The news that the Susan G. Komen Foundation was pulling financial support for breast cancer screenings from Planned Parenthood and its affiliates sent shock waves online yesterday as just about everyone other than Christian conservatives denounced the decision as caving to right wing bullies on abortion.
The thing is, the Komen Foundation didn’t cave to the right wing. It is the right wing.
The Komen Foundation announced its decision to end a years-long partnership between the two organizations that provided mammograms and related services to low income women based on a “policy change” recently implemented that bars the organization from working with organizations currently under local, state or federal investigation. But there’s more to this story.
This was a policy shift in search of a target. It coincides with a congressional investigation launched by a Republican legislator, after significant pressure by the anti-choice group Americans United for Life and after the addition of the vocally anti-abortion Karen Handel to Vice President of the Komen Foundation.
Handel ran unsuccessfully for governor of Georgia in 2010 and made quite a splash. She was endorsed by Sarah Palin and made her dislike of Planned Parenthood and its mission a central platform of her campaign. When running for governor she promised to eliminate funding for breast and cervical cancer screenings provided by the organization.
It looks like she made good on her promise.
If you are outraged by this blatant attack on affordable cancer screenings for low-income women, and you should be, consider stopping here. It’s a list of cancer advocacy organizations. Write these organizations and urge them to urge the Komen Foundation to change its position or to denounce a move that will only cost women’s lives. You can also sign our petition and, if you are able, consider a donation directly to Planned Parenthood to help make sure poor women continue to have access to the health care services they deserve.
Photo from http://www.flickr.com/photos/jennifrog/