Friday, February 03, 2012

Komen site hacked after Planned Parenthood cuts

Never anger a hacker, at least unless you have really tight security on your website. Susan G. Komen for the Cure, which earlier this week announced it was cutting funds for to Planned Parenthood, which PP uses for breast cancer education awareness, screenings and mammogram referrals, saw its site hacked earlier this week.

For a short time, a banner on the Susan G. Komen website was changed from "help us get 26.2 or 13.1 miles closer to a world without breast cancer" to "help us run over poor women on our way to the bank."

The comparative screenshots can be seen above. It's unclear who hacked the site, as it hasn't been "claimed" by any hacker group (such as Anonymous).

Although the hacking probably didn't affect Komen, much, criticism appears to have done so. On Friday, after much criticism that their decision had been politically motivated, Susan G. Komen for the Cure reversed its decision, and said it will again provide funds to Planned Parenthood.

Three days after its initial decision, a statement from CEO Nancy Brinker said the foundation had changed its mind. The statement said,

“We want to apologize to the American public for recent decisions that cast doubt upon our commitment to our mission of saving women’s lives. The events of this week have been deeply unsettling for our supporters, partners and friends and all of us at Susan G. Komen."

While Susan G. Komen for the Cure denied the decision was political in nature, Nancy Brinker, founder and CEO of Susan G. Komen for the Cure is a conservative, and Karen Handel, who was hired by Komen last year as vice president for public policy was reported to have been a large force behind the changes. Information on Handel's role was given to MSNBC by an anonymous source in the organization.

Handel, a conservative, was hired after losing a campaign for governor in Georgia. During her campaign she stressed her anti-abortion views and frequently denounced Planned Parenthood.

Planned Parenthood does indeed perform abortions, but it does far more than just abortions, including 750,000 breast cancer screenings in 2011. Key to those screenings is that they are often done for the poor and disenfranchised.

In other words, if their action had stood, Komen might have sentenced many women to death by the very disease they have sworn to fight. Of course, as conservatives, both Brinker and Handel may not care all that much --- it's apparent from their positions they are in the One Percent, and it's the 99 Percent of Occupy Wall Street who would be affected.

Despite Komen's statement that the change was not politically motivated, quite a few people were of the opinion that it was. An example from New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, who said on Thursday he would donate $250,000 of his own money to help make up the difference, after Komen said it was halting Planned Parenthood funding:

"Politics have no place in health care. Breast cancer screening saves lives and hundreds of thousands of women rely on Planned Parenthood for access to care. We should be helping women access that care, not placing barriers in their way."

It's good to see Komen reverse their decision. Comments on their Facebook page, which had been strongly critical prior to the reversal are now more positive, although some say they will still not contribute to Komen ever again.

How the fallout affects them long-term remains to be seen.

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