Laura Arias, Contributing Writer
Having suffered from breast cancer herself, Susan G. Komen understands the hardships that a woman goes through when she is in need of care because her life depends on it. After winning the fight against her cancer, Komen prepared to start a movement dedicated to women who wanted to fight against breast cancer themselves and for other women. Today, Komen claims to be the global leader of the breast cancer prevention movement, and has invested more than $1.9 billion in the movement since 1982. Over the years, Komen has been a role model and hero for millions of women in America, but recently she has stained her image.
On January 31, Komen decided to end ties with Planned Parenthood and, according to Fox News, Komen spokeswoman Leslie Aun explained that “the cutoff results from the charity’s newly adopted criteria barring grants to organizations that are under investigation by local, state or federal authorities.” The public did not accept this excuse. It is believed that the real reason Komen decided to stop funding Planned Parenthood was because they provide abortions and she had been receiving pressure from pro-life Americans to stop aiding a center that supports that practice. It appears that Komen was never bothered by such complaints otherwise she would have decided to stop funding Planned Parenthood years ago. So what changed her mind?
Many news sources suggest that Karen Handel, a Republican who ran for governor of Georgia in 2010 and the current Vice President for Public Affairs at Komen for the Cure, drove the decision to stop funding Planned Parenthood. This was revealed after she resigned Tuesday following public backlash over the decision that had just been made.
On Friday, February 3, 2012, Komen apologized to Planned Parenthood, restoring the funding and making sure the public knew that she did not defund them for political reasons or pressure from pro-life individuals. But people were not convinced. The public’s response was definitive of the rage that was sparked when people found out that she would even think about defunding Planned Parenthood. It was seen as an impudent attack on women’s health rights.
There are two possible reasons why Komen decided to defund Planned Parenthood. No one really knows which one to believe, but, being a sign of strength and role model to so many women, Komen’s actions are being closely scrutinized. Defunding Planned Parenthood and depriving women of breast screenings contradicts Komen’s For the Cure campaign and everything it stands for.
In the end, this scandal actually benefited Planned Parenthood. They received a generous donation from New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg for $250,000 last week. Though Komen continues to be the leader of the breast cancer prevention movement, her support level towards certain women’s health rights has become blurred and people continue to be skeptical about her relationship with Planned Parenthood.
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