Planned Parenthood Hudson Peconic (PPHP) provided more than 9,300 breast health exams to women in Westchester, Putnam and Rockland counties last year. The organization was disappointed to find out Tuesday that the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation has decided to withdraw their financial donations to Planned Parenthood.
But services at local Planned Parenthood offices in New Rochelle and White Plains will not be affected.
"We don't have a direct relationship with Susan G. Komen or its affiliates," said Beverly Katz of Planned Parenthood Hudson Peconic in Hawthorne.
PPHP provided health services to more than 35,000 men and women in 2010.
Vern Calhoun of the Greater New York City Susan G. Komen for the Cure affiliate responded by email: "As we move forward, we are working directly with Komen Affiliates to ensure that there is no interruption or gaps in services for women who need breast health screening and services. It is regrettable when changes in priorities and policies affect any of our grantees, such as a longstanding partner like Planned Parenthood...Our grant-making decisions are not about politics."
Across the country, reactions to Susan G. Komen's withdrawal has been predominantly negative. According to a PoliPulse poll, "only 25 percent of respondents support the decision." About 23 percent of respondents to the poll said they would no longer support Komen because of the funding decision.
“In these tough economic times, more women than ever need access to essential health care services like lifesaving breast cancer screenings. Politics should never get in the way of a woman’s ability to access health care,” added Reina Schiffrin, President/CEO, PPHP.
As for Komen's stated rationale, that the decision was based on Planned Parenthood currently being under congressional investigation, Katz was unconvinced.
"It's a lovely explanation," said Katz, "but's really a red herring." Katz said more than 90 percent of Planned Parenthood's budget was spent providing "life-saving support" for women including birth control, STD testing and breast health exams. While Planned Parenthood in this area does provide abortion services, Katz said no public funding is used to pay for them a provision specified by the Hyde Amendment.
“Planned Parenthood is a trusted leader in helping women identify breast cancer early. Women are deeply alarmed that the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation appears to have succumbed to political pressure from a vocal minority,” said Schiffrin. “For years, opponents of women’s health have waged an aggressive pressure campaign aimed at the Susan G. Komen Foundation at the expense of women’s health and lives.”
"This will really backfire on them," said Katz. Planned Parenthood organizations around the country have received increased donations and support in the wake of the controversy. Reports indicate donations to Planned Parenthood in the wake of Komen's withdrawal will likely surpass the amount lost.