MERCURY: When did you hear about Komen's reversal and what was your first reaction?
DAVID GREENBERG: Well, actually, it's not necessarily a reversal. This morning I woke up to the news that the national Komen Foundation had apologized to the American people and said they would reconsider their funding policy—but they didn't say they would reinstate the money, so I think American women are going to be watching to see what they really do.
This has been a rough year for Planned Parenthood politically, why do you think you've become such a political target, recently?
Well I believe that there are the same political motivations for going after Planned Parenthood through Komen or through Congress, it's the same right wing radical folks who are trying to hurt this organization because of the their political motivations.
But Planned Parenthood has been doing this work for decades. What's changed that you're in the spotlight so much this year?
Planned Parenthood has been around for almost 100 years. The very beginning of Planned Parenthood, Margaret Sanger, who started this organization, was thrown in jail for simply talking about birth control. She published a pamphlet and sent it through the mail, so she was prosecuted for that. When she came to speak in Portland, she was thrown in jail here, as well. While it looked like the debate after Roe in 1973 was about abortion, it always was about rights for women. It was about their right to know about birth control, it was about their right to have access to the information, to delay pregnancy or prevent pregnancies they don't want. What we've seen in the last year is a more blatant return to challenging women in this country, whether it's birth control or breast exams, in some way it's a return to the original social justice issued that Margaret Sanger stood for 100 years ago.
In what ways has Planned Parenthood changed its political strategy to counter the recent attacks?
It's been remarkable this last year, how people all over the US have organized themselves to say, "We want to put healthcare before politics." It's not Planned Parenthood changing its tactics, it's millions of people taking a stand. And thousands of people in this community; I've gotten dozens of emails since the Komen decision, our national organization has gotten literally millions of contacts from supporters. It's reminded us that we each have some connection to breast cancer. My mom is a breast cancer survivor, each family has a story.
Why doesn't Planned Parenthood here get funding from Komen? And did you play a role in getting the local Komen affiliate to come out against the decision?
I don't know why we don't get funding from them, the Planned Parenthood in Eugene also does not get funding from Komen and I'm not sure why. But as for their decision, I was just thrilled about that. I reached out several times to the local Komen group, to their board members, because I've been trying to find a way to partner more closely with them. I was pleasantly surprised and applaud their courage for taking that stand, even before the national group made their reversal decision.
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