Thursday, February 02, 2012

Susan G. Komen Foundation Ends Grants to Planned Parenthood

Much has been made of the news that the Susan G. Komen foundation will not be renewing grants to Planned Parenthood. This is a decision by the national organization.

Not all local affiliates are affected, however. Take the Denver Planned Parenthood affiliate, for example:

While the Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation is halting its partnerships with Planned Parenthood affiliates across the country, the Denver affiliate of the group is not.

Susan G. Komen foundation denies political motivation in ending the grants.

"We are dismayed and extremely disappointed that actions we have taken to strengthen our granting process have been widely mischaracterized," the organization said Wednesday afternoon.

Its statement continued: "Throughout our 30 year history, our priority has always been and will continue to be the women we serve. As we move forward, we are working to ensure that there is no interruption or gaps in services for the women who need our support most in the fight against breast cancer."

Komen spokeswoman Leslie Aun said the national cutoff comes from the charity's newly adopted criteria barring grants to organizations that are under investigation by local, state or federal authorities. According to Komen, this applies to Planned Parenthood because it's the focus of an inquiry launched by Rep. Cliff Stearns, R-Fla., seeking to determine whether public money was improperly spent on abortions.

As would be predicted, social conservatives are cheering the end of the Komen grants to Planned Parenthood while those more liberal leaning on social issues are frustrated by the decision. One thing is for certain, though, and that is that Planned Parenthood is not an organization finding a cure for breast cancer while the Susan G. Komen foundation is just that.

The fact is, while some offices may do a very rudimentary breast exam, none of the offices do anything in the way of real diagnostic examinations for breast health. They provide referrals. And some offices do follow-up exams.

Using the Denver affiliate again:

In 2010, the Denver affiliate grant to Planned Parenthood provided breast health/cancer education to 2,264 women, 601 clinical breast examinations and referred and paid for 57 mammograms, officials said.
Komen said 125 of those women were referred for additional diagnostics.

A common complaint of social conservatives is with the question of why the Susan G. Komen foundation even got into the grant business with Planned Parenthood in the first place, in 2005. Now, to hear the Planned Parenthood people respond, it is the work of the far right conservatives that has caused the cessation.

Planned Parenthood said the Komen grants totaled roughly $680,000 last year and $580,000 the year before. The money helped pay for breast-cancer screening and other breast-health services at Planned Parenthood.

According to Planned Parenthood, its centers performed more than 4 million breast exams over the past five years, including nearly 170,000 as a result of Komen grants.

So, even Planned Parenthood's own figures show that Komen grants weren't that big of a part of their programs. Komen is in the arena to find a cure for breast cancer while the main focus of Planned Parenthood is birth control and, in more recent years, abortion services. The abortion issue was the reason social conservatives were opposed to the alliance.

Komen, founded in 1982, has invested more than $1.9 billion in breast-cancer research, health services and advocacy. Its Race for the Cure fundraising events have become a global phenomenon.

Also, some grant money has gone to embryonic stem cell research in past years, which has now been terminated. Here is the foundation's new policy statement:

“Komen supports research on the isolation, derivation, production, and testing of stem cells that are capable of producing all or almost all of the cell types of the developing body and may result in improved understanding of or treatments for breast cancer, but are derived without creating a human embryo or destroying a human embryo,” Komen says. “A priority in our research funding is to quickly find and deliver effective treatments, especially for the most lethal forms of breast cancer, while seeking effective preventive strategies, enhanced screening methodologies, and solutions to disparities in breast cancer outcomes for diverse women.”

Actually, this is reasonable. Little has been found from embryonic stem cell research, it is adult stem cell research that has bore fruit. The majority of this research is the result of public/private partnerships.

Planned Parenthood is the country's largest provider of abortion services. It also, however, provides basic female health care services.

"It is the biggest abortion franchise in the nation. One in 10 of its clients receive abortions," Dannenfelser said on NPR's Talk of the Nation last month. "A quarter of abortions occurring in this nation are performed by Planned Parenthood clinics."

In fact, Richards notes, 1 in 5 women in the United States has visited a Planned Parenthood clinic. For many women, going to Planned Parenthood is about more than just getting birth control. "For more than half our patients, Planned Parenthood is the only nurse or doctor they will see all year," she says.

Planned Parenthood remains under investigation by the federal government.

The congressional inquiry was launched in September by Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) to determine, among other things, whether Planned Parenthood has used public money to fund abortions. Although Planned Parenthood receives federal money, that money can't be used to provide abortions.

Here are two statements from Stearns on the status of the congressional investigation:

“As Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, I am leading a formal investigation into taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood, which receives over $1 million a day in taxpayer money. Repeated cases of Planned Parenthood ignoring state and local reporting requirements, many involving minors, and allegations of financial abuse led to this investigation – the first ever oversight conducted on this group. We are still working with Planned Parenthood on getting the records and documents for the investigation, and I’m interested in holding a hearing depending on what the investigation discovers.”


“This investigation of Planned Parenthood’s finances and use of taxpayer dollars is ongoing, and we are continuing to work with Planned Parenthood in getting the requested record and documents. I was not contacted by anyone at the Susan G. Komen for the Cure and this decision was solely up to them.”

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