Nation's leading breast-cancer charity no longer funding Planned - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Nation's leading breast-cancer charity no longer funding Planned Parenthood

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PASCO, Wash. --The nation's leading breast-cancer charity, Susan G. Komen For The Cure, announced Tuesday it is ending a partnership with Planned Parenthood.

Planned Parenthood of Greater Washington and North Idaho (PPGWNI)expressed deep disappointment in response to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation's decision to stop funding breast cancer prevention, screenings, and education at Planned Parenthood health centers.

They say anti-women's health groups have repeatedly targeted and boycotted the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation for partnering with Planned Parenthood to provide these lifesaving cancer screenings and news articles suggest that the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation ultimately succumbed to these pressures.

"There's been a lot of controversy created. Yet in reality 90 percent of what Planned Parenthood does is protective services for women," says Mark Lee, who is in charge of Fundraising for Planned Parenthood in Tri-Cities.

Planned Parenthood of Greater Washington and Northern Idaho received $80,000 from the Komen Foundation since 2008, $30,000 just last year.  They saw 36,000 patients and provided breast exams to more than 7,000 women.  300 were referred to specialists and their lives possibly saved.

"The money we got from the Komen Foundation was used strictly to make sure women folllow-up on their breast exams that here they were seen for but we wanted to make sure they got further examined," says Lee.

Lee says, because Planned Parenthood does offer abortion services, no matter how much good they do to low income women, people want to shut them down.  He says many rely on PP for all of their healthcare services.  "For a lot of women, their only place to go is Planned Parenthood, for many women this is the only doctor they've seen since they've been born," says Lee.

In the last few weeks, the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation has begun notifying local Planned Parenthood programs that their breast cancer initiatives will not be eligible for new grants beyond existing agreements or plans. The Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation's leadership did not respond to Planned Parenthood requests to meet with the Foundation's Board of Directors about the decision.

Claudia Bell, the Executive Director for Susan G Komen foundation Eastern Washington Affiliate did send us this response saying the move is not politically motivated.  It reads in part. "It is regrettable when changes in priorities and policies affect any of our grantees, such as a longstanding partner like Planned Parenthood.  However, like all organizations, we must continue to evolve and meet ever higher standards of excellence, so that we can most fully advance our mission.   Our grant-making decisions are not about politics.  Our priority is and always will be the women we serve.  Any efforts to make this political or leverage it for fundraising purposes would be a disservice to women.  

The Eastern Washington Affiliate (EWA) has funded Planned Parenthood locally to improve breast health awareness & education to low income & underserved women. Unfortunately, funding for Planned Parenthood in our region has been. affected because of the current federal investigation of Planned Parenthood & Komen National's policy prohibiting funding to any organization subject to a federal, state or local investigation. Our Affiliate serves Eastern Washington, and we do not make decisions on the national level that affect the organization as a whole. At the Eastern Washington Affiliate, we will continue to support the best and most effective programs in our community to reach underserved women; we are doing everything in our power to ensure there is no interruption or gaps in service for women who need breast health screenings & services. Our hope is that together we will remain focused on the fight to end breast cancer as this issue is being resolved."