Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation announced on Jan. 31 that it would cease funding Planned Parenthood. Three days later Komen announced it was amending its decision.
Komen had a partnership with Planned Parenthood to provide low income patients with affordable breast cancer screenings.
I cannot remember the last time I saw an organization cave so quickly to public demands. If only politicians were this easy to convince.
I am pleased to see Komen reverse its poor decision. The foundation’s purpose is to fund testing, treatment and researching new cures for breast cancer, as well as providing financial aid directly to breast cancer patients. Abortion is not related to the foundation’s purpose in any manner, it is not Komen’s concern. Defunding Planned Parenthood for its more controversial services was an error in judgment.
There is no denying that Planned Parenthood provides a highly controversial service. It does not matter what side of the abortion debate you land on, it is a sensitive topic. But to focus solely on that blinds you to everything else Planned Parenthood does, especially for low-income families.
According to Planned Parenthood, 4 million breast exams have been performed within their health centers during the past five years. Planned Parenthood of Greater Washington and North Idaho provided breast exams to 7,000 patients since 2008, according to KNDU-TV.
Komen would have weakened this admirable service in our own backyard and across the nation.
Critics of Komen’s initial decision said the act was politically motivated due to pressure from conservative anti-abortion groups. MSNBC reported many pointed to Komen’s recently appointed vice president for public policy, Karen Handel, as evidence for this assertion. Handel lost a 2010 bid to become governor of Georgia in which a major focus of her campaign was denouncing Planned Parenthood and abortion.
Komen executives continue to maintain that the decision was not political in nature, but not everyone within the foundation shares that sentiment. One anonymous source within the foundation told reporters from The Associated Press the plan was to specifically punish Planned Parenthood.
CNN reported that Mollie Williams resigned as Komen’s managing director of community health programs in the wake of the initial decision.
“I respect the work of Planned Parenthood, including their lifesaving efforts to detect cancer in its earliest stages,” Williams said. “The divide between these two very important organizations saddens me.”
Do not mistake me for some gung-ho pro-choice activist who frothed at the mouth when Komen announced they would cease Planned Parenthood’s funding. I am a staunch believer in a woman’s right to choose, but I also have very personal reasons to support Komen in the fight against breast cancer.
My mother has terminal breast cancer. She has been fighting it since 2008. Every time my family thinks she’s beaten the cancer, it crops up again. The doctors say it will kill her — they just cannot give us a timetable for death. It could be next year, it could be in ten years.
When Komen announced its original decision, I was torn between two groups I wholeheartedly supported. I was honestly angry at the groups advocating a boycott of Komen products, the sales of which are vitally important to Komen. Komen has done too much for my family for me to denounce the organization completely. Komen has literally put food on our table.
I did not support a boycott of Komen products, but I was proud of the vast number of donations sent to Planned Parenthood in a short span of time. Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards said they received $3 million in donations before Komen reversed its decision. That is the type of protest I can stand behind.
No one stood anything to gain from Komen’s original decision. There were no winners, only losers. Komen took a huge publicity hit. Planned Parenthood lost vital funding and women needing cheap breast exams would have been out of luck. I am glad the executives within Komen recognized this and came to their senses.