KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The announcement by the Susan G. Komen Foundation to cut off funding to Planned Parenthood has created a firestorm of controversy over what some people say is a politically-motivated move against the clinics which, among other services, perform abortions.
According to records, the move should not affect funding at any of the metro-area Planned Parenthood clinics, as the local chapter of the foundation has never given funds to Planned Parenthood.
The Susan G. Komen Foundation is built around raising funds to help fight breast cancer through their Pink Ribbon campaign and Race for a Cure marathons. The foundation gives funds to over 30 local organizations, including St. Luke’s Cancer Institute.
“We are very grateful for our relationship with Komen,” said Kim Day, manager of St. Luke’s Breast Services. She says that the money they received from the foundation keeps their mobile mammography program running.
“That funding allows us to go out into our under-served communities in the Kansas City area and provide about 1,500 mammograms to those women each year,” said Day.
The foundation had previously given funds to Planned Parenthood to provide similar mammography services for low-income women. But earlier this week, the foundation announced that they were cutting off the payments because of an investigation by a Republican congressman from Florida over whether Planned Parenthood used federal funds to provide abortions.
The foundation says that their by-laws prevent them from working with any group or organization that’s under investigation by federal, state or local law enforcement agencies, but critics charge that the move is clearly politically-motivated.
“I think really what this is is a result of is this very ugly and agressive campaign by right-wing organizations to bully the Komen Foundation and keep them from working with Planned Parenthood,” said Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards.
Planned Parenthood says that since the decision was announced, they have received almost $700,000 in donations in just 24 hours – an amount greater than they actually received from the Susan G. Komen Foundation.
The local chapter of the Susan G. Komen Foundation referred FOX 4 to the national organization for comment, but FOX 4’s calls were not returned. The foundation did release a statement defending their decision, saying, “to be absolutely clear that our grant-making decisions are not out politics.”
The move has caused an uproar on the foundation’s Facebook page.
“SHAME. ON YOU!!! I hope this backfires on your organization,” said commenter Gabrielle DoPico.
“Susan G. You did the right thing! U may lose some supporters but u will be gaining more:)!!!!!!” said Lindsay Kersey.
Here in the metro, groups like St. Luke’s Hospital say that they aren’t going to get involved in the controversy.
“If Susan Komen did not provide this funding those women would not have any access to mammography,” said Day.