Komen Right Because Planned Parenthood Doesn’t Help Women

Opinion   |   Bill Saunders and Kellie Fiedorek   |   Feb 2, 2012   |   12:49PM   |   Washington, DC

The fact that the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation (Komen) gave substantial amounts of money in grants to Planned Parenthood over the years has been a point of conflict for many Americans, particularly those who are breast cancer survivors and those whose loved ones have battled breast cancer.

Many of us have pondered, “How can an organization dedicated to life-saving research support an organization that so blatantly disregards women’s health?” And, at the end of the day, despite our appreciation for Komen’s efforts to fight breast cancer, many of us have been unable to support Komen because of its strong alliance with the nation’s largest abortion provider…until this week.

Countless Americans welcomed Tuesday’s news that Komen had severed its partnership with Planned Parenthood-an organization that at its core is anti-women-with excitement and enthusiasm. Komen’s determination that Planned Parenthood is no longer eligible for grants was a commonsense conclusion-no organization that disregards the health and safety of women should be supported.

The Planned Parenthood Federation of America and its affiliates are currently under investigation by the U.S. Congress to examine its “institutional practices and policies,” and “its handling of federal funding.” Komen rightly recognized that its responsibility as a good steward of funds is to allocate grants only to organizations that meet Komen’s performance criteria (including not being subject to a government investigation) and that ensure quality care to vulnerable women. (Planned Parenthood’s willingness to jeopardize the health and safety of women is documented in AUL’s Report, the “Case for Investigating Planned Parenthood.”)

Komen should be commended for its strength and commitment to ensuring that women receive quality care. In particular, despite Planned Parenthood’s tired mantra and false claims, women-particularly poor and underserved women-will not suffer from Komen’s decision. Komen Affiliates fund programs that provide life-saving breast health education and breast screenings for hundreds of thousands of low-income, uninsured, or medically under-served women in nearly 2,000 local organizations. Women will not only continue to be well-served-but will be better served-by Komen’s decision to re-direct over half of a million dollars previously given in grants to Planned Parenthood to organizations that truly seek to advance women’s health rather than their financial bottom lines. [related]

Contrary to what Planned Parenthood claims, its approximately 700 clinics in the United States fail to provide even basic health care for women. In contrast, according to the National Association of Community Health Centers, community health centers provide more than 9,000 doctors, 10,000 nurses, and 8,000 health care delivery sites across the nation. These National Association of Community Health Centers, provide health care to the nation’s underserved populations including the uninsured, those on Medicaid and Medicare, migrant workers, and people living in rural areas.

Despite its claims to the contrary, Planned Parenthood is well-aware of these inconvenient facts.

In June 2011, Live Action contacted 16 Planned Parenthood clinics in Indiana, for example, and every one of them acknowledged that women did not need Planned Parenthood to receive basic medical care and indicated that women could receive well-woman exams-which includes a breast exam as standard practice-at community health centers and from primary care doctors. What is true in Indiana is likely true in the other 49 states. Clearly, these centers, not Planned Parenthood, serve the real health care needs of American women.

Furthermore, the Center for Disease Control (CDC)’s National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (NBCCEDP) provides breast and cervical cancer screenings and diagnostic services to low-income, uninsured, and underinsured women across the United States. On its website, one can locate free or low-cost screenings in any state. In Missouri, for example, it highlights approximately 180 locations in the state that provide women free cancer screenings.

Komen has stated that, “Throughout our 30 year history, our priority has always been and will continue to be the women we serve. As we move forward, we are working to ensure that there is no interruption or gaps in services for the women who need our support most in the fight against breast cancer.” Americans United for Life encourages you to join us in showing our support and appreciation to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation’s commitment to advance women’s health with life-saving research.

Komen’s courageous decision underscores that we can win the battle over the culture of death when we are united in defending and advancing women’s health.