Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation apologized for the decision to stop funding the Planned Parenthood breast exam program and just announced it is reversing course. “Our only goal for our granting process is to support women and families in the fight against breast cancer,” Nancy G. Brinker, founder and CEO of the foundation, said in a statement. “Amending our criteria will ensure that politics has no place in our grant process. We will continue to fund existing grants, including those of Planned Parenthood, and preserve their eligibility to apply for future grants, while maintaining the ability of our affiliates to make funding decisions that meet the needs of their communities.”

Politics directly interfered with access to health care for economically depressed women when the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation decided to stop funding Planned Parenthood’s breast exam program on Feb.1.  Black women will be adversely affected by Komen’s decision, as 15 percent of Planned Parenthood’s clientele are African American.

Komen announced it would stop funding Planned Parenthood breast exams because the organization is under investigation, and that status makes it ineligible.

Planned Parenthood cried foul — that Komen stopped funding the breast exams because the organization’s key leaders are also opposed to abortion.

There may be a grain of truth to that as a candidate for Georgia’s Governor in 2010, Komen’s current vice president, Karen Handel, wrote: “First, let me be clear, since I am pro-life, I do not support the mission of Planned Parenthood.”

Yet another breast cancer survivor, Charmaine Yoest, president of Americans United for Life, is credited for launching the probe of Planned Parenthood. Yoest’s report,“The Case for Investigating Planned Parenthood,” resulted in an investigation by the Energy and Commerce Committee.

When Yoest learned of Komen’s decision to stop funding Planned Parenthood, she told the Washington Post: “As a breast cancer survivor, I was always troubled with this whole idea that the nation’s largest abortion provider was enmeshed in the breast cancer fight when they weren’t actually doing mammograms. I look at this as smart stewardship.”

Millions of women rely on Planned Parenthood’s 800 health centers for their care and such political interference puts these women at risk, Planned Parenthood’s president Cecile Richards said during a protest rally held last year. At that time, Planned Parenthood faced drastic cuts to its funding after the House of Representatives passed Title X, a motion that eliminated federal funding for basic health care services such as STD screenings.

“These proposals would undermine their health, putting them at risk for undiagnosed cancers and unintended pregnancies,” Cecile Richards said. “These proposals will not create jobs, reduce the deficit or fix the economy. This is a war on women’s health, and it must stop.”

Meanwhile, donations have been pouring in to fund the breast health program since Komen’s announcement to defund Planned Parenthood; at last tally, $650,000 in donations were received in one day.


Deputy Editor, Rolling Out