Thursday, February 16, 2012

Breast Cancer Survivor (And Pro-Life Heroine) Speaks About Komen Scandal

...What happened to Komen's stated priority to fund direct providers of breast screening services, such as mammography clinics? Who knows? Planned Parenthood affiliates are just a pass-through for the mammography funding, which has to be reimbursed to actual mammography providers.

This was never about the money for Planned Parenthood, a billion-dollar industry by its own annual report. This was about losing the stamp of approval from Komen and its massive following among cancer charities. Komen made grants of $3 million to Planned Parenthood affiliates from 2004 to 2009. However, just one quarter of all Komen's breast cancer screening grants went to Planned Parenthood. In 2011, $680,000 in Komen funds went to 19 Planned Parenthood affiliates. That is a drop in the bucket for an entity that deals in millions of dollars.

I am not immune to the concerns that grip a breast cancer patient upon diagnosis and eventual surgery and treatment. It's hard enough to get through when you are fully insured and have support in place, much less for women who have no insurance or are underinsured and may not have a network of family and friends supporting them.

However, the mantra that emanated from so many in my sisterhood of survivors that Planned Parenthood is a vital player in breast cancer screening and awareness rings hollow when there are thousands of federally qualified public health centers that are not in the abortion business but are providing services to women who fall through the gap created because of being low income and/or having inadequate insurance.

For Komen to now say it needs to de-politicize its  grant process is really grating, considering that Komen politicized its process from the moment it  started funding Planned Parenthood years ago. Komen needlessly ostracized pro-life Americans from the get-go. For those few days when it had pulled back from Planned Parenthood, Komen CEO Nancy Brinker admitted that the donations had shot up 100 percent. I would submit that was because of thousands of pro-lifers showing their support to Komen.

Now, with Komen's re-alignment with Planned Parenthood, pro-lifers will continue to support alternative breast cancer charities that have no ties to abortion. And I will continue not buying pink Komen items and declining invitations to walk in its Race For The Cure...

Read the whole of Julie Schmit-Albin's compelling op/ed column from the Lincoln Star-Journal right here.