2.01.2012

who is behind the susan g. komen foundation's decision to cut ties with planned parenthood?

When a leading breast-cancer charity severs its relationship with the largest provider of reproductive health services in the US, we have to ask, who is behind this terrible decision? The Atlantic:
The nation's leading breast-cancer charity, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, which has spent nearly $2 billion over the past 30 years for breast cancer education, health services, research, and advocacy, has announced that it will end its longtime partnership with the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. The announcement has sparked bitter debate among representatives from all concerned parties, highlighting the ongoing debate over abortion.

Planned Parenthood, currently the largest provider of reproductive health services in the United States, is widely known for helping women to obtain abortions and contraceptives. But those services, despite their high profile, account for only 38 percent (PDF) of the organization's work. And though Republicans often portray Planned Parenthood as strictly an abortion provider, using the phrase to incite anger among pro-life constituents and gain support for cuts to federal funding -- it comes largely through the Title X and Medicaid programs -- the fact is that the organization devotes most of its money and manpower to screening for breast, cervical, and testicular cancers; treating menopause; testing for sexually transmitted diseases; and more.

The money provided by Susan G. Komen for the Cure went to just a fraction -- about 19 according to one report -- of Planned Parenthood's more than 85 affiliates. And it was all -- roughly $680,000 last year and $580,000 the year before that -- used for breast-cancer screening and other breast-health services for low-income, uninsured, and under-insured women.

Koman has been criticized in the past for donating to Planned Parenthood and the official response has always been that, despite the controversy surrounding some of its programs, the organization was the only one working to provide breast-health services to women in need in dozens of communities around the United States.

So why the sudden change?

Cutting funds to Planned Parenthood is the result of a newly adopted policy to block grants to organizations currently under investigation by any local, state, or federal authorities, Koman spokeswoman Leslie Aun told the Associated Press. A statement released Tuesday evening added: "While it is regrettable when changes in priorities and policies affect any of our grantees, such as a long-standing partner like Planned Parenthood, we must continue to evolve to best meet the needs of the women we serve and most fully advance our mission."

The key factor behind Komen's decision, Aun told the Associated Press, is not ongoing protests of Planned Parenthood -- the Alliance Defense Fund was quick to praise Komen "for seeing the contradiction between its lifesaving work and its relationship with an abortionist that has ended millions of lives" -- but an audit launched by Rep. Cliff Stearns, chairman of the Energy & Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, to determine whether public money had been spent on abortions over the last decade.

When launched way back in late September, Stearns' review was described as the first-ever oversight on taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood. But his motivations have been questioned repeatedly. Rep. Henry Waxman called out (PDF) Stearns: "Your fervent ideological opposition to Planned Parenthood does not justify launching this intrusive investigation." And Cecile Richards, the president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA), has said that investigation was politically motivated; Stearns must bow to the demands of Florida's 6th congressional district, a largely Republican area of North Central Florida that includes parts of Ocala and Gainesville.

Perhaps best known for his position overseeing the investigation into the Solyndra loan guarantee, Stearns has spent more than 20 years in Congress. Over such a long period, his political opponents inevitably called him a number of negative things. Among them, "bully" might be the easiest to print.

"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. It's really hurtful," Richards told the Associated Press. More than confused, Richard was shocked to learn about decision in a phone call this past December. She called it "incredibly surprising" that Komen's president, Elizabeth Thompson, was unwilling to have a discussion about the quick shift.
Read more here.

And sign a petition: Tell the board of Susan G. Komen for a Cure: Don't throw Planned Parenthood under the bus!

9 comments:

johngoldfine said...

Worth mentioning is that completely exploded anti-abortion canard that links abortions to breast cancer.

Being attacked on those grounds by some Congressional knuckle-dragger might have put the wind up Komen--and if so, shame on them, because they would know as well as anyone how sham that line of 'science' turned out to be.

Forgetting for the moment that PP is involved in funding abortion, it is much more interested in preventing unwanted pregnancies, and this, apparently, is no longer acceptable here in Vatican City...er, the USA. There is something incredibly unwholesome about a bunch of old men sitting around DC cutting off funding to an organization that they fancy promotes 'sexual promiscuity.' Can't you just see the prurient saliva fly as they say 'sexual promiscuity' and dream god only knows what fantasies?

laura k said...

Worth mentioning is that completely exploded anti-abortion canard that links abortions to breast cancer.

I actually didn't think that was worth mentioning, as that myth should be dead and buried. So thanks for that.

Also worth mentioning, the extremely small percentage of PP's work that is pregnancy termination. Not that it matters, it is no shame no matter what portion of their work is abortion-related. But as you say, their focus is on prevention.

johngoldfine said...

"Many are pointing at Karen Handel, former Georgia Secretary of State and Sarah Palin-endorsed candidate for governor in 2010, who joined Komen in April 2011 as Senior VP for Public Policy. During her campaign for governor, Handel not only campaigned as an anti-abortion candidate but promised to eliminate state funding to Planned Parenthood."

http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2012/02/komen-foundation-cuts-breast-exam-funding-to-planned-parenthood.php?ref=fpblg

Any reader of 'Brightsided' is always going to be a little wary of a 'pink' organization anyway....

laura k said...

I'm more than wary of the pinkwashing (I've written several times about it), but Susan G. Komen Fdtn is the largest private supporter of breast cancer advocacy and research in the US. It's not the equivalent of Revlon selling lipsticks with pink ribbons. It's a very serious loss.

laura k said...

Good story on it by Lizz Winstead, writing in the Guardian: By defunding Planned Parenthood, the Susan G Komen Foundation betrays women

James Redekop said...

The good news is that donations to Planned Parenthood are apparently way up -- $400,000 in the 24 hours after the announcement.

SF author John Scalzi, for example, is donating the proceeds from his ebook sales from the coming week to PP.

Jere said...

Look what somebody did to their site. (Assuming it's not a Photoshop--but people claim this was actually there.)

laura k said...

I don't see how that can not be photoshop, but you never know.

From everything going on online, it's good to see they are being thoroughly discredited for this.

allan said...

Think Progress:
"Ari Fleischer, former press secretary for George W. Bush and prominent right-wing pundit, was secretly involved in the Komen Foundation’s strategy regarding Planned Parenthood. Fleischer personally interviewed candidates for the position of “Senior Vice President for Communications and External Relations” at Komen last December. According to a source with first-hand knowledge, Fleischer drilled prospective candidates during their interviews on how they would handle the controversy about Komen’s relationship with Planned Parenthood.
Fleischer’s relationship with Komen and the Planned Parenthood controversy was previously undisclosed. He confirmed to ThinkProgress his recent role in filling a key communication position at Komen. ..."