Komen Foundation Defunding Of Planned Parenthood: Major Backfire
Dr. Kathy Plesser, a member of the medical advisory board of the Komen Foundation chapter in New York, stated that she “plans to resign from her position unless Komen reverses its decision to pull grant money from Planned Parenthood,” according to the Huffington Post. The top public health official of the Komen Foundation and the executive director of the Los Angeles chapter of the foundation have already resigned in protest.
23 members of the House of Representatives have signed a letter asking the Komen Foundation to reverse their decision regarding funds to Planned Parenthood. The letter reads, in part:
“This is an alarming development resulting from political pressure from anti-women’s health organizations…We ask – in the strongest possible terms – that Susan G. Komen reconsider its decision, as the health of millions of brave women everywhere demands the same kind of bravery exhibited the Komen Foundation."
26 senators also signed a letter to the Komen Foundation, expressing their disappointment with the foundation’s decision.
Furthermore, within 24 hours of the Komen Foundation’s announcement, Planned Parenthood received $400,000 in donations. Mayor Bloomberg stated Thursday that he will also make a donation to Planned Parenthood, in the amount of $1 for every new dollar Planned Parenthood raises up to $250,000. As the New York Times reports, the mayor stated:
“Politics have no place in health care…Breast cancer screening saves lives and hundreds of thousands of women rely on Planned Parenthood for access to care. We should be helping women access that care, not placing barriers in their way.”
It turns out that the Komen Foundation’s termination of support for Planned Parenthood helped Planned Parenthood, perhaps more than continuing their support would have.
Cecile Richards, the president of Planned Parenthood, made a statement in response to the mayor’s pledge:
“On behalf of hundreds of thousands of women nationwide who rely on Planned Parenthood for breast cancer education and screening, we are enormously grateful to Mayor Bloomberg. This contribution will help ensure that politics don’t interfere with women having access to health care. People all across the country have stepped forward in the last 48 hours to offer help and support, and the mayor’s donation will help ensure that no woman is denied breast cancer services because of right-wing political pressure campaigns.”
Not only has support flooded in to Planned Parenthood through the avenues of strongly worded letters and monetary funding, but individuals have found ways to support the federation through social media, including critical comments on the Komen’s Facebook. Hackers, overnight, altered the Komen Foundation’s homepage to read, “Susan G. Komen Marathon for the Cure: Help us run over poor women on our way to the bank.”
What all this criticism of the Komen Foundation and support of Planned Parenthood signify is that women’s health is an issue many are not willing to sacrifice to anti-choice activists attempting to limit women’s reproductive rights by defunding Planned Parenthood, because those activists, in the process, limit essential women’s health services. These demonstrations of support for Planned Parenthood by individuals in this country have indicated that that course of action is unacceptable, and will not be tolerated. The overwhelming support shown for Planned Parenthood is not only a lesson to those who wish to curtail women’s rights, but it is also a victory for women’s health.