After announcing on Wednesday that it would no longer provide funding to Planned Parenthood affiliates for breast cancer screening and education programs, the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation said earlier today that it would revise the policy which led to Planned Parenthood’s defunding.
While the initial rationale for defunding the organization was that it was undergoing a federal investigation, Komen now states that its policy will be amended so that only criminal, rather than political, investigations would disqualify a group from receiving funding. The statement did not address another reason that Komen’s president gave for cutting the funding: that Planned Parenthood referred patients to other providers for mammograms, rather than performing them themselves.
Perhaps this reason wasn’t addressed because it doesn’t make a lot of sense – it’s hardly uncommon for a primary physician to refer a patient to a specialist for further testing. And referring out doesn’t take away from the fact that the patient has been alerted to a potentially serious problem. Just being able to perform the initial exam and educate women about next steps is a vital service, and one that Planned Parenthood is fully capable of providing.
Komen’s initial decision was swiftly met with both outrage and outpourings of support for Planned Parenthood. As the foundation continues its attempts at damage control, Planned Parenthood has released its own thoughts on the matter: “We are enormously grateful that the Komen Foundation has clarified its grantmaking criteria, and we look forward to continuing our partnership with Komen partners, leaders and volunteers.”
Sarah's first book, Generation Roe: Inside the Future of the Pro-Choice Movement, will be out March 2013. For more information, follow her on Twitter @saraherdreich, or check out saraherdreich.com.