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Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2012

Issue of the Week: Politicizing Cancer

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We applaud Susan G. Komen for the Cure's decision to restore funding for Planned Parenthood's breast cancer screenings, although we'd like more clarity on its future funding plans. We also support the resignation of Karen Handel, the Komen executive (and former Sarah Palin-endorsed anti-abortion candidate for Georgia governor) who many see as instigating this whole affair.

That said, we think that this controversy never should have happened in the first place.

Breast cancer does not discriminate. Survivors come from all walks of life and no one who seeks diagnosis or treatment should face undo barriers. Unfortunately, Komen's original decision to withhold funding from Planned Parenthood would have harmed women who are trying to preserve their health. And no matter how Komen tried to spin its decision, the controversy showed that this supposedly nonpolitical, unbiased organization was being used as a tool in the anti-abortion movement.

It's also disappointing that Gov. Scott Walker's administration opposes Planned Parenthood and undermines the good work that the organization does to promote women's health. Walker's budget bill eliminated state funds for cancer screenings, colonoscopies, health exams, birth control and STD and pregnancy testing at Planned Parenthood clinics. It also terminated a contract Planned Parenthood had to coordinate breast and cervical cancer screenings in four Fox Valley counties.

The administration's opposition to Planned Parenthood is utterly political and has the potential to harm the health of women—primarily low-income and young women. We hope that the governor follows Komen's lead and reverses his decision to undermine the cancer screenings provided by Planned Parenthood. Cancer doesn't discriminate. So why does the governor?

Heroes of the Week
: Milwaukee Community Service Corps Volunteers

Rooted in the tradition of the Civilian Conservation Corps and Works Progress Administration of the 1930s, the Milwaukee Community Service Corps (1441 N. Seventh St.) is a nonprofit organization that provides training for employment, education and life skills to young adults in Milwaukee.

It is one of the nation's few urban youth corps providing at-risk youth with opportunities to learn new skills, earn a wage, acquire a driver's license, serve their community, obtain a high-school equivalency diploma and prepare themselves for post-corps college or trade apprenticeships. Volunteers donate their time serving on one of the group's four committees or working directly with corps members on community projects such as construction, landscaping and environmental cleanup.

Individuals wishing to donate their time and talents to help at-risk area youth are encouraged to inquire about volunteer opportunities via the group's website, www.milwaukeecommunityservicecorps.org.

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