“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. This was in reaction to a decision by CURE to stop funding breast cancer prevention, screenings and education at Planned Parenthood facilities.
For its part, Komen foundation grants totalled roughly $680,000 last year and $580,000 the year before, going to at least 19 of Planned Parenthood sites, ostensibly for breast-cancer screening and other breast-health services. Komen spokeswoman Leslie Aun said the decision stems from the foundation’s newly adopted criteria barring grants to organizations that are under investigation by local, state or federal authorities. According to Komen, this applies to Planned Parenthood because it is the focus of an inquiry on the part of Rep. Cliff Stearns, R-Fla., who wants to know if public money was improperly spent on abortions.
According to Planned Parenthood, the Komen Foundation had begun notifying local Planned Parenthood programs that their breast cancer programs would no longer 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. “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.
Planned Parenthood has responded by launching its own Breast Health Emergency Fund. The fund will offset the support that 19 local Planned Parenthood programs stand to lose from Komen. Planned Parenthood has already received a pledge from Amy and Lee Fikes of $250,000 for the fund.
Planned Parenthood claims that funding from the Komen Foundation allowed for nearly 170,000 clinical breast exams out of the more than four million clinical breast exams performed nationwide at Planned Parenthood facilities. In its news release, Planned Parenthood lashed out at its opponents for Komen’s decision, “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.” As Amy and Lee Fikes, they were quoted on the Planned Parenthood as saying, “...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.”
The Komen foundation has invested more than $1.9 billion since 1982 in breast-cancer research, health services and advocacy. Its Race for the Cure fundraising events have become a global phenomenon. However, Komen has been a target of pro-lifers since it began its partnerships with Planned Parenthood in 2005.
Organizations that have been critical of the involvement of the Komen Foundation with Planned Parenthood are Texas Right to Life. Prolifers have also expressed opposition online at websites such as PinkRibbonScandal.com In October 2011, observed as Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Texas Right to Life and PinkRibbonScandal called for an end to Komen foundation funding of Planned Parenthood. "Texas Right to Life urges Susan G. Komen Foundation to stop sponsoring Planned Parenthood immediately and to start benefiting real health clinics for women. Furthermore, Texas Right to Life calls on Pro-Life individuals to boycott the Susan G. Komen Foundation and its 'Race for the Cure' until Komen severs all ties and affiliations with Planned Parenthood."
Prolife group Life Decisions International included Komen on its "boycott list" of companies and organizations that support or collaborate with Planned Parenthood. In December, Lifeway Christian Resources, the publishing division of the Southern Baptist Convention announced a recall of pink Bibles it had sold because some of the money generated for Komen was being routed to Planned Parenthood.