The Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation has broken off a partnership through which it provided cancer screenings at Planned Parenthood clinics, the Associated Press reported Tuesday. Planned Parenthood blamed the political controversy over abortion.
“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,” said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America.
Planned Parenthood said its clinics provided about 4 million screenings for breast cancer over the past five years, roughly 170,000 of which were supported by Komen grants.
Planned Parenthood said it has established an emergency fund to offset the loss of the Komen funds.
Komen told the AP that it ended its partnership with Planned Parenthood because of a congressional investigation into the organization. Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce committee have requested detailed financial records from Planned Parenthood.
This seems like an utterly obvious thing for Komen to do, and frankly it's surprising it's taken so long. Planned Parenthood is radioactive for a significant and vocal minority of the US population. There is no reason for an organization whose sole purpose is to promote cancer awareness and research to associate them with an organization so polarizing.
The Associated Press story features Planned Parenthood officials whining a good deal about the decision:
“We’re kind of reeling,” said Patrick Hurd, who is CEO of Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Virginia — recipient of a 2010 grant from Komen — and whose wife, Betsi, is a veteran of several Komen fundraising races and is currently battling breast cancer.It's unfortunate that it took a technicality such as Planned Parenthood being under Federal investigation in order to get this partnership broken off. One would hope that if the Komen Foundation is truly focused on cancer advocacy they would understand it can only hurt their cause to ally with a group involved in such incredibly controversial behavior as Planned Parenthood.
“It sounds almost trite, going through this with Betsi, but cancer doesn’t care if you’re pro-choice, anti-choice, progressive, conservative,” Hurd said. “Victims of cancer could care less about people’s politics.”
Planned Parenthood said the Komen grants totaled roughly $680,000 last year and $580,000 the year before, going to at least 19 of its affiliates for breast-cancer screening and other breast-health services.
Komen spokeswoman Leslie Aun said the cutoff results from the charity’s newly adopted criteria barring grants to organizations that are under investigation by local, state or federal authorities. According to Komen, this applies to Planned Parenthood because it’s the focus of an inquiry launched by Rep. Cliff Stearns, R-Fla., seeking to determine whether public money was improperly spent on abortions.
Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, has depicted Stearns’ probe as politically motivated and said she was dismayed that it had contributed to Komen’s decision to halt the grants to PPFA affiliates.
“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.”
However, regardless of the inciting incident, one hopes that the Komen foundation will realize that Planned Parenthood is a group they should absolutely not get back into bed with.