Friday, February 03, 2012

Komen and Planned Parenthood

Thus week has been filled with a lot of news about the decision of the Komen Foundation to cut its grants/support of Planned Parenthood.  Historically, Komen has 3.5 million in the past five years to fund breast exams (about 170,000) and mammograms (6,400 referrals).  In single afternoon, Planned Parenthood has raised over $400,000, over 1/2 of the annual funds provided by Komen so, frankly, Komen pulling support was a windfall for Planned Parenthood.  

People (both men and women) were extremely angry over Komen's decision.  A typical concern was about women's health and the fact that this lack of funding would surely jeopardize women's health.  

The typical person who makes use of Planned Parenthood' services is much too young to be screened for breast cancer - 80% are under the age of 35 and the recent government guidelines doesn't recommend mammograms until the age of 50.  The money that Komen provided to Planned Parenthood provided only about 9% of all mammograms and breast screening completed by Planned Parenthood during that time.

So why were people so upset? Well, there was certainly a lot of media coverage of the defunding.  People felt it was politically motivated (an organization changes its bylaws so that the end result is that only one entity that receives funds is effected?).  People from both organizations quit in protest.  

Only 9% of breast cancer screening were funded by Komen. Annually, Komen spends $46.9 million on screenings (this means that that Planned Parenthood only gets about 1.5% of Komen's health screening budget).

Is this a political issue?  Perhaps as the new Sr. Vice President Public Policy has that much sway?  Maybe the organization is listening to scientists who have long proposed that there is a connection between abortions and breast cancer

What I do know is that each of us has a voice and we can use our voice to support charities those principles and philosophies match our own.  If you believe in a charity and what it does, support it.  If you question how a charity is spending its money, think twice about supporting it.

Likewise, charities should also think about what activities and organizations it supports.  I am sure people didn't donated to Komen JUST so it would support Planned Parenthood.  

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