**FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE**
February 2, 2012
Contact: Aja Worthy-Davis at (212) 788-7081
Elected Officials and Women’s Advocacy Organizations Hold Press Conference Applauding Komen Foundation’s Decision To Continue Distributing Grants to Planned Parenthood
The Komen Foundation Had Previously Halted Grants To Planned Parenthood Under Conservative Pressure
(New York, NY)— On January 31, 2012, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the nation’s largest breast cancer charity, announced they would halt 17 of their 19 partnerships with Planned Parenthood Federation of America affiliates, abruptly ending thousands of dollars in grant funding that went primarily towards breast examinations. On February 3, 2012, the Susan G. Komen Foundation reversed this controversial decision in response to sharp criticism from public health advocates, elected officials, and women’s interest groups nationwide; as well as the threatened resignation of some of the organization’s top officials.
The Komen Foundation asserted that their previous position was not political, but in response to ongoing investigations by the United States Congress into Planned Parenthood. However, the continuous efforts to defund Planned Parenthood— which are being led by conservative factions on the federal level— constitute nothing more than political grandstanding that puts women in need of affordable healthcare at risk. Without doubt, these Congressional investigations are wholly political in nature.
Additionally, it is unlikely that the Komen Foundation’s original decision to cut ties with Planned Parenthood was not politically motivated as well. The Komen Foundation’s Senior Vice President for Public Policy since April 2011 has been Karen Handel, a woman who was endorsed by Sarah Palin during her race for Governor of Georgia in 2010. VP Handel went on record during her unsuccessful campaign as not supporting the “mission of Planned Parenthood”.
In fact, this is not the Komen Foundation’s first conflict over Planned Parenthood since VP Handel joined the non-profit. Late last year, Lifeway Christian Bookstores removed a Bible from stores because the Bible helped raise money for the Komen Foundation, which in turn donates funds to Planned Parenthood. The Bible was sold with the stipulation that $1.00 of each sale go to the Komen Foundation. In response, Komen stated that funding from the sale of the Bible has been “used exclusively to provide breast cancer programs”; however Lifeway stood by their decision, stating a conflict with the company’s “core values to have even an indirect relationship with Planned Parenthood.” Komen’s funding of Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest women’s healthcare provider, paid for an estimated 170,000 breast exams and 5,000 mammograms, detecting 177 cases of cancer from 2007-2011.
Even earlier in 2011, the Komen Foundation was forced to release a statement to further clarify its association with 19 Planned Parenthood programs. The statement asserted that all Komen funding is used by Planned Parenthood for ongoing breast cancer programs.
“The Komen Foundation has done such incredible work promoting women’s health, it is upsetting that they allowed a political agenda to upset that mission and take focus away from the their overall goal,” said Council Member Letitia James. “Breast cancer screenings provided by Planned Parenthood save lives. It is frustrating to see women’s healthcare issues being used as political footballs in 2012. I applaud the Komen’s Foundation’s reverse in their position, and warn the foundation against allowing political agendas to affect their funding decisions in the future.”
“Planned Parenthood of New York City joins women across the five boroughs – and across the country – in celebrating the Susan B. Komen Foundation’s decision to continue its long, successful partnership with Planned Parenthood in the fight against breast cancer,” said Joan Malin, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of New York City. “Like many organizations, the Komen Foundation has come under intense pressure from right-wing organizations that are more concerned with promoting ideology than protecting women’s health. After succumbing briefly to that pressure, and cutting off support to 19 breast health programs sponsored by Planned Parenthood affiliates, the foundation has rightly reversed course. Today it pledged to restore support for breast health programs run by Planned Parenthood health centers.”
“Loss of funding for breast cancer screening endangers the health and well-being of women, especially those low income New Yorkers who rely on Planned Parenthood for such vital services,” said NYC Comptroller John C. Liu. “We are relieved and appreciative that Susan G. Komen for the Cure will continue its grants to Planned Parenthood.”
“I applaud the decision by Susan G. Komen for The Cure to restore their grants to Planned Parenthood,” said Council Member Karen Koslowitz. “The goal of the organization is to promote women’s health through finding a cure for breast cancer and expanding preventative care. Unfortunately, some at the top of the organization put their own far right political agenda above the health and safety of women across the country. The reversal of this misguided policy is a major victory for women’s health.”
“I want to applaud the Komen Foundation for recognizing the role community partners, especially Planned Parenthood, play in the fight against breast cancer,” said Council Member Margaret Chin. “Having easily accessible and unbiased women’s health organizations in our communities allow those who would otherwise be excluded— such as low-income, minority women— to receive comprehensive care. As Republicans step up their attacks on reproductive rights, we need allies that will stand against playing politics with women’s health. I want to take this opportunity to reaffirm my full support for Planned Parenthood and the work that they do in New York City and across our nation.”
“Protecting a women's right to choose is of utmost concern to me,” said Council Member Daniel Dromm. “That is why I was very upset that the Komen foundation pulled the funding from Planned Parenthood. All people, women in particular, need adequate healthcare services and access to family planning. I'm glad to learn that the Komen Foundation has decided to restore funding to Planned Parenthood.”
[THE FOLLOWING QUOTES WERE MADE PRIOR TO KOMEN FOUNDATION REVERSING THEIR DECISION TO HALT FUNDING TO PLANNED PARENTHOOD]
“Grant funding from the Komen Foundation has made it possible for Planned Parenthood doctors and nurses to provide nearly 750,000 breast cancer screenings annually to women nationwide, offering risk assessments, breast exams, breast health information and education, and diagnostic and surgical referrals,” said State Senator Velmanette Montgomery. “The withdrawal of Foundation support is unconscionable.”
“We stand together to denounce the Komen Foundation’s withdrawal of funding from Planned Parenthood,” said Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito. “Planned Parenthood’s efforts save lives by providing health services including breast cancer screening to women. This should not be a pro-choice, anti-choice issue but an issue of protecting women’s health, and on that count, the Komen Foundation’s decision is shameful.”
“If you want to reach millions of women to prevent cancer, you don’t cut off one of the country’s largest suppliers of breast cancer screenings,” said Sonia Ossorio, President of the National Organization for Women in NYC. “This is a reckless and irresponsible decision by the Komen Foundation, one that should be reconsidered.”
"The assault on Planned Parenthood is a calculated political assault by conservatives and we will not stand by as crucial funding for services for middle class and lower income women are abolished. If they pull out, we pull out! No more donations to the Susan G. Komen Foundation!” said Tamika D. Mallory, NAN National Executive Director.
“I Stand with Planned Parenthood because they have been there for me and now I want to be there for them, and for all the women whose lives were saved because of the very important work they do,” said political satirist and author Lizz Winstead.
“The Komen Foundation's decision to halt grants to Planned Parenthood sends a strong and chilling message,” said Joanna Zannoni, Executive Director of the New York State Coalition Against Sexual Assault. “And those of us who believe that affordable healthcare for women is vital can send an equally strong message by making a donation to Planned Parenthood.”
On February 2, 2012, Mayor Michael Bloomberg pledged $250,000 to Planned Parenthood in reaction to the news. The Komen Foundation gave an estimated $700,000 annually to Planned Parenthood.
WHAT: Press conference Applauding Komen Foundation’s Decision To Continue Distributing Grants to Planned Parenthood
WHEN: February 3, 2012
WHERE: steps of City Hall