On Tuesday, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, one of the most trusted and effective charitable organizations in the United States, abruptly announced it would no longer be awarding grants to Planned Parenthood, perhaps the most trusted charitable organization in women’s and reproductive health.
The backlash against Komen has been swift. Millions of pro-choice activists are calling the move an entirely political one, putting religious dogma ahead of women’s health.
And I believe they’re right. The head of Komen is Nancy Brinker, the former Ambassador to Hungary under President George W. Bush and an activist in her own right with strong ties to the GOP. The Senior Vice President for Public Policy, Karen Handel, is a former GOP gubernatorial candidate for Georgia and stated during her campaign that she doesn’t support Planned Parenthood and promised to eliminate funding for cancer examinations provided by Planned Parenthood.
This is, in short, a game of politics that is putting the lives of millions of impoverished women (and men, who also have been known to receive services from Planned Parenthood) at risk.
I’ve participated in two Susan G. Komen Races for the Cure, and I had a great time volunteering. Breast cancer is the leading cause of cancerous death among women, comprising a whopping 22.9% of all cancer-related deaths.
So, it should follow that an organization that touts itself as the preeminent organization in the fight against breast cancer would wholly support, without reservation, partner organizations whose time and energy is invested in saving the lives of women with this terrible health condition.
And yet, Komen has made the decision to eliminate hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants to an organization that saves lives.
Planned Parenthood, make no mistake about it, is a life-saving organization. Annually, it conducts more than a million screenings for cervical cancer and 830,000 breast exams, among many other health services.
The result? Hundreds of thousands of women have either a new lease on life when cancer is detected and swiftly eliminated or they, at least, have a head start in the fight.
Of the more than 11,000,000 medical procedures conducted by Planned Parenthood, do you know what percentage are linked to abortion?
3 percent. That’s it.
Komen is putting hundreds of thousands of lives at danger because an organization they’re funding provides safe and legal abortions for impoverished women.
Oh, the horror.
By the way, I count myself as pro-life, but that’s exactly why I stand with Planned Parenthood: Because their fight against disease and cancer has saved millions of lives over the past century at little or no cost to those who can’t afford treatment, elsewhere.
So, Komen, as much as I support the fight against breast cancer, I will not support an organization that puts politics ahead of women’s health.
Shame on you.