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"Alarmed and Saddened" by Komen Foundation Succumbing to Political Pressure, Planned Parenthood Launches Fund for Breast Cancer Services

Contacts

Gina Popovic
Executive Vice President
509-241-4277
gina.popovic@ppgwni.org


Published: 01.31.12| Updated: 01.31.12

EASTERN WASHINGTON – Planned Parenthood of Greater Washington and North Idaho (PPGWNI) today expressed deep disappointment in response to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation’s decision to stop funding breast cancer prevention, screenings, and education at Planned Parenthood health centers. Anti-women’s health groups have repeatedly targeted and boycotted the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation for partnering with Planned Parenthood to provide these lifesaving cancer screenings and news articles suggest that the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation ultimately succumbed to these pressures.

“As a health care provider to more than 36,000 women in our community, Planned Parenthood is a trusted leader in helping women identify breast cancer early. Women are deeply alarmed that the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation appears to have succumbed to political pressure from a vocal minority”, said Karl Eastlund, President & CEO of PPGWNI. “For years, opponents of women’s health have waged an aggressive pressure campaign aimed at the Susan G. Komen Foundation at the expense of women’s health and lives.”

In the last few weeks, the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation has begun notifying local Planned Parenthood programs that their breast cancer initiatives will not be eligible for new grants beyond existing agreements or plans. The Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation’s leadership did not respond to Planned Parenthood requests to meet with the Foundation’s Board of Directors about the decision.

To ensure that the Komen Foundation’s decision doesn’t jeopardize any woman’s access to lifesaving screenings and services, Planned Parenthood has launched a Breast Health Emergency Fund. The fund will offset the support that local Planned Parenthood programs stand to lose from Komen. The Komen-funded Planned Parenthood programs have helped thousands of women in rural and underserved communities get breast health education, screenings, and referrals for mammograms. “Last year 300 eastern Washington women accessed these funds for follow up care. Planned Parenthood will never let politics trump the health and care of these mothers, daughters and wives,” Eastlund said.

The Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation has funded nearly $80,000 in breast health programs at PPGWNI since 2008. The funded programs paid for the breast health portion of well woman exams for low-income, uninsured patients. The Komen-funded Planned Parenthood programs have been instrumental in helping women, especially in rural and underserved communities, get breast health care and detect breast cancer early. “Since receiving funds from the Susan G. Komen Foundation, we’ve seen a remarkable increase in compliance to physician-recommended breast rechecks,” said Eastlund.

“While this is deeply disturbing and disappointing, we want to assure women who rely on Planned Parenthood for breast care that we’re still here for them, and we always will be. The new fund we’re launching to support these services will ensure that the Komen Foundation’s decision doesn’t jeopardize women’s health,” said Eastlund.

Over the past five years, Planned Parenthood health centers with Komen program funding have provided nearly 170,000 clinical breast exams out of the more than four million clinical breast exams performed nationwide at Planned Parenthood health centers, as well as more than 6,400 mammogram referrals out of 70,000 mammogram referrals. Anti-choice groups in America have repeatedly threatened the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation for partnering with Planned Parenthood to provide these lifesaving cancer screenings.

Planned Parenthood's quality, accessibility and affordability make it a leader in identifying breast cancer early when there is the best chance of successful treatment. Nationwide, Planned Parenthood doctors and nurses provide nearly 750,000 breast cancer screenings annually, offering risk assessments, breast exams, breast health information and education, and diagnostic and surgical referrals.

Led by a generous $250,000 gift from Amy and Lee Fikes’ foundation, Planned Parenthood has established a Breast Health Emergency Fund to provide immediate funding to ensure that Planned Parenthood health centers can continue to provide breast cancer screenings and care that had previously been supported by Komen.

One in five women in America has come to Planned Parenthood at some point in her life. More than 90 percent of Planned Parenthood health care is preventive, including lifesaving cancer screenings, birth control, prevention and treatment of STDs, breast health services, Pap tests, and sexual health education and information.

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PPGWNI is a non-profit, 501(c)3 organization with health centers located in Ellensburg, Kennewick, Pasco, Pullman, Spokane, Spokane Valley, Sunnyside, Walla Walla, and Yakima. PPGWNI exists to provide exceptional reproductive and complementary health care services, honest education, and fearless advocacy for all. Call 1-866-904-7721 or visit www.ppgwni.org for more information.

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