The leading breast cancer charity organization has announced that it is ending its relationship with Planned Parenthood because the latter is under investigation of whether it has used public monies to fund abortions. The Susan G. Komen Foundation for the Cure has provided grants to Planned Parenthood for breast prevention screenings and breast education at their centers throughout the country.
Leslie Aun, a Komen spokesperson, told the Associated Press that her foundation’s break with Planned Parenthood comes as a result of a policy change which blocks grant money to organizations which are under investigation by local, state, or federal authorities.
According to Planned Parenthood, funding from the Komen Foundation has provided 170,000 breast screenings over the past five years. The family planning organization has announced a recent “emergency fund” of about $250,000, from the Amy and Lee Fikes’ Foundation, that will compensate for the funds lost from the Komen Foundation.
In response to the drop in funding from the Komen Foundation, Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, openly criticized the anti-abortion sentiments that led to the end of the relationship between the organizations. Ms. RIchards said in a press release, “We are alarmed and saddened that the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation appears to have succumbed to political pressure. Our greatest desire is for Komen to reconsider this policy and recommit to the partnership on which so many women count.”
However, CBS News reports that the Komen Foundation has denied that the cancer charity was pressured politically. “Grant making decisions are not about politics,” Komen wrote. The statement added that the organization made changes to its grant standards and “implemented more stringent eligibility and performance criteria.”
But, Dr. Charmaine Yoest, president and CEO of Americans United for Life, a pro-life organization, responded, “As a breast cancer survivor, I applaud the decision made by the Komen Foundation to discontinue their partnership with the billion-dollar, abortion mega-provider, Planned Parenthood. The work of the Komen Foundation has life-saving potential and should not be intertwined with an industry dealing in death.”
Funding for Planned Parenthood was scrutinized in April of last year when a Republican effort to block $317 million in federal funding for the organization failed during a last-minute budget deal with Democrats to avoid a government shutdown. Regarding the Komen Foundation announcement, Sen. Patty Murray (D-Washington) said she was “extremely disappointed that politics is once again coming between women and their health care needs.”
Whether due to policy changes or realization of the potential problems associated with being involved with an abortion provider, the Komen Foundation has acted wisely in ending their relationship with an organization that will only attract even further scrutiny and investigation. We can only hope that Congressional Republicans will soon demonstrate the same insight and depth of courage as the Komen Foundation.