An organization that has touted itself as being all about saving women’s lives made it clear that women’s lives don’t mean much in the face of political opposition to abortion.
The 800 pound gorilla of breast cancer marketing and research, the Susan G. Komen Foundation, announced it was severing ties with Planned Parenthood because of a new policy that bars grants to organizations that are under investigation by local, state or federal authorities. According to Komen, because Rep. Cliff Sterns (R-FL) launched a congressional investigation into whether or not Planned Parenthood was using public money on abortions, that means no more grant money. Period.
The Republican attacks on Planned Parenthood have been relentless and baseless. They are nothing short of vindictive, politically-motivated smears targeting an organization that makes it possible for women to have access to safe, affordable health care. They are fueled by an animus toward women and a belief that women’s bodies are, essentially, community property at best.
The Komen Foundation grants to Planned Parenthood totaled about $680,000 last year and $580,000 the year before, with that money mainly going to breast-cancer screening and other breast-health services. Translated to actual women’s lives, it looks like this: almost 170,000 clinical breast exams and more than 6,400 mammograms.
It’s a move that is not only disappointing, it is deadly. “We are alarmed and saddened that the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation appears to have succumbed to political pressure. Our greatest desire is for Komen to reconsider this policy and recommit to the partnership on which so many women count,” said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America.
Planned Parenthood and its affiliates are looking beyond political pressure and focused only on how to help save women’s lives. “While this is deeply disturbing and disappointing, we want to assure women who rely on Planned Parenthood for breast care that we’re still here for them, and we always will be. The new fund we’re launching to support these services will ensure that the Komen Foundation’s decision doesn’t jeopardize women’s health,” added Richards.
Thanks to a grant by Amy and Lee Fikes’ Foundation Planned Parenthood established a Breast Health Emergency Fund to provide an immediate source of funding to ensure that Planned Parenthood health centers can continue to provide critical cancer screenings and care that actually saves lives.
The Susan G. Komen Foundation will slap a pink ribbon on just about anything, from NFL football jerseys to a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken. Yet they won’t stand up to anti-abortion zealots. The result puts real women’s lives at risk. If you care about women, and if you want to support an organization that knows that providing women access to life-saving cancer screens means being stronger than political pressure from the religious right, I suggest sending that support directly to Planned Parenthood. The Susan G. Komen Foundation, it seems, has other concerns.
Photo from jdmith1021 via flickr.