Categorized | Government, Health, News

Senator Akaka and colleagues urge Susan G. Komen for the Cure to reinstate funding Planned Parenthood

MEDIA RELEASE

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Daniel K. Akaka (D-Hawaii) joined 25 Senate colleagues in calling on Ambassador Nancy Brinker, Founder and CEO of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, to reconsider her organization’s decision to stop funding cancer screenings at Planned Parenthood.

“It would be tragic if any woman—let alone thousands of women— lost access to these potentially life-saving screenings because of a politically motivated attack,” the Senators wrote.

Senator Akaka joined Senators Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ), Patty Murray (D-WA), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Mark Begich (D-AK), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Jon Tester (D-MT), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Max Baucus (D-MT), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Al Franken (D-MN), John Kerry (D-MA), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Chris Coons (D-DE), and Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) in signing the letter.

Letter from the senators:

February 2, 2012

Nancy G. Brinker
Founder and Chief Executive Officer
Susan G. Komen for the Cure

Dear Ambassador Brinker,

We write to express our disappointment with Susan G. Komen for the Cure’s decision to cut funding for breast cancer prevention, screening, and education at Planned Parenthood health centers. This troubling decision threatens to reduce access to necessary, life-saving services. We urge Komen to reconsider its decision.

Planned Parenthood is a trusted provider of health care for women and men. More than 90 percent of the services provided by Planned Parenthood are primary and preventative including wellness exams and cancers screenings that save lives. Each year, Planned Parenthood health clinics provide 750,000 breast exams, 770,000 pap tests and nearly 4 million tests and treatments for sexually transmitted diseases. Twenty percent of all women in the U.S. have visited a Planned Parenthood health center.

For the past five years, grants to local affiliates of Planned Parenthood have been an important part of Planned Parenthood’s work to protect women from breast cancer. Komen funding for Planned Parenthood has provided nearly 170,000 clinical breast exams and resulted in 6,400 referrals for mammograms. In 2011 alone, grants from Komen provided Planned Parenthood with roughly $650,000 in funding for breast cancer prevention, screening, and education. According to a recent statement by Komen, “In some areas of the U.S., our affiliates have determined a Planned Parenthood clinic to be the best or only local place where women can receive breast health care.”

It would be tragic if any woman—let alone thousands of women— lost access to these potentially life-saving screenings because of a politically motivated attack.

We earnestly hope that you will put women’s health before partisan politics and reconsider this decision for the sake of the women who depend on both your organizations for access to the health care they need.

Sincerely,

Statement from Susan G. Komen Board of Directors and Founder and CEO Nancy G. Brinker

DALLAS – February 3, 2012 – We want to apologize to the American public for recent decisions that cast doubt upon our commitment to our mission of saving women’s lives. The events of this week have been deeply unsettling for our supporters, partners and friends and all of us at Susan G. Komen. We have been distressed at the presumption that the changes made to our funding criteria were done for political reasons or to specifically penalize Planned Parenthood. They were not.

Our original desire was to fulfill our fiduciary duty to our donors by not funding grant applications made by organizations under investigation. We will amend the criteria to make clear that disqualifying investigations must be criminal and conclusive in nature and not political. That is what is right and fair.

Our only goal for our granting process is to support women and families in the fight against breast cancer. Amending our criteria will ensure that politics has no place in our grant process. We will continue to fund existing grants, including those of Planned Parenthood, and preserve their eligibility to apply for future grants, while maintaining the ability of our affiliates to make funding decisions that meet the needs of their communities.

It is our hope and we believe it is time for everyone involved to pause, slow down and reflect on how grants can most effectively and directly be administered without controversies that hurt the cause of women. We urge everyone who has participated in this conversation across the country over the last few days to help us move past this issue. We do not want our mission marred or affected by politics – anyone’s politics.

Starting this afternoon, we will have calls with our network and key supporters to refocus our attention on our mission and get back to doing our work. We ask for the public’s understanding and patience as we gather our Komen affiliates from around the country to determine how to move forward in the best interests of the women and people we serve.

We extend our deepest thanks for the outpouring of support we have received from so many in the past few days and we sincerely hope that these changes will be welcomed by those who have expressed their concern.

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