Posted by on February 3, 2012 - 1:06pm

You’ve heard it before, but it’s a cliché that has earned its place: breast cancer knows no boundaries.  It affects all women – of all ethnicities, young or old, blue collar and professional.  Cancer doesn’t care where you worship, who you love, or how you vote.  Over 30 years ago I served for 13 years as the first executive director of a Chicago based breast cancer support organization called Y-ME.   Today, the Y-ME National Breast Cancer Organization is the largest breast cancer support organization in the U.S.

Recent news has had breast cancer organizations  answering a few questions about their political agenda.   For Y-ME,  the answer is: they don’t have one.  Instead, they have a mission, and a simple one: to assure that no one faces breast cancer alone.  No one.  They do this through the 24/7/365 toll-free hotline (1-800-221-2141).  They also have a website.

Y-ME does not care about your color, your insurance, your background, your voting record.  They care that you need someone to talk to, someone who understands.  When you have questions about breast cancer, you need information you can count on from someone you can trust.

The women who staff the Y-ME Hotline are a microcosm of all women and they all have been diagnosed with breast cancer at some time in their lives!!.   They are trained to provide easy-to-understand information about the complex topic of breast cancer diagnosis and treatment.   They are trained not to let their personal biases affect their job or their opinion of the women they speak to through the Hotline.

If the current political flap has you concerned, remember, there are others out there who truly are lifelines for women with breast cancer and I hope you continue to support them!.

Posted by on April 11, 2011 - 3:01pm

The White House and Congress have reached a budget deal over last weekend to keep the federal government running for the short term. Congress is expected to vote on the longer-term budget soon.  Women's health and reproductive health was taken off the table for the short term solution, however, these issues are likely to rise when Congress begins debating long term budget solutions.  Here's the issue:

Conservatives (mainly Republicans)  have been pushing to strip federal funding from Planned Parenthood during the budget talks.  In addition, they want to redirect federal dollars now set aside for family planning and women's health services into block grants to be managed by the states. Democrats argue this policy change would give governors and state legislatures more ability to cut funding for services opposed by conservatives.  For those of you who may not understand the political implications of federal vs state funding policies, consider this.   If one state is socially liberal and is next to a more conservative state, there is a real possibility that more poverty stricken individuals will consider moving to a state with more liberal assistance programs, thus increasing the burden on the state that is more "giving".   This creates a two tiered system of entitlement and in the end creates further divisiveness.

I looked up the services provided by Planned Parenthood in my home state of Illinois.   In 2009, 70,738 people received STD testing (includes both women and men), 24,055 women had PAP tests, 26,579 had breast exams, and 54,470 were seen for birth control.  More than 95% of those served earned less than $21,000 per year.   Who do you think would be hurt most if Planned Parenthood lost their funding?