Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast (PPGC) today expressed deep disappointment in response to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation's decision to stop funding breast cancer prevention, screenings, and education at Planned Parenthood health centers. Anti-women's health groups have repeatedly targeted and boycotted the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation for partnering with Planned Parenthood to provide these lifesaving cancer screenings and news articles suggest that the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation ultimately succumbed to these pressures.
"As a leading health care provider in our community, Planned Parenthood is trusted to help women identify breast cancer early. We are deeply alarmed that the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation appears to have succumbed to political pressure from a vocal minority", said Peter J. Durkin, President and CEO of PPGC. "For years, opponents of women's health have waged an aggressive pressure campaign aimed at the Susan G. Komen Foundation at the expense of women's health and lives."
While not directly affected by the Komen Foundation's decision making, PPGC is deeply concerned about the troubling precedent of putting politics before women's health. Over the past couple of years, PPGC provided more than 41,000 women in our communities with breast health exams.
"In these tough economic times, more women than ever need access to essential health care services like lifesaving breast cancer screenings. Politics should never get in the way of a woman's ability to access health care. We want to assure women who count on us for breast health, that we are still here for them," said Durkin.
The Komen-funded Planned Parenthood programs have been instrumental in helping women, especially in rural and underserved communities, get breast health care and detect breast cancer early.
Over the past five years, Planned Parenthood health centers with Komen program funding have provided nearly 170,000 clinical breast exams out of the more than four million clinical breast exams performed nationwide at Planned Parenthood health centers, as well as more than 6,400 mammogram referrals out of 70,000 mammogram referrals.
Planned Parenthood's quality, accessibility and affordability make it a leader in identifying breast cancer early when there is the best chance of successful treatment. Nationwide, Planned Parenthood doctors and nurses provide nearly 750,000 breast cancer screenings annually, offering risk assessments, breast exams, breast health information and education, and diagnostic and surgical referrals.
In the last few weeks, the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation has begun notifying local Planned Parenthood programs that their breast cancer initiatives will not be eligible for new grants (beyond existing agreements or plans). The Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation's leadership did not respond to Planned Parenthood requests to meet with the Foundation's Board of Directors about the decision.
One in five women in America has come to Planned Parenthood at some point in her life. More than 90 percent of Planned Parenthood health care services are preventive in nature, including lifesaving cancer screenings, birth control, testing for and treatment of STDs, breast health services, Pap tests, and sexual health education and information.