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Planned Parenthood Statement on Komen Foundation Succumbing to Political Pressure and Ending Breast Cancer Prevention Funding

Published: | Updated: 01.31.12

Minneapolis, MN– Planned Parenthood 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 60,000 women in our community, Planned Parenthood is trusted a 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 Sarah Stoesz, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota (PPMNS). “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, PPMNS is deeply concerned about the troubling precedent of putting politics before women’s health. Last year alone, PPMNS provided 15,244 breast exams and screenings to women in the region who may not have otherwise had access to health care that would help them detect breast cancer early.

“In these tough economic times, more women than ever need access to essential health care services like lifesaving breast cancer screenings. Politics should never get in the way of a woman’s ability to access health care,” said Stoesz.

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. 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.

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. Over the past five years, Planned Parenthood health centers with Komen program funding have provided nearly 170,000 clinical breast exams as well as more than 6,400 mammogram referrals.

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 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.

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For more than 80 years, Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota has worked in our region to make sure all people have the information and the means to make free and responsible decisions about whether and when to have children. Planned Parenthood operates 20 clinics in Minnesota and South Dakota and an Online Health Center, providing quality and affordable family planning, reproductive health care services and education to nearly 64,000 women and men each year.

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