HEALTH

Komen for the Cure confronts backlash over cutting Planned Parenthood

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"People respond powerfully when they see politics interfering with women's health," she said. "These donations will continue to help expand Planned Parenthood's critical health care services nationwide, especially those affiliates impacted by the Komen cuts."

Several members of Congress who support abortion rights voiced dismay at the grant cutoff.

"I was perplexed and troubled to see the decision by Susan G. Komen for the Cure to cut off funding for lifesaving breast cancer screenings through Planned Parenthood because of a political witch hunt by House Republicans," said Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif. "I truly hope that they will reconsider this decision and put the needs of women first."

The progressive group MoveOn.org launched an online petition calling on Komen to maintain its grants to Planned Parenthood. It said 60,000 people had signed in a matter of hours.

Komen won praise from anti-abortion activists such as Charmaine Yoest, president of Americans United for Life.

"The work of the Komen Foundation has lifesaving potential and should not be intertwined with an industry dealing in death," said Yoest, a breast-cancer survivor.

She said she had stopped running in Komen's Race for the Cure because of its ties with Planned Parenthood, but "in the future, I'll be racing with them to support this courageous decision."

Komen, based in Dallas and founded in 1982, has invested more than $1.9 billion since then in research, health services and advocacy while becoming the largest breast-cancer charity in the nation. Its Race for the Cure fundraising events have become a global phenomenon.

Editorials about Komen's decision were published by several newspapers.

"Komen caved to political pressure," wrote editorial writer Tod Robberson in the Dallas Morning News. "The next time Komen for the Cure comes asking us for an editorial supporting one of their local events, I'm going the think twice."

The Star-Ledger in New Jersey took a more nuanced view.

"It's hard to see who the winners are in this mess," it wrote. "As so often happens when their bodies become a political battleground, women ultimately lose."

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