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January 31, 2012

Susan G. Komen for the Cure Cuts Ties With Planned Parenthood

The news broke today that Susan G. Komen for the Cure has decided to stop providing grants to Planned Parenthood for breast cancer screenings.

Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the ubiquitous charity dedicated to fighting breast cancer, is cancelling hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of grants to Planned Parenthood that help pay for cancer screenings, the Associated Press reported on Tuesday.

Komen has been under pressure from anti-abortion groups to drop its funding for Planned Parenthood, which received $680,000 from the anti-cancer group in 2011. Most recently, abortion foes forced a Christian publisher to stop printing pink Komen bibles and pressured bookstores to take them off the shelves. Groups have also called on supporters to boycott Komen entirely, and decried the group as a "lie from the pit of Hell." But Komen says the anti-abortion groups' activism didn't play a role in its decision, which it claims is the result of a new internal policy forbidding it from funding for any organization that's currently under investigation in Congress. (Planned Parenthood is the target of a congressional investigation, but that probe is led by an anti-abortion lawmaker who has sought to end all federal support to the group.)

One thing the AP piece misses, however, is that pressure to end the Planned Parenthood funding may have also come from within Komen itself. Karen Handel was named senior vice president at Komen in April 2011, and is now "leading the organization's federal and state advocacy efforts." But before joining Komen, she was a candidate in the Republican gubernatorial primary in Georgia, and was critical of Planned Parenthood. "[S]ince I am pro-life, I do not support the mission of Planned Parenthood," she wrote in a blog post, and pledged to eliminate all state funds for breast and cervical cancer screening to the group if she were elected governor. [Mother Jones]

We've supported Komen's Race for the Cure in the past, but we obviously don't support this decision. Cutting off funding under such a flimsy pretext is doing nothing but harming thousands of women who depend on Planned Parenthood for affordable cancer screenings and other health care. Komen is putting the women they claim to care so much about at risk for no good reason.

Planned Parenthood has set up an emergency fund and they're now accepting donations to ensure that they can continue to provide women with the care that they need. Besides donating, you can also tell Komen how you feel about their decision - you can tweet them @komenforthecure and comment on their facebook page. The good news is that they're currently being slammed with tons of negative feedback, but they're also getting a fair amount of praise from the anti-choice community. Unfortunately this includes quite a few people who are taking this opportunity to promote the myth that abortion causes breast cancer, and so far Komen has not stepped in to stop people from spreading this misinformation. You can also take this time to look into other breast cancer organizations that might be more deserving of your support, like Breast Cancer Action.

What do you think about Komen and this decision? Will this cause you to stop supporting them? (Or have you already pulled your support for other reasons?) What other breast cancer organizations do you like?

1 comment:

LS said...

As far as I'm aware, Susan G. Komen has never been an honest organization. As I recall, only a small fraction of their donations actually go to breast cancer research, while most of it goes into running the behemoth organization, and publicizing cancer walks which make people feel better, but don't actually contribute much to finding a cure.