Reaction has been swift since the AP broke the news yesterday that the breast cancer charity, Susan G. Komen for the Cure is withdrawing future funding of any Planned Parenthood affiliates.
The Planned Parenthood Federation of America said pressure from anti-abortion groups sparked the Komen decision. The Komen Foundation counters that its guidelines do not permit funding if any organization is under a governmental investigation.
But those guidelines appear to be recent and have political underpinnings. As Jezebel reports:
Interestingly, this brand new rule that suddenly appeared in the books of the Komen Foundation just so happened to coincide with a Congressional investigation launched by a Republican legislator, who himself was pressured by the pro-life group Americans United for Life. And last year's assault on Planned Parenthood also coincided with the addition of a vocally anti-abortion ex-politician to the ranks of Susan G Komen For the Cure.
Karen Handel, who was endorsed by Sarah Palin during her unsuccessful bid for governor of Georgia in 2010, has been the Foundation's Senior Vice President for Public Policy since April 2011. During her gubernatorial candidacy, she ran on an anti-choice platform, vowing that if elected, she'd defund Planned Parenthood.
Planned Parenthood now has a banner on its homepage announcing the end of Komen funding and asking viewers to "Help Us Continue Lifesaving Breast Cancer Screenings."
“We are alarmed and saddened that the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation appears to have succumbed to political pressure," said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America in a statement. "Our greatest desire is for Komen to reconsider this policy and recommit to the partnership on which so many women count."
The clinic serving Orange and San Bernardino Counties appears to be the only Planned Parenthood affiliate in California to receive funds from Komen. That funding has been significant. For the last seven years, Komen has helped to fund breast cancer screening this affiliate does annually for 15-20,000 women, Stephanie Kight, Sr. Vice President of the affiliate told State of Health.
Last year, 400 women needed diagnostic services and Komen covered a little over half of those. "Komen was also a key funder in education and screening in marginalized communities, especially the Vietnamese community, which has so little information about health care and breast cancer," Kight said. “Women’s health care and breast cancer care are way too important, and way too important to women all over this country, to be used as a political football. It’s just tragic.”
Meanwhile public comments on Twitter and Facebook have been heated. A non-scientific sampling showed sentiment running against Komen, even on its own message board, as this post demonstrates:
I am with all of you. I will return any Komen solicitations from friends with an explanation that i will no longer donate to Breast Cancer research through this organization. What a shame! It's outrageous that this organization, like so many others, is allowing itself to be bullied by the virulently anti-woman minority in Congress. Shame, shame, shame
Those who support Komen's move echo this tweet:
"Awesome news broke today!" tweeted @LilaGraceRose, "Susan G. Komen has finally stopped funding Planned Parenthood!"
Many other tweets show people responding with their wallets. "I just donated to Planned Parenthood to make up shortfall from shameful abandonment by Susan G.
#Komen Fdn," tweeted @KTKeith.