Reporting Dr. Maria Simbra
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The breast cancer advocacy group Susan G. Komen for the Cure has withdrawn funding to Planned Parenthood – money that had been used for breast exams and mammograms.
“We’re very disappointed,” said Pittsburgh’s Planned Parenthood CEO, Kim Everett. “This is clearly bowing to political pressure. This is not about women’s health care. This is not about helping women obtain access to breast cancer screening services. This is political.”
“As an affiliate, we are bound by the guidelines,” says Susan G. Komen for the Cure Pittsburgh affiliate executive director Kathy Purcell. “We certainly understand everyone’s concerns; some people are very angry. We do want to keep assuring people in this area that women will still be funded, and that’s important to us.”
Planned Parenthood provides family planning and other women’s health services. Susan G. Komen for the Cure calls it a strategic decision, in response to an investigation in the use of taxpayer money by Planned Parenthood.
“I don’t think they expected the outcries to be as numerous,” says Purcell. “So I think it remains to be seen what will happen.”
Locally, the effect will be minimal. The Komen Foundation does not directly fund Planned Parenthood, but partners with another organization that gives vouchers for mammograms to Planned Parenthood clients.
“We funded close to 10,000 mammograms,” says Purcell. “With that number, I would not want to see those women and men not be able to be helped.”
People are already showing they are willing to help Planned Parenthood.
“A couple of donors have already stepped up to the plate and have provided Planned Parenthood with some money to start their own fund for breast cancer screening,” says Everett.
Both organizations have received many calls from people angry about the decision. There has even been talk of a race to rival the Komen Foundation’s big event in May, the Race for the Cure. Kathy Purcell says the local Komen affiliate is keeping the national organization aware of what they are hearing, and encourages people to contact the national organization directly as well.