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Susan G. Komen and Planned Parenthood–my response

As a major supporter and fundraiser for Susan G. Komen for the Cure, many people are looking to me for my thoughts and opinions on yesterdays’ announcement  regarding funding to Planned Parenthood.

Let me start by saying I am not in favor of Komen’s decision. As a person deeply concerned about women’s health, I understand the immense value of Planned Parenthood. 

To further complicate a very politically charged issue, Komen did not handle this announcement effectively.   

Where did they go wrong?

  • Komen decided to pull its Planned Parenthood funding just six months after the hiring of Karen Handel–who adamantly opposes abortion–as vice president of public policy. In my opinion, the politics of abortion has no place in a breast cancer research foundation and I think it’s a huge shame that Komen has let this issue affect its mission.
  • Komen took nearly 24 hours to issue its own statement with regards to this funding. This gave the press and social media time to explode. Susan G. Komen was not part of this conversation, and it should have been. When they did issue their statement, it was too little too late. They’re now mired in a public relations nightmare and it’s going to be hard for them to recover. Even though Komen still contributes money to many other healthcare organizations that provide breast cancer screening (as well as mammograms), they’ve done damage by cutting off the well-known and much beloved Planned Parenthood.

I’m certain, the team at Komen is locked in a room desperately trying to find a way to recover. At least I hope they are.

So why do I, a passionate supporter of Planned Parenthood, also continue to stand so firmly behind Susan G. Komen? Because you see, I’m not convinced I would have the opportunity to write this blog had Komen not contributed what they have to breast cancer research over the past 30 years. Would I be alive? Would I be living the life I always dreamt I’d live? Who’s to say? The drugs, the treatments, the awareness, the advancements–so many of them come down to what Susan G. Komen has done for us. I’m terrified at the numbers of people that are professing to never give them another dime. What will this mean to breast cancer research? How will it affect our daughters, sisters and friends? This really scares me.

I know there are other organizations raising funds for breast cancer research. One of them, FORCE, is near and dear to my heart. I believe these other organizations can contribute and I will support them. But today, Susan G. Komen for the Cure is the strongest force out there. They are making a real difference in breast cancer  treatment. They are saving lives. We need them.
 
So, to the team at Susan G. Komen, please find a way to make this right. Do what you need to do to get your supporters back on board. I wish the answer was easy but we all know it’s not.
 
To my friends, supporters and fellow teammates–please don’t let this change your commitment. If you’re outraged by Komen’s decision, show it by making a donation to Planned Parenthood. But please don’t pull your support from Komen.

We need this research. We need this funding. We need to find cures and we need to save lives.

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