As Planned Parenthood faces repeated attacks on federal funding from legislators who seem happy to disregard women’s health as some minor fringe issue, it depends more and more on individuals and organizations that see women’s health as an essential and integral part of people’s health in general–because women are people, see–and are willing to open their hearts and wallets. This used to include Susan G. Komen for the Cure, which provided hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants to fund breast cancer screenings and education through Planned Parenthood. Used to. Komen is in the process of breaking off its partnership with Planned Parenthood, pulling back funds in the neighborhood of $600,000 a year.
According to a statement released by Planned Parenthood, the Komen Foundation began notifying local programs that their grants would not be renewed and hasn’t been willing to sit down with representatives from the national organization to explain what the hell is going on.
Komen’s explanation is that under their own newly adopted guidelines, they’re no longer allowed to give money to organizations under investigation by Congress. (In September, the House Oversight Committee launched an inquiry into Planned Parenthood’s use of federal funds.) It’s also worth noting, of course, that Komen’s new aggressively anti-choice vice president, Karen Handel, ran for governor of Georgia in 2010 on a platform of defunding Planned Parenthood. In a statement, Komen denied that the cuts are politically motivated (of course not) and said that they must “evolve to best meet the needs of the women [they] serve and most fully advance [their] mission,” which I thought was promoting breast health and keeping women from dying of cancer, but I’ve been wrong before.
Sadly, Planned Parenthood is not unused to falling victim to politics, but it rather smarts when the middle finger has a pink ribbon around it from an organization ostensibly devoted to women’s health. If you had some money set aside for a golf visor or a t-shirt or a cup of yogurt with a pink ribbon on it, Planned Parenthood is establishing a Breast Health Emergency Fund to try and regain some of the lost funds.