Lizz Winstead: If You Don't Support Health Care For Women, How Can You Call Yourself Pro-Life

David Shuster filling in for Keith Olbermann on Countdown this Wednesday evening spoke to comedian and Daily Show co-creator Lizz Winstead about the dust up with the Susan G. Komen foundation's decision to pull their funding from Planned Parenthood.
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David Shuster filling in for Keith Olbermann on Countdown this Wednesday evening spoke to comedian and Daily Show co-creator Lizz Winstead about the dust up with the Susan G. Komen foundation's decision to pull their funding from Planned Parenthood. Lizz has been out there doing terrific work trying to raise money for Planned Parenthood for some time now and she didn't mince any words when it came to her feelings on the recent assault on the group from the right.

WINSTEAD: Well, I think she said it herself when she was running for governor when she said, "I don't support the mission of Planned Parenthood." And the mission of Planned Parenthood is to provide affordable heath care for low-income women. And, if you don't support that mission, I really don't know how you can call yourself pro-life in the least.

And I think it's very suspect that, within the last year, this woman who was running for governor — who got Sarah Palin's endorsement, she was so conservative that she got the endorsement of Palin, — ran for Governor of Georgia the same year this legislation comes to be in Congress. And Susan Komen's new edict is "we can't support any organization that has legislation before Congress that's investigative."

Where are those dots? How do those connect? It does seem like — conservative person needed to put a piece of legislation in place so that Susan Komen could conveniently withhold their funding. It might sound tinfoil-hat-y. But I would like to, at least, know that there is not connection, or, if there is, I'd like to know that too.

Lizz has a new article in The Guardian with more you can read here -- By defunding Planned Parenthood, the Susan G Komen Foundation betrays women.

Full transcript below the fold.

SHUSTER: Women's health has now become the latest casualty in the right's war against Planned Parenthood.

In our number-one story in the "Countdown" — National breast-cancer organization Susan G. Komen For the Cure announced yesterday that it's breaking off its partnership with reproductive-health center Planned Parenthood. The move will eliminate financial grants for breast-cancer screenings and education programs that hundreds of thousands of low-income and uninsured women rely on at Planned Parenthood health centers around the country.

Komen insists the cut in funding is not political, saying it is merely following a new policy against funding groups under investigation. A congressional audit of Planned Parenthood was launched last September by Republican Representative Cliff Stearns of Florida, to determine whether public money was spent on abortions over the past decade.

Conveniently, the halt of grants to Planned Parenthood comes less than a year after Komen hired its new vice president, Karen Handel. In 2010, Handel launched an aggressively anti-abortion platform in her failed bid for Georgia governor, writing in a campaign blog posted at the time, "Let me be clear, since I am pro-life, I do not support the mission of Planned Parenthood."

Many in the right demonize Planned Parenthood, painting it strictly as a abortion provider to incite anger among pro-life constituents and gain support for federal aid cuts, even though abortions are funded largely through the Title X and the Title 10 and Medicaid programs. Furthermore, according to independent analysis, 90 percent of the services at Planned Parenthood are unrelated to abortion.

Komen's actions spurred fierce responses from some Democrats on the Hill yesterday, with Senator Patty Murray writing in a press release, "At the heart of this issue is the shameful 'investigation' of Planned Parenthood by House Republicans trying to score political points and appease their extreme right-wing base."

Patrick Hurd, CEO of the Planned Parenthood in Southeastern Virginia that receives a Komen grant, and husband of Betsy Hurd, a breast cancer patient, told the AP, "Cancer doesn't care if you're pro-choice, anti-choice, progressive, conservative. Victims of cancer could care less about people's politics."

Let's bring in Lizz Winstead, comedienne, co-creator of "The Daly Show" and author of "Lizz Free or Die" essays. Lizz, we appreciate your time tonight.

LIZZ WINSTEAD: Thanks, David.

SHUSTER: So, many in the right wing are — in the media — the right-wing media are applauding the Komen foundation, included Erick Erickson, CNN contributor and blogger at "Red State."

He wrote yesterday, "As a result of this announcement, the left has gone on the attack," urging readers to send their donation to Komen for cutting off Planned Parenthood funding. What kind of message is the right sending with this sort of reaction?

WINSTEAD: Well, I think she said it herself when she was running for governor when she said, "I don't support the mission of Planned Parenthood." And the mission of Planned Parenthood is to provide affordable heath care for low-income women. And, if you don't support that mission, I really don't know how you can call yourself pro-life in the least.

