Planned Parenthood, Susan G. Komen, and Women’s Health in America

For those of you who haven’t been following women’s health news lately, the Susan G. Komen Foundation for the Cure, an organization dedicated to fighting breast cancer, recently caused huge amounts of controversy by withdrawing funding for Planned Parenthood. In the past, Komen has given money to Planned Parenthood for the purpose of providing cancer screenings to women who might not otherwise be able to access this essential service. This shocking action was met with outrage, and the Komen Foundation quickly reversed its decision. Additionally, Karen Handel (a Komen Foundation official who has been criticised for her role in the initial decision) has resigned.
The strength of the public’s reaction to Komen’s decision was inspiring- clearly, people care about preventing and treating cancer. And, to their credit, the Komen Foundation was willing to admit and correct their mistake. However, the whole incident is representative of a disturbing trend in the United States. Access to basic health care for women is now a controversial topic, rather than a universal goal. Planned Parenthood has long been a target of criticism due to their reputation as an abortion-provider (abortions, in fact, account for only roughly three percent of Planned Parenthood’s services). Recently, though, debate on personhood amendments in state legislatures and the fight over insurance coverage for birth control have drawn women’s health issues into the spotlight, and not in an especially positive way. We may have won the Susan G. Komen Foundation fight, but even so, it’s important to remember to continue speaking out for women’s basic rights to health care.

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