NEW YORK (1/31/12) – Planned Parenthood Federation of America today expressed deep disappointment in response to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation’s decision to stop funding breast cancer prevention, screenings and education at Planned Parenthood health centers. Anti-choice groups in America have repeatedly threatened the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation for partnering with Planned Parenthood to provide these lifesaving cancer screenings and news articles suggest that the Komen Foundation ultimately succumbed to these pressures.
It's time to rethink those pink ribbons, y'all. I am saddened and disgusted to learn that the Susan G. Komen Foundation, one of the most recognizable organizations for breast cancer research and support, has caved to political pressure. This rift will mean a cutoff of hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants, mainly for breast exams, which Planned Parenthood provides at its sites. Although the Komen Foundation claims that the withdrawal of funds is the result of Planned Parenthood being under investigation by Congress for using federal money for abortions, Planned Parenthood says the move is due to Komen bowing to pressure from anti-abortion activists, who have been targetting Komen since 2005, when it partnered with Planned Parenthood. Furthermore, this Congressional probe was launched by a conservative Republican (Rep. Cliff Stearns) at the urging of anti-choice zealots. Do I smell a rat here?
If we need any more evidence, just look to Komen's recent naming of Karen Handel as Senior Vice President for Public Policy (2011). Ms. Handel is clearly anti-choice and anti-Planned Parenthood. In a 2010 statement while running for Governor of Georgia, she said the following:
First, let me be clear, since I am pro-life, I do not support the mission of Planned Parenthood. During my time as Chairman of Fulton County, there were federal and state pass-through grants that were awarded to Planned Parenthood for breast and cervical cancer screening, as well as a “Healthy Babies Initiative.”... Planned Parenthood was the only eligible vendor approved to meet the state criteria. Additionally, none of the services in any way involved abortions or abortion-related services. In fact, state and federal law prohibits the use of taxpayer funds for abortions or abortion related services and I strongly support those laws. Since grants like these are from the state I’ll eliminate them as your next Governor.Let's sum this up: Planned Parenthood was the only place available in the state to provide breast and cervical cancer screening (generally for poor women). None of the funds for provided for this service were used for abortions or anything other than these screenings. As Governor, Ms. Handel planned on eliminating this funding, thus, cutting off the only access to cancer screening many women in Georgia had. Now that she's in charge of Public Policy at the Komen Foundation, she can wield her axe on a national level and cut off access to cancer screening for thousands, if not millions, of poor women. Way to show your pro-life colors, Karen!
This blatant political ass kissing has got to stop! Cancer strikes liberals and conservatives. Cancer doesn't care if you're pro-choice or pro-life. Cancer doesn't care if you have health insurance or don't. We cannot allow the organizations that are supposed to be fighting for women's health to cave to partisan politics on either side. Whether or not you believe in a woman's right to choice, you should believe that women have the right to get cancer screenings, and Planned Parenthood does cancer screenings. They are about much more than abortion.
Tell the Komen Foundation that they should be ashamed. Tell them that saving women's lives should trump politics. Much as I love the color pink, I refuse to wear it until this is reversed.
Sign the petition here and tell Komen not to succumb to Right Wing attacks.