Susan G. Komen For The Cure is the most recognizable breast cancer charity in the country and its Race for The Cure the largest single fundraising event in support of breast cancer research. The group has just announced that it will no longer fund breast cancer screening services at Planned Parenthood, ending years of affordable mammograms for low-income women. Why would any organization do such a thing? Because of pressure from anti-abortion rights groups who refuse to separate the need for breast cancer prevention from the abortion services that Planned Parenthood provides.
A group called Life Decisions International (which, ironically, is all about repealing your right to make choices about bearing life) put The Komen Foundation on a “Boycott List” of companies that support Planned Parenthood — basically to notify the anti-choice community who not to support. Of course Komen only funds breast cancer-related services, but the idea is that any donation to Planned Parenthood somehow funds abortions (which are actually only 3% of the services that the organization provides).
In December, the LDI quietly removed Komen from its list without saying why, and Komen was equally mum about how the situation was resolved. Yesterday’s announcement that The Komen Foundation would no longer contribute the $700,000 that funds Planned Parenthood mammograms was attributed to a brand new Foundation rule that forbids them from funding any group currently under investigation in Congress. Planned Parenthood is one such group, and of its investigation in congress is coming from — you guessed it — anti-choice legislators who oppose both abortion rights and federal funding for abortions and have for decades. Komen denies that they buckled under anti-abortion pressure, but the fact that this “new rule” suddenly yanks over $700,000 of services out of low-income communities over ongoing political tactics from congress makes absolutely no good sense.
Absolutely no good can come from defunding women’s health services and The Foundation’s decision speaks volumes about the value that society, and even women’s groups, place on our health. This decision will not put Planned Parenthood out of business. It will not make people get fewer abortions. What it will do is keep many women from catching breast cancer in its early stages, limit the accessibility to birth control and related health services that Planned Parenthood provides, and send a message to the larger non-profit community that it’s not the people who matter, it’s politics.
Read more at The Washington Post