Breast Cancer Charity Pulls Funds From Planned Parenthood

Meghan McCarthy

A major breast-cancer charity has cut off support for Planned Parenthood because of controversy over abortion and the group’s standing as a provider of generalized women’s health services. Planned Parenthood accused Susan G. Komen for the Cure of giving in to political pressure.

“We are alarmed and saddened that the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation appears to have succumbed to political pressure. Our greatest desire is for Komen to reconsider this policy and recommit to the partnership on which so many women count,” said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, in a statement.

Planned Parenthood has been under attack from conservatives at the state and federal levels. The Republican House has repeatedly tried to strip the organization of federal funding over the past year, and GOP governors have tried to keep state Medicaid dollars away from the organization.

The Komen decision won’t put Planned Parenthood out of business. The health services group says that the Komen foundation has provided 19 clinics between $500,000 and $700,000 since 2005. That money paid for nearly 170,000 breast examinations out of the 4 million performed at Planned Parenthood clinics. It also covered 6,400 mammogram referrals of the 70,000 total referrals made at clinics.

To make up for the loss, Planned Parenthood has established a “Breast Health Emergency Fund” of $250,000 from the Amy and Lee Fikes foundation.

The Susan G. Komen Foundation did not return an immediate request for comment. According to the Associated Press, Komen spokeswoman Leslie Aun said that the charity cut off ties with Planned Parenthood because it is under investigation by Rep. Cliff Stearns, R-Fla., concerning the possible improper spending of federal funds on abortions.

Planned Parenthood and Democrats on Capitol Hill characterize the Stearns investigation as a political tactic. Conservatives target Planned Parenthood because it supports abortion rights, but the organizations points out that its clinics are the only source of health care for many women.