In the last 72 hours we’ve all heard countless times, the claim that Susan G. Komen’s decision to defund Planned Parenthood will mean that women die.
This seemingly genuine, widespread fear has evolved over the last few days, following statements by Planned Parenthood Director, Cecile Richards. On Jan. 31, she penned:
“To ensure that the Komen Foundation’s decision doesn’t jeopardize any woman’s access to lifesaving screenings and services, Planned Parenthood has launched a Breast Health Emergency Fund.”
Enraged at their leader’s dire predictions, Planned Parenthood supporters have taken to the web, making statements such as,
These emotionally-charged statements would be understandable if they were based on facts. However they are not.
According to Planned Parenthood’s own figures,
- Of the 800,000 breast exams Planned Parenthood does each year, only 34,000 are funded by Susan G. Komen. That’s just 4.25%.
- Komen funded 700,000 breast exams in 2011. Of these, only an est. 34,000 were done by Planned Parenthood. That’s 4.86%. 34,000 was calculated based on Planned Parenthood’s statement that they had done 170,000 screenings in total over the last five years with Komen money.
What do these percentages mean for women seeking breast exams?
- Planned Parenthood has lost funding for only 5% of the breast exams they conduct. If Planned Parenthood can genuinely not afford to give this 5% of women breast exams, these women can easily go to another free or low-cost center.
- Susan G. Komen has not ceased providing funding for the breast exams they were funding Planned Parenthood to carry out (under 5% of the total breast exams Komen funds). Susan G. Komen will instead redirect that funding to other centers that provide breast exams, and that are on the front lines of women’s health care.
Let’s be absolutely clear. The accusation against Susan G. Komen that they will be responsible for jeopardizing women’s access to lifesaving breast exams, or that they will be responsible for women dying due to a breast exam being unavailable are patently unfounded scaremongering.
Susan G. Komen gave Planned Parenthood $680,000 in 2011, and $580,000 in 2010.This breast-cancer prevention funding has not simply vaporized. Sure, Planned Parenthood won’t enjoy it. However alternative, worthy women’s health centers on the front lines will now receive this funding – more likely than not, leading to fewer women dying due to lack of early detection of breast cancer.