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

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.”  (See below for full statement.)

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 pennyless, 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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Amy and Lee Fikes Announce $250,000 Gift to Create Planned Parenthood Breast Health Fund:

"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.
 
"Women of all economic levels need breast health screenings, referrals and education, which is what Planned Parenthood provides in communities across the country, especially to low-income women who have no other place to turn. Planned Parenthood's quality, accessibility, and affordability makes it a leader in enabling women to have early screening and support when there is the best chance of successful treatment.

"As a family with a breast cancer survivor, we lament the decision of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation to abandon women who get their health care at Planned Parenthood clinics. 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."

 

 

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Contacts

Planned Parenthood Media Office, 212-261-4433

Published: 01.31.12

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