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“This is no cookie-cutter operation, but an organization dedicated to individualized service for each of its clients.”

—Jim Toscano, President of the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation

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Komen Foundation Gives Planned Parenthood the Pink Slip

February 2, 2012

A Republican member of Congress endorsed by Americans United for Life decided to hold "hearings" related to Planned Parenthood. By my count, this is the third set of Republican-sponsored Congressional "hearings" on Planned Parenthood in three years.

The upshot of the "hearings": The Susan G. Komen Foundation for the Cure created a new policy –
The Susan Komen Foundation will NOT award funding to organizations under Congressional investigation.

The upshot of the new policy: The Komen Foundation is cutting hundreds of thousands of grant dollars for breast cancer screenings at Planned Parenthood clinics throughout the United States.

According to Planned Parenthood, these free screenings were intended for low-income women who don't have health insurance and who cannot afford the cost of a regular test. So the new policy not only caves to anti-choice pressures, but also discriminates specifically against low income women. Tragic.

The Komen Foundation may have been placed between a rock and a hard place; riling Congressional committee chairs is never a good thing. Unfortunately, the Foundation has determined they would rather bend to political pressure than allocate $680,000 for mammograms for low-income women (about 5,400 screenings).

So we have two questions for Susan Komen Foundation leaders:

First, Suzy Komen, the woman for whom the foundation is named, was a strong, dignified woman who cared deeply for her family, friends, and fellow cancer victims. She fought valiantly and stubbornly for her life. Would the Foundation have us believe that Susan would insist hundreds or thousands of low-income women experience this same horrifying struggle -- just to avoid criticism from a Congressman?

Second, the Susan G. Komen Foundation is one of the largest women's health organizations in the world. They have created an international community of support for women with cancer and women who are afraid they might face cancer. Is tearing down this community of support more important than facing short-term mistreatment from Congressional committee chairs?

At Access Philanthropy, we deal primarily in funding and fundraising. Money for nonprofits is our bread and butter. Nevertheless, we know that no fundraising effort is worth abandoning the constituency who need you and trust you the most.

We hope the Komen folks will reconsider their decision to assuage politicians and forego the health needs of low-income women. No fundraising purposes and no political purposes are worth this price.