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Susan G. Komen Vs. Planned Parenthood

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Amid talk surrounding the GOP primary in Nevada on last Saturday, Superbowl Sunday, and the ongoing discussion about the economy and jobs, the battle over abortion rights has sneaked its way to the forefront of headlines after the Susan G. Komen Foundation’s controversial announcement stating Planned Parenthood was ineligible for grant funds this period.

Since the uproar began last Thursday, the Susan G. Komen Foundation has been scrutinized by the public at the hand of the mainstream media accusing the organization of going back on its efforts to promote women’s health in order to appease anti-abortion supporters.  karen handel

This criticism has also been connected to the organization’s now resigned- vice president of Public Policy, Karen Handel, a former gubernatorial candidate from Georgia who lost last cycle.  Many made the connection between Handel’s pro-life views and the recent decision for the organization to stop funding of Planned Parenthood.

The obvious focus of this story has been the long-standing argument on funding of Planned Parenthood.  

Whereas Planned Parenthood provides several types of health services to women, the Susan G. Komen foundation is solely committed to breast cancer research and advocacy.  Many should ask whether it was even appropriate for the organization to be granting funds to Planned Parenthood in the first place.

For those unfamiliar with how non-profit (c)3’s and (c)4’s work, in order to hold such a status, organizations have to be very sensitive as to what their organization supports, and the activities with which it’s associated, otherwise that organization could be subject to serious investigation by the IRS and possibly face heavy fines. So, for the Susan G. Komen foundation to even be providing funds to a controversial organization such as Planned Parenthood is a stretch.

Planned Parenthood doesn’t just provide abortions, it’s THE LARGEST provider of abortions in the country.

With that being said, the Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer, for instance, has long claimed that abortion increases breast cancer risk, and therefore an organization whose mission is to battle breast cancer should not support an organization whose activities include providing abortions.

But the real story here is in the media’s contradictory and offensively-biased reporting of it.  There have been liberties taking aspects of this story out of context. And, as a result the Susan G. Komen foundation, which has been doing good work on behalf of women’s health with private donations for a long time, has now been demonized in the eyes of many.  Reporters and Planned Parenthood supporters have politicized a non-political organization, and questioned its longstanding image of integrity because the organization made an unpopular decision.  

For example, the decision by the Susan G. Komen foundation was reported as a severance in ties between the two organizations.  That was not true.  The Susan G. Komen foundation stated that according to the organization’s new criteria barring grants to organizations that are under investigation by local, state or federal authorities, Planned Parenthood was ineligible.

Whereas the Susan G. Komen foundation has been hammered for bringing politics into a health issue, the media and Planned Parenthood politicized a decision contrary to their efforts for personal gain.  Actually, the new criteria seems to attempt to distance the Susan G. Komen foundation from politically controversial organizations.  

Furthermore, take a look at the opening remarks of the annual reports for both the Susan G. Komen foundation and Planned Parenthood, and compare.  You can find both on their websites.  As you’ll see, one report marvels at the amazing progress made in research and developments across the country and internationally for the purpose of breast cancer awareness, on the other -- an onslaught of praise for the Obama Administration.

So which is the organization that’s politicizing women’s health?

The point is not to scrutinize Planned Parenthood.  Rather, the point is to scrutinize those who use contradictory reasoning to villainize and mischaracterize an organization in the name of politicizing an issue, that has previously been politicized by the organization it seeks to distance itself from.

The Susan G. Komen foundation has been and still is an important and productive organization that has made incredible strides in the name of breast cancer awareness, and advocacy.  Don’t villainize it.

Photo of Karen Handel from ourcampaigns.com

Contact Alyssa Bonk at abonk08@gmail.com

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