It was a sad day yesterday for Planned Parenthood – The Associated Press reported that the Susan G. Komen Foundation has decided to stop funding for lifesaving breast cancer screenings in hundreds of Planned Parenthood health centers around the country. The Komen Foundation says that “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.”
While many would have you believe that this is women vs. women in the anti-abortion debate, it’s not. It’s yet another occasion of politics trumping the real issue: women’s health. The fact is: politicians aren’t thinking of women when they’re making yet another decision that harms them.
They aren’t thinking of a 23-year-old in a Planned Parenthood health center, just out of college and without health insurance, who found a lump in her breast.
They aren’t thinking of a 40-year-old woman, getting her first mammogram and thinking of her mother, who died from breast cancer.
They aren’t thinking of a 65-year-old woman, going through chemotherapy for stage 4 breast cancer, who’s hoping and praying that she’ll be able to meet her grandchildren.
Over the past five years, Planned Parenthood health centers with Komen program funding have provided nearly 170,000 clinical breast exams out of the more than four million clinical breast exams performed nationwide at Planned Parenthood health centers, as well as more than 6,400 mammogram referrals out of 70,000 mammogram referrals. Now those services are at risk.
We all know women who have been affected by cancer; the latest statistics say that 1 in 3 will hear that life-changing diagnosis in her lifetime. They may be your mother, your aunt, your grandmother, your sister, or your friend. It is these women that need to be thought of when decisions like this are made.
I’ve bought many a pink-festooned item in support of breast cancer, with the funds going to the Komen Foundation. I still support their work with women who have cancer and I still share their hope to find a cure.
Today, though, I’m disappointed. Politics should not get in the way of women’s health – and we here at the Feronia Project hope you think so, too.
If you would like to support our breast and sexual health services and ensure that women can access affordable, accessible health care, please click here and select Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida from the dropdown box. Any amount will be appreciated – and make a difference.