Reporting Aristea Brady
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Politics before health: That’s what a growing number of people say of the Susan G. Komen Foundation’s decision to pull grant money from Planned Parenthood.
The foundation announced it’s pulling funding for breast screenings and other health services from 19 of Planned Parenthood’s 79 affiliates. Last year alone, Komen gave nearly $700,000 to the organization.
While Planned Parenthood of Minnesota is not a recipient of the funds, WCCO-TV talked to some who say the recent move is enough to make them stop supporting the prominent breast cancer charity all together.
“I was disgusted,” Minneapolis resident Amanda Oleson said.
Oleson has participated in several of the Susan G. Komen Foundation events in support of several women in her life. She said she was appalled to hear of the charity’s decision, especially given its slogan.
“One of the things that they say is ‘Because everyone deserves a lifetime,’ and I was disgusted because they clearly don’t mean that pulling this kind of funding from such a large organization providing preventative care for women,” Oleson said.
Planned Parenthood of Minneapolis said it believes the charity is giving into the voice of a vocal minority, and doing it at the expense of those who need healthcare the most.
“[Planned Parenthood] succumbed to the pressure that they were receiving from politically motivated groups, groups who are opposed to abortion, to end their partnership with Planned Parenthood because we provide abortion care,” Jennifer Auwles with Planned Parenthood of Minneapolis said.
The Susan G. Komen Foundation disputes that claim, saying the decision was made because of a congressional investigation into whether or not Planned Parenthood uses federal funds for abortions.
Pro-life advocate Ann Marie Cosgrove said she fully supports Susan G. Komen’s decision, and she will now participate in their walk again because of it. Cosgrove has abstained from those walks for the last decade.
“We play politics with everything that matters to us, and so if it has to be that way, it is that way, and if we can bring attention to the issue that way, then that’s what happens,” Cosgrove said.
Others disagree, and say when the opportunity comes, they won’t be afraid to show it.
“This makes me angry enough that I would not do their walks in the future. I’m willing to just give my money to Planned Parenthood, honestly,” Oleson said.
Officials with the Susan G. Komen Foundation told WCCO-TV they are concerned about the fallout from this. In a statement, a spokesman said if people choose not to give, it’ll only diminish breast-health programs for more women. They added that the women they serve are their highest priority in all they do.