Leigh Anne O’Mealia
The nation’s leading anti-breast-cancer charity, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, has received national attention after the decision—which has since been reversed—to pull $650,000 in funding from Planned Parenthood. Representatives of the charity initially said their decision was not based on anti-abortion politics, but rather, was due to Planned Parenthood’s current congressional investigation.
Since the initial report, it has been confirmed that the charity’s decision to cease Planned Parenthood funding was political and heavily influenced by Karen Handel. It is hard not to see a correlation between Handel’s role at Susan G. Komen for the Cure and the charity’s initial decision, as Handel ran for governor of Georgia with the intention of discontinuing public funding for Planned Parenthood.
This attack on Planned Parenthood is not unprecedented. Rep. Cliff Stearns of Florida, launched the current interrogation to determine whether Planned Parenthood utilizes public funding to sponsor abortions. Jon Kyl, a Republican Senator, said earlier this year that abortion constitutes “well over 90 percent of what Planned Parenthood does.” Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, and Ron Paul—all potential Republican presidential candidates—openly oppose Planned Parenthood.
It is hard to witness the efforts of an organization created to advocate women’s health compromised by one divisive political issue. While Republicans have attempted to disgrace Planned Parenthood for political gain, the organization has publicly announced that abortion-related procedures only account for about 3% of their services. Mainly, Planned Parenthood has given low-income women the opportunity to receive affordable health services, as the organization allocates most of its resources to screen for both breast and cervical cancers, check for sexually transmitted diseases, and treat menopause. Although these services may seem insignificant, the efforts of Planned Parenthood continue to become more important, as breast cancer is the leading cause of death amongst women.
Perhaps the most promising aspect of this debacle is the reassurance that not all people have been tricked by Republican propaganda, as both women and men showed their support for Planned Parenthood through monetary contributions following Susan G. Komen’s fund withdrawl. Even after all the negative publicity, Planned Parenthood raised over $3 million from those concerned about the organization’s vitality. Planned Parenthood was able to acquire almost five times the amount of money Susan G. Komen for the Cure threatened to take away through these donations. Others publicly announced their support for Planned Parenthood, considered by many to be one of the most influential women’s health organizations. Hopefully, the support can continue to withstand negative backlash from those who still disapprove.