Dear Commons Community,
On Tuesday, the Komen Foundation, the nation’s leading breast-cancer charity, halted its grants to Planned Parenthood affiliates. Planned Parenthood said the grants totaled $680,000 last year and $580,000 the year before for breast-cancer screening and other related services. The rationale for the change in policy has been sketchy but The Huffington Post’s Laura Bassett reported that the move came less than a year after the Komen Foundation hired a new vice president, Karen Handel, who publicly stated her opposition to Planned Parenthood in her 2010 campaign for governor of Georgia. The Foundation said that the cutoff comes as the result of new rules adopted by the organization barring grants to organizations under investigation by local, state or federal authorities. Planned Parenthood is the focus of an inquiry by Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) over its handling of federal funding.
The Huffington Post is also reporting that there is a growing backlash if not furor against the Komen Foundation over its decision.
“Dr. Kathy Plesser, a Manhattan radiologist on the medical advisory board of Susan G. Komen for the Cure’s New York chapter, said she plans to resign from her position unless Komen reverses its decision to pull grant money from Planned Parenthood.
“I’m a physician and my interest is women’s health, and I am disturbed by Komen’s decision because I am a very strong advocate for serving under-served women,” Plesser told The Huffington Post. “Eliminating this funding will mean there’s no place for these women to go. Where are these women to go to have a mammography? Do they not deserve to have mammography?”
With her decision, Plesser joins Komen’s top public health official, Mollie Williams, and the executive director of Komen’s Los Angeles County chapter, Deb Anthony, both of whom also resigned in protest.”
In addition, Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.) said that he personally called Komen founder Nancy Brinker to complain when he heard the news on Tuesday, and he and 22 other members of the House of Representatives have signed onto a letter asking her to reverse her decision.
A similar letter was signed by two dozen senators.
Since the Komen Foundation cut ties, Planned Parenthood has seen a huge influx in donations, including an announcement Thursday that New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg would be donating $250,000.