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Senators ask Komen Foundation to reverse decision

I stand with Planned Parenthood

Twenty-six U.S. Senators have signed a letter to the Susan G. Komen Foundation asking its officers to reverse their decision to withdraw grant money from Planned Parenthood.

The letter, as reported by the Washington Post:

Dear Ambassador Brinker,

We write to express our disappointment with Susan G. Komen for the Cure’s decision to cut funding for breast cancer prevention, screening, and education at Planned Parenthood health centers. This troubling decision threatens to reduce access to necessary, life-saving services. We urge Komen to reconsider its decision.

Planned Parenthood is a trusted provider of health care for women and men. More than 90 percent of the services provided by Planned Parenthood are primary and preventative including wellness exams and cancers screenings that save lives. Each year, Planned Parenthood health clinics provide 750,000 breast exams, 770,000 pap tests and nearly 4 million tests and treatments for sexually transmitted diseases. Twenty percent of all women in the U.S. have visited a Planned Parenthood health center.

For the past five years, grants to local affiliates of Planned Parenthood have been an important part of Planned Parenthood’s work to protect women from breast cancer. Komen funding for Planned Parenthood has provided nearly 170,000 clinical breast exams and resulted in 6,400 referrals for mammograms. In 2011 alone, grants from Komen provided Planned Parenthood with roughly $650,000 in funding for breast cancer prevention, screening, and education. According to a recent statement by Komen, “In some areas of the U.S., our affiliates have determined a Planned Parenthood clinic to be the best or only local place where women can receive breast health care.”

It would be tragic if any woman —let alone thousands of women — lost access to these potentially life-saving screenings because of a politically motivated attack.

We earnestly hope that you will put women’s health before partisan politics and reconsider this decision for the sake of the women who depend on both your organizations for access to the health care they need.

The letter is signed by Senators Lautenberg, Murray, Mikulski, Boxer, Cantwell, Gillibrand, Menendez, Wyden, Blumenthal, Shaheen, Begich, Merkley, Tester, Akaka, Sanders, (Sherrod) Brown, Leahy, Baucus, Cardin, Feinstein, Franken, Kerry, McCaskill, Stabenow, Coons, and Bingaman.

“That relatively conservative senators like Begich and Tester signed the letter is testament to how broad the opposition to this decision has really become,” notes the Post.

Speculation is rampant that the Komen Foundation caved to pressure from anti-abortion elements in Congress, and that the recent hiring of vice president Karen Handel, who ran for governor of Georgia on an anti-Planned Parenthood platform as a Republican in 2010, is a factor. Despite Komen’s denial, women’s groups and social media are ablaze with anger. Several top Komen officials have resigned to protest the decision. Donations to Planned Parenthood have soared since the decision was announced two days ago.

More: The Washington Post also reports there have been numerous complaints about negative comments being removed from Komen’s Facebook page. And from the same story:

On Twitter, Komen made another gaffe. The charity’s vice president, Karen Handel, re-tweeted a tweet that read: “Just like a pro-abortion group to turn a cancer orgs decision into a political bomb to throw. Cry me a freaking river.” That tweet has since been deleted, but was screengrabbed and spread across the social media site.

9 Comments »

  1. Bad deal for research and health.
    But no matter what I feel, the other stuff suddenly going on here is a worry….
    1. People should be able to say what they believe (those people who protest at soldier’s funerals are protected with free speech; the Klan can march: rappers can use hateful language),
    2. Private groups should be able to give money where ever they want (if you don’t like their choices – walk away and don’t help them raise money)
    3. Congress and political people(from either party) shouldn’t force / insist a private group finance specific organizations (no matter how worthy the cause)
    4. Private charities / groups should examine their original purpose – and stay above political pressure in either direction (that include carefully examining employees’ motives and purposes). If they take controversial positions, they must accept the fallout.
    There will be no winners out of this – and very bad feelings lasting.
    Extreme damage.
    Women will suffer because somebody wants to force their opinions on someone else.

    • I’ve no doubt that Democratic senators and congressmen (there were letters from both) jumped in because they felt a need to counter an apparently Republican-instigated decision. Partisan politics — getting really ugly.

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