The Susan G. Komen group, a big name in breast cancer research funding, announced a decision last week that they would no longer financially support Planned Parenthood. This decision – essentially a deathblow to free breast cancer screenings – was met with nationwide protest and was revoked later that week. No matter the decision, SGK can’t please everyone, which is exactly why politics should be a nonissue in nonprofit groups. The original decision was reportedly introduced in response to pressure from anti-abortion organizations that are substantial contributors to SGK fundraising events. The antagonism between such groups and Planned Parenthood is nothing new; targeting the benefactors of the self-proclaimed “nation’s leading sexual and reproductive health care provider and advocate,” however, is crossing a line.
SGK is sandwiched between two very angry sides right now and improvements in their situation do not look promising. On one hand, we have the vigilant anti-abortion groups who are looking to cut funds from Planned Parenthood. On the other hand there are the ardent pro-abortion rights groups and Planned Parenthood supporters that are pushing to regain funding.
That’s all well and good, but the endless bickering is forcing the real victims out of the picture: the millions of women that rely on Planned Parenthood’s breast cancer screenings because they simply can’t afford it elsewhere. I really don’t care if you are anti-abortion or pro-abortion rights – unto each her own. The issue only becomes a problem when the politics take precedence over the people.
SGK, Planned Parenthood and anti-abortion organizations are all working toward a common goal – the betterment of women’s health. They conveniently seem to forget this whenever they get into a snit over who is right or wrong. I know nothing is as simple as settling on a compromise and continuing on our merry way. Still, if these groups really care about the millions of women they purportedly represent, they need to regain focus on the real task at hand.
Providing affordable health care for women is especially important when costs and unemployment rates are on the rise. PlannedParenthood.org reports that their Women’s Wellness Connection provide services “to low income, uninsured and underserved women,” which is the demographic group that is most impacted by cut funds. These are women that have nowhere else to turn.
Allowing politics to force the hands of nonprofits into cutting funds lowers the chance that breast cancer will be discovered in this specific demographic of women. SGK’s ww5.komen.org published the findings of a 2010 survey, which found that women who regularly had mammograms lower their risk of breast cancer by 10 percent. The flip side? All of the women who rely on Planned Parenthood’s services are 10 percent more likely to have breast cancer go undiagnosed if these programs are cut.
Disagreements are a fact of life. Arriving at a compromise can be incredibly difficult when moral values come into play but a compromise must be reached. For all their differences, whether groups are pro-life or pro-choice, they can agree on one thing – they work to improve women’s health and lives.