Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the world's largest grassroots network of breast cancer survivors and activists, made a shocking announcement Tuesday afternoon--they're ending their longtime partnership with Planned Parenthood. SGK's Facebook page has been flooded with reactions since then. Nancy G. Brinker, the organization's founder and ambassador, uploaded a video meant to give "straight talk" about the controversial decision. The choice to siphon most future grant money away from Planned Parenthood and into other organizations is allegedly due to "new granting strategies." However, many pro-choice women are finding it hard to ignore the political implications surrounding the announcement.
It's been a rough year for Planned Parenthood. Only 11 months ago, supporters (myself included) took to the streets around the country, protesting threats to defund the non-profit organization which depends on grants and donors to provide life-saving services.
This is yet another blow to an organization designed to provide reproductive health--as well as maternal and child health--services at an affordable price. Planned Parenthood has received federal funding since 1970. Since then, Planned Parenthood has offered birth control, pap smears, breast exams, cancer screenings, and abortions to those who otherwise would not be able to afford them.
Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, responded, “We are alarmed and saddened that the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation appears to have succumbed to political pressure." She added, "We want to assure women who rely on Planned Parenthood for breast care that we’re still here for them, and we always will be."
I know I'm not alone in considering this an extremely important issue. Many women in my family are breast cancer survivors, and I've been raised understanding the need for regular screenings, to aid in early detection. An underfunded Planned Parenthood is a terrifying prospect to me, especially since I know many young women whose annual appointment at the clinic is literally the only time they see a doctor.
If you'd like to donate money to ensure a future of affordable women's health, the fine people at Good.is have compiled a list of alternative organizations which can do great things with your contributions. Planned Parenthood is an obvious choice, and you can donate locally here to ensure the clinics in your community benefit from your gift. You can also donate to an anti-cancer organization who won't sell out to an anti-choice agenda. Breast Cancer Action, the National Breast Cancer Coalition, and the Women's Community Cancer Project are three organizations with explicitly feminist roots. Donating to African American Breast Cancer Alliance or Black Women's Health Imperative will help women of color, the people who are statistically hurt the most by this decision.
Amazingly, in the 24 hours following Susan G. Komen's announcement, Planned Parenthood received over $400,000 in online donations from more than 6,000 people. This almost matches the $680,000 received from Komen last year. Michael Bloomberg, New York City's billionaire mayor with an interest in public health, has promised a $250,000 matching donation: he will donate $1 for every new dollar raised up to $250,000. People have spoken with their wallets and "I stand by Planned Parenthood" is the resounding answer.
Image source flickr