On January 31, 2012, the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation announced that it will no longer make grants to the Planned Parenthood Breast Health Fund.
During the last five years, SGK provided grants to the Fund which enabled Planned Parenthood health centers to provide nearly 170,000 breast exams to low income and uninsured women and men. SGK announced that the reason for terminating its contributions to the Fund is because of SGK’s newly adopted policy barring grants to organizations that are under investigation by local, state or federal authorities.
SGK states that this policy applies to Planned Parenthood because United States Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) launched an inquiry last year seeking to determine whether public funds had been improperly spent on abortions.
However, this SGK policy is merely a ruse. The real impetus for the future withholding of grants to the Fund is because of the mission of SGK’s new Senior Vice President, Karen Handel. Ms. Handel ran for governor of Georgia in 2010 on an aggressively anti-choice and anti-Planned Parenthood platform and was endorsed by Sarah Palin because of Ms. Handel’s opposition to reproductive choice.
During her campaign for governor, Ms. Handel stated: "During my time as Chairman of Fulton County, there were federal and state pass-through grants that were awarded to Planned Parenthood for breast and cervical cancer screening, as well as a ‘Healthy Babies Initiative.’ ” “Since grants like these are from the state I'll eliminate them as your next Governor.”
Luckily, Ms. Handel lost her bid during the gubernatorial primary to be Georgia’s next governor which means that Georgians will continue to be able to receive necessary health care.
Unluckily, she joined SGK and embarked on her mission to deny SGK funding to the Breast Health Fund. So even though not a penny of any SGK grants went to fund contraception or the termination of any pregnancy at any Planned Parenthood facility, Ms. Handel and SGK have no compunction against cutting off funding even though all the funds provided by the grants were actually used to provide breast cancer screenings which resulted in saving lives of both women and men.
So the real issue is reproductive freedom. Certainly as an organization SGK may adopt and abide by any tenet it wishes to, including being an organization that opposes reproductive freedom.
But it needs to be honest about it. The reason that SGK has been dishonest about it is because donors like me and the millions of other women and men who support reproductive freedom will no longer financially support SGK and it does not want to lose even a single donation. SGK wants to have it both ways and that is just not going to happen.
Predictably, supporters of reproductive freedom have decried SGK’s decision and those opposed to reproductive freedom have lauded it. New York’s Mayor Bloomberg announced that the Bloomberg Family Trust would match donations to the Planned Parenthood Breast Health Fund dollar for dollar up to a total of $250,000.
That pleases me since that means that my donation to the Fund today will be doubled. I also made a donation to Planned Parenthood of Pasadena and San Gabriel Valley, Inc. so that women and men in my own backyard who seek it will be able to secure the health services they require.