Saturday, February 4, 2012

Susan Komen and Planned Parenthood

It was a battle between two powerful forces. The media responded; the Internet responded; the people responded. Now, the Susan G. Komen Foundation has now reversed this decision and will now continue to fund Planned Parenthood. However, the issue was far from over. Perhaps I'm a little late in writing this but I figured I'd write it anyway.

First of all, the Susan G. Komen Foundation only gave Planned Parenthood a small portion of their funds. According to ABC News, the Susan G. Komen Foundation gave 2,000 organizations $93 million and of that money, Planned Parenthood only received $680,000.  Still, it was the symbolism behind this. Planned Parenthood has often been the center of controversy. They have been defunded by the government and by various other organizations. Their aims and operations have frequently misunderstood.

Planned Parenthood is most known by the abortion and contraceptive services that it offers. This has mostly been the reason why it's considered as evil and sinful by many right-wing Christian groups. There has been a midst of erroneous claims about including the idea that 90% of Planned Parenthood's services are abortions and that the government funds abortions at Planned Parenthood. However, abortion and contraception services are only a small portion of what Planned Parenthood offers and only part of a larger picture.

Only 3% of Planned Parenthood's services were abortions both in 2009 and 2010 (I couldn't find one from 2011, although I'm sure it hasn't changed that drastically). Only about a third of their services were contraception services.

So how was Susan G. Komen involved?

Well, it turns out that approximately 15% (note- I'm taking in both the 2009 and 2010 figures) of their services are for cancer screening. Specifically, the Susan G. Komen offers Planned Parenthood money for mammograms.

According to the foundation, they were cutting the money for Planned Parenthood because there was better, more mainstream services out there. Of course, it's impossible to deny the controversy that has surrounded the organization and it's hard not to wonder whether or not that was factor in their former decision.

It seems like lately everyone is cutting access to Planned Parenthood. The reason why that is so terrible is that Planned Parenthood offers services to those that are unable to get it- the poor and uninsured, teenagers ashamed and often getting these services in secret. It offers their services for free or at a very low price. When people say they want to cut Planned Parenthood, they are ultimately taking away the necessary health care of millions.

It's always a shame when the lives of women (and men! Planned Parenthood offers STD screening and cancer screening for them too) become just another political ploy. This is not just another distant issue but ones that affect real people.

The public uproar over this was fantastic and shows that people really can connect over issues they care about. Hopefully, the conservatives who bust on Planned Parenthood will be able to see the value of (and maybe even use) their services.

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