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

National Press Statement

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 31, 2012

Contacts

Local contact: Sharon Kunkel, 941.365.3913 x1105


Published: 01.31.12| Updated: 02.03.12

Komen Foundation Reverses Decision on Planned Parenthood Grants

 

Statement by Cecile Richards:

Planned Parenthood Federation of America

 

 The outpouring of support for women in need of lifesaving breast cancer screening this week has been astonishing and is a testament to our nation's compassion and sincerity.

 

During the last week, millions spontaneously joined a national conversation about lifesaving breast cancer prevention care and reinforced shared values about access to health care for all.  This compassionate outcry in support of those most in need rose above political, ideological, and cultural divides, and will surely be recognized as one of our nation's better moments during a contentious political time.  Planned Parenthood thanks each and every person who has contributed to elevating the importance of breast cancer prevention for so many women in need.

 

In recent weeks, the treasured relationship between the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation and Planned Parenthood has been challenged, and we are now heartened that we can continue to work in partnership toward our shared commitment to breast health for the most underserved women.  We are enormously grateful that the Komen Foundation has clarified its grantmaking criteria, and we look forward to continuing our partnership with Komen partners, leaders and volunteers.  What these past few days have demonstrated is the deep resolve all Americans share in the fight against cancer, and we honor those who are at the helm of this battle.

 

Planned Parenthood has been a trusted partner with the Komen Foundation in early cancer detection and prevention services.  In particular, Planned Parenthood helps the Komen Foundation reach vulnerable populations — low-income women, African-American women, and Latinas — especially in rural areas and underserved communities where Planned Parenthood health centers are their only source of health care.  With Komen Foundation grants, over the past five years, Planned Parenthood health centers provided nearly 170,000 clinical breast exams and more than 6,400 mammogram referrals.  With the outpouring of support over the past week, even more women in need will receive lifesaving breast cancer care.

 

NEW YORK – Planned Parenthood Federation of America 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-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 and news articles suggest that the Komen Foundation ultimately succumbed to these pressures.

"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 the last few weeks, the Komen 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 Komen Foundation’s leadership did not respond to Planned Parenthood requests to meet with the Komen 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 19 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.

"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,” added Richards.

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.

Amy and Lee Fikes said: “Our family is saddened that the far right has relentlessly and successfully pressured the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation to cut funding for breast screening, referral, and education support to low-income women who, until now, have been able to depend on the partnership between Komen and Planned Parenthood for their health. In response to this disappointing news, our family foundation has granted $250,000 to establish a Breast Health Fund at Planned Parenthood, so that their health centers across the country can continue to put the real needs of women ahead of right wing ideology. We encourage others to join us in replacing the funds lost, so that no woman’s health is imperiled by Komen’s unfortunate decision.

Abigail Sanocki, in Denver, Colorado, is one of the thousands of women who have received critical treatment at Planned Parenthood thanks to funding from the Komen Foundation. She said: In January of 2010 I found a lump in my left breast. At the time I was unemployed (like many others in the nation), and considering having to ignore it. However, at my annual exam, I did have one of Planned Parenthood's doctors look at it, and was encouraged to get an ultrasound, which then lead to me having to have the lump biopsied. The total estimated costs for the ultrasound and needle biopsy, which had to be done through an outside health institution would have been over $7000. I was nearly penniless, without insurance, and terrified about the possibilities of where the results of this biopsy could have led.... Without Planned Parenthood, I would still be walking around years later unsure of what was going on inside my body and the immediate future of my health.

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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