Yesterday, The Susan G. Komen Foundation announced that they will no longer provide grants to Planned Parenthood for breast cancer screenings and breast health education programs. Grants from Komen were used to fund nearly 170,000 breast exams over the past five years.
Komen spokeswoman Leslie Aun explained that the halt in funds is a result of Komen’s newly adopted criteria prohibiting grants to organizations under local, state or federal investigation. According to Komen, this would apply to Planned Parenthood due to the inquiry launched by Rep. Cliff Stearns, R-Fla., on whether public money was spent improperly on abortion services.
Planned Parenthood believes the motivations for the split stem from anti-abortion pressure. Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood, expressed her disappointment at Komen’s decision. "It's hard to understand how an organization with whom we share a mission of saving women's lives could have bowed to this kind of bullying," Richards told The Associated Press. "It's really hurtful."
At immediate risk are low-income women, many in rural and under-served communities. Stephanie Kight, Vice President of Planned Parenthood of Orange and San Bernadino Counties, expressed concern for losing the trust of these women counting on support from Komen and Planned Parenthood, and “… who turn to both of us at their most difficult moments.”
According to the Center for Disease Control, other than non-melanoma skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in the US. It is also the leading cause of cancer death, among women of all races, amounting to the loss of 40,598 women’s lives in 2007. Breast cancer screenings lead to earlier detection and treatment, and help reduce cancer-related deaths.
For more information and to make a donation to Planned Parenthood, please click here.
Flickr photograph courtesy of enews