Unless they are putting all that money into finding that cure for breast cancer they’ve been chasing all these years, the practical effect of this action is to deny women the ability to get screened for breast cancer – women who have nothing to do with this ideological fight over abortion and who would probably gladly go somewhere besides Planned Parenthood to get tested if they had the means. But their Sarah Palin-approved new vice president is so caught up in this psychodrama around Planned Parenthood that she had to lash out:
Karen Handel was named senior vice president at Komen in April 2011, and is now “leading the organization’s federal and state advocacy efforts.” But before joining Komen, she was a candidate in the Republican gubernatorial primary in Georgia, and was critical of Planned Parenthood. “[S]ince I am pro-life, I do not support the mission of Planned Parenthood,” she wrote in a blog post, and pledged to eliminate all state funds for breast and cervical cancer screening to the group if she were elected governor.
Handel was criticized during the campaign for a vote she made as a county commissioner to provide grant money to Planned Parenthood for cancer screenings. The issue was a contentious one in the Republican primary, with Handel responding to that criticism by attacking her opponent for voting to fund Planned Parenthood in the state legislature.
Planned Parenthood’s statement talks about Komen “succumbing” to political pressure. I’d say they didn’t play that hard to get.
We’re talking about a $680,000 grant, and given all the high-profile attention paid to this, and the emails in my inbox with people’s electronic receipts from their donations to Planned Parenthood, I’m hoping they can make a lot of it up. But Susan G. Komen is damaged permanently.
This was a mainstream organization. Their pink ribbons were ubiquitous, all over consumer products. They’ve just set in motion a backlash that will hurt a lot. It’s hard to look at this as anything but a breast-cancer focused charity consigning more women to going untested while they acquire breast cancer, mostly out of spite. Sen. Patty Murray’s statement is right on.
I am extremely disappointed that politics is once again coming between women and their health care needs. Breast cancer screenings should not be a political issue, and I am very concerned that this decision by the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation will cut women off from the health care providers they rely on for critical preventive care.
At the heart of this issue is the shameful ‘investigation’ of Planned Parenthood by House Republicans trying to score political points and appease their extreme right-wing base. Komen should not allow these sort of partisan games to put women across America at risk.
Thousands of women across the country depend on Planned Parenthood for breast cancer prevention, screenings, and education—and they shouldn’t have to pay the price for this misguided and damaging decision.
There’s a sidelight to this about the US Preventive Services Task Force saying that breast cancer screenings for young women are not recommended unless there’s a family history, and how free preventive screenings will play out as part of the essential benefits program. But let’s set aside those issues. Susan G. Komen just stirred up a hornet’s nest here.