And I think it's very suspect that, within the last year, this woman who was running for governor — who got Sarah Palin's endorsement, she was so conservative that she got the endorsement of Palin, — ran for Governor of Georgia the same year this legislation comes to be in Congress. And Susan Komen's new edict is "we can't support any organization that has legislation before Congress that's investigative."

Where are those dots? How do those connect? It does seem like — conservative person needed to put a piece of legislation in place so that Susan Komen could conveniently withhold their funding. It might sound tinfoil-hat-y. But I would like to, at least, know that there is not connection, or, if there is, I'd like to know that too.

SHUSTER: Well, and we're not talking about a Justice Department criminal investigation.

WINSTEAD: That's right.

SHUSTER: — civil investigation. It's one Republican in Congress. It's not that difficult to launch an investigation if you're a member of Congress.

WINSTEAD: Well, and the thing is, David, Planned Parenthood — we've seen the assault on Planned Parenthood. They have to submit so much stuff every year. Every year they submit their tax records.

So, basically, what this congressman is doing is forcing Planned Parenthood to re-submit this stuff at the cost of Planned Parenthood and the American taxpayer and that's what's really awful.

SHUSTER: Because of this decision by Komen, their Connecticut affiliate has withdrawn from the national organization. Obviously, yeah, Planned Parenthood is going to recoup. Will Komen recover?

WINSTEAD: I'm not so concerned about Komen. If Komen is making this decision, I really feel like — I'm for Planned Parenthood. I'm pro-Planned Parenthood and what they do. If Komen wants to shoot themselves in the foot —

As a — right before I went on, one of your producers came up to me and said, "Planned Parenthood's raised $650,000 in a 24-hour period." I believe that the Komen grant, last year, was about $680,000 — between $650,000 and $680,000 — I don't know the exact number.

What we need to do now is — I'm tired of waking up every day and having this assault on women's heath care and wondering who we're going to pull the rug out from under today. So, I think this is a wake-up call to all women that supporting women's health care, and affordable women's heath care, is something that we have to do every day. You know, like, wipe our butts and go to the gym.

SHUSTER: Planned Parenthood, as you mentioned — $680,000 last year from Komen, $580,000 the year before. As you just mentioned, they've raised, already, more than that. A lot of folks, though, don't realize that the Komen foundation, in 2010, they raised in over 400 million dollars.

WINSTEAD: $400 million.

SHUSTER: So, in other words, they're cutting off such a small — such a small part of that just to make a political point.

WINSTEAD: Well, the small part is .016, .016 is what they were giving to Planned Parenthood, they cut off to make a political point. I don't know how you can look at this as any other thing but a political point.

You know, this is about breast cancer, this is about making sure that women can be well. How do you say you're pro-life if you are taking away money to help women be well? One hundred and seventy thousand women got breast cancer exams because of the Komen money. Now more will, but it's because women have stepped up and said, "Whoa."

And what's interesting is, I don't make any bones about how I feel politically about things, and I have been very vocal on Twitter, all through the night, actually. I have not gotten one person in my twitter stream — and I always get haters — not one person came in and said, "How dare you, how dare you take on these people?" Because people know.

And, in fact, this documentary, oddly enough, launching tomorrow, that's called, "Pink Ribbon Inc." And it's about looking at corporatization of charity and they have really looked into the Komen foundation and others to see what this is about.

SHUSTER: There are so many women who participate in the Race for the Cure — the march where they put on the pink and we saw the pictures right there. Do you think, perhaps, this an opportunity for Planned Parenthood to remind everybody who participates in this race who says, "Yes, we need more screening, we need more preventative tests," that — well, that's what Planned Parenthood was doing.

WINSTEAD: That's what Planned Parenthood was doing. And they have the facilities to do it, they have the infrastructure to do it. They are already in your neighborhoods and your towns providing it in strategic locations that are accessible to people.

So, to pull it out, where is that money going to go? To more pink toasters? To more awareness campaigns? Guess what? We're aware there's breast cancer, and now we're aware that Susan Komen really doesn't care about finding a cure, they care about finding corporate sponsors to slap that stupid ribbon on.

SHUSTER: Lizz Winstead. Lizz, thank you very much. We appreciate it.

WINSTEAD: Thanks, David.

SHUSTER: Lizz's radio program can be heard on weactradio.com and NDC at 1480AM.

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