grief, then anger, and now acceptance. Komen will never receive my support again. Even with their decision to restore funding to Planned Parenthood, I am left with sadness, as if I have lost a friend.

How does one recover from such a sense of betrayal? Who will politics not touch? Who might turn on us next and how can we prevent it? Perhaps some collective grief counseling is in order!

Pat Paluzzi, DrPH, is President/CEO of Healthy Teen Network.

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