Komen Could Get Out of This Mess by Funding Mammograms

Opinion   |   Gerard Nadal, Ph.D.   |   Feb 3, 2012   |   1:46PM   |   Washington, DC

Nancy Brinker has elected to lead the Susan G. Komen foundation to higher ethical and clinical ground, and Planned Parenthood is not letting them go without putting a gun to the foundation’s head, claiming Brinker’s decision was political. There is a simple way out for Komen that begins with an understanding of what they are leaving and where they are going.

Planned Parenthood does not perform mammograms, but only manual palpations. That’s substandard for low-income women, especially Black women, whose incidence of breast cancer is frightfully higher than any other demographic.

Beginning TODAY Komen needs to announce a new initiative for purchasing mammogram machines for urban centers with high density, low-income women populations. Then they need to invite corporate America to join in the effort. What does corporate America want to do, fund Planned Parenthood squeezing breasts, or mammograms for women who are effectively shut out of the system? It’s really that simple.

Komen is the largest breast cancer foundation in the world. They should stand for excellence in women’s health care, especially for the poorest and most breast cancer-affected women among us. A mammogram machine initiative does just that.

Where does Planned Parenthood go from there?

They have already raised the money Komen withdrew, which is an indication of Planned Parenthood’s financial health. They don’t need Komen’s money, as they have just demonstrated the ability to raise their own.

They can’t match Komen’s power to deliver the very best in breast cancer detection.

All they have is the power to destroy, be that babies or foundations.

If Planned Parenthood cared so much for women’s health, they wouldn’t be out to destroy the most effective voice in breast cancer research over a few million dollars lost from an annual budget of $1 Billion.

The way forward for Komen is bright and clear. This is Black History Month, a time to stop and contemplate the residue of racism and the enduring inequities it has left in its wake. No single demographic suffers more from breast cancer, or has less education about and access to mammograms than Black women. That needs to change, and Nancy Brinker is the one woman in this nation who can best effect that change. She should do it today, without hesitation.

She needn’t concern herself with invidious distinction regarding Planned Parenthood’s mediocrity.

She simply needs to lead the way with Komen excellence.