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

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Tricia Wajda
Director of Public Affairs
(617) 515-0531


Published: 01.31.12| Updated: 01.31.12

BOSTON– Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts (PPLM) 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 trusted health care provider to thousands of women in our community, PPLM helps 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 Dianne Luby, President/CEO of PPLM. “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.”

While not directly affected by the Komen Foundation’s decision making, PPLM is deeply concerned about the growing precedent of putting politics before women’s health. Preventive care makes up 90 percent of the health services that PPLM provided during almost 45,000 visits with women in 2011. The Komen Foundation’s decision is the latest result of an anti-women’s health agenda to shut down Planned Parenthood. 

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.

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.

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.

Today, the AP reported that the Komen Foundation decided to end funding for Planned Parenthood affiliate programs due to a politically-motivated investigation by Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla). The report noted that 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.

One in five women in America has come to Planned Parenthood at some point in her life. 90 percent of PPLM’s health care services are preventive in nature, including lifesaving cancer screenings, birth control, testing for and treatment of STDs, breast health services, Pap tests, and sexual health education and information.

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.

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Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts is the largest freestanding reproductive health care provider in the state. For over 80 years PPLM has protected and promoted sexual and reproductive health and freedom of choice through clinical services, education and advocacy. For more information, visit www.pplm.org.

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