Susan G. Komen for the Cure: What Were They Thinking?
I have personally been involved with the Susan G. Komen for the Cure® breast cancer foundation for many years. My mother is a two-time breast cancer survivor so I am fully aware of the importance of the foundation’s mission – supporting women and families in the fight against breast cancer.
After cutting nearly $700,000 in annual grants to Planned Parenthood last week, which was specifically to fund breast cancer screening and education programs, like many other supporters, I am reconsidering my involvement with the organization. My support of the organization has always been based on its commitment to fighting against breast cancer – not its opinion on political issues. Once the organization made the grand proclamation against abortion by cutting funding that directly relates to its core mission, its commitment, in my mind, became clouded. As an organization that is supported by people from all walks of life with differing political opinions, I believe Susan G. Komen for The Cure should not make partisan political comments on issues outside its focus.
No matter what your political beliefs are, it is clear that the decision to cut the funding was not a smart PR or business move. I am not alone in my disappointment, as many long time supporters, including employees, sponsors and medical professionals have begun to distance themselves from the organization, which has since apologized and reinstated funding to Planned Parenthood. Unfortunately the damage to its brand has been done.
Susan G. Komen for the Cure refers to its self as “the global leader of the breast cancer movement” and has raised more than $1 billion for breast cancer research, screening and awareness since its inception in 1982. The organization has played a huge role in increasing awareness of the importance of mammograms, specifically to women who are uninsured and cannot afford regular testing - the very people who are at most risk and often turn to Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood is much more than abortions; the organization provides a variety of women’s health services primarily to young, poor clients, including low-cost mammograms.
In the end it’s been a win for Planned Parenthood – they have now received $3 million in new funding, and the uproar surrounding the situation has helped raise awareness for the work Planned Parenthood does to better women’s health.
Let’s hope the conversation continues and that Susan B. Komen for the Cure is ready to back up their apology and return to focusing on what’s really important. To many of us it is not about abortion. It’s about screening and treatment.
What do you think? Do you think Susan B. Komen for the Cure has compromised its position?