by Bill Forman
First the bad: If supporting breast exams for low-income women is something you believe in, the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation is probably not the best destination for your donations.
America’s highest-profile breast cancer organization is cutting off funds to Planned Parenthood in what appears to be a concession to anti-abortion groups.
According to a CBS news story posted this morning:
Komen says the key reason is that Planned Parenthood is under investigation in Congress - a probe launched by a conservative Republican who was urged to act by anti-abortion groups. Komen spokeswoman Leslie Aun said the charity recently adopted criteria barring grants to organizations that are under investigation by local, state or federal authorities.
The good news, at least comparatively, is that Planned Parenthood has just announced the establishment of a direct emergency Breast Health Fund in order to continue its cancer screenings.
Here’s a statement from the Amy and Lee Fikes Foundation, which has launched the fund with a $250,000 gift:
"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."
Find more information about the fund here.