Yesterday afternoon it was announced that the nation’s leading breast-cancer charity, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, made the decision to cut all funding to Planned Parenthood. Within just hours, both Susan G and Planned Parenthood were trending on Twitter, and a war unlike any we’ve seen in a while erupted across the Internet. The massive cut in funding will mean a loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants that help Planned Parenthood pay for breast exams. According to NPR, Koman states they’ve cut funding because Planned Parenthood is under investigation in Congress, an investigation started by a conservative Republican who was urged to act by anti-abortion groups. Planned Parenthood thinks the funding cuts were purely due to Komen failing to stand up to the pressure placed on them by anti-abortion activists.Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.
Early afternoon, soon after the news hit, Planned Parenthood sent out an email to their supporters that called the decision, “Deeply disappointing and alarming.” The email goes on to read, in part:
“Over the past five years, Komen funds have enabled Planned Parenthood health centers to provide nearly 170,000 clinical breast exams and referrals for more than 6,400 mammograms. These cancer detection and prevention programs saved the lives of women who often had nowhere else to turn for care… Politically motivated groups and individuals determined to undermine women’s access to care appear to have successfully intimidated the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation to withdraw this critical support.”
Cecile Richards, Planned Parenthood president told The New York Times that “The decision came abruptly in the face of a long, good, working relationship with Komen,” so I guess everyone was surprised, Planned Parenthood included. It’s hard to know why Komen really pulled funding, or if they even have an actual viable reason. Komen, thus far, has no official statement posted at their website. A bad press move in my opinion, because right now they’re seriously under attack. Of course, what could Komen say in their defense. We are talking about a breast cancer advocacy group who partnered with KFC and other seriously unhealthy companies, so I guess I’m not as shocked as I could be.
In any case, women’s groups everywhere are speaking out about this decision, most in favor of Planned Parenthood and they’re not being shy about handing out plenty of critical comments aimed at Komen. One thing is for sure, if Komen has caved to anti-abortion pressure, the message this sends is horrifying. If you’re not rich enough or lucky enough to have great health insurance and if you’re not a conservative, you’d better not even think about getting breast cancer or needing assistance for a screening. Komen’s race for a cure has sadly become a race only for women who can afford it.
If you’d like to help keep breast cancer screenings and breast education a viable option for women everywhere, no matter their financial situation or belief system, you can make a donation at Planned Parenthood. Better yet, tell Komen that you don’t think it’s right to pull breast cancer screening funds from women who need them. This is no way to support women or a search for a cure.
Lead image by Fifth World Art via Flickr