By Marc Jampole
It’s time for anyone who supports a woman’s right to an abortion to stop giving money to the Susan G. Komen Foundation and to stop participating in its walks. Send your money to other organizations fighting breast cancer. But by no means should you reward the Komen Foundation for ending its funding of Planned Parenthood’s breast cancer programs.
According to Planned Parenthood, its centers performed more than 4 million breast exams over the past five years, including nearly 170,000 financed by Komen grants. That’s 34,000 women a year who may not get a breast exam because of the lost funding.
When Komen made the announcement yesterday, its spokesperson said that the organization stopped giving to Planned Parenthood because it was following Komen’s newly adopted criteria barring grants to organizations that are under investigation by local, state or federal authorities. Komen applied these new standards to Planned Parenthood because of an inquiry launched against it by right-wing Congressman Cliff Stearns, R-Fla., who claims that Planned Parenthood may have improperly spent public money on abortions.
But Komen’s reasoning strikes me as a frame job on Planned Parenthood.
Komen has been involved in women’s health issues over the past 30 years, so it knows that at any given time some right-wing elected official is involved in a vendetta against Planned Parenthood that is typically cloaked in a government or regulatory investigation. Komen could have easily written the new criteria to take into account politically inspired investigations or to enable the decision-makers some latitude.
As The New York Times reported this morning, Komen knew all along that the only organization to be affected by the new policy would be Planned Parenthood. It sounds to me as if anti-abortion activists in the Komen organization pushed for this rigid clause in the new funding criteria as a back-door maneuver against Planned Parenthood. The Times article publicizes a Twitter effort by three women to boycott Komen.
There are many organizations involved in fighting breast cancer and educating women about how to recognize the early symptoms. There is no reason why anyone has to stop supporting this very important cause. Let’s just stop giving to Komen and make sure we tell it why.