Today, U.S. Senator Daniel K. Akaka (D-Hawaii) joined 25 Senate colleagues in calling on Ambassador Nancy Brinker, Founder and CEO of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, to reconsider her organization's decision to stop funding cancer screenings at Planned Parenthood.
"It would be tragic if any woman - let alone thousands of women - lost access to these potentially life-saving screenings because of a politically motivated attack," the Senators wrote.
Senator Akaka joined Senators Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ), Patty Murray (D-WA), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Mark Begich (D-AK), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Jon Tester (D-MT), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Max Baucus (D-MT), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Al Franken (D-MN), John Kerry (D-MA), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Chris Coons (D-DE), and Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) in signing the letter.
A copy of the letter can be found here and the text is copied below:
February 2, 2012
Nancy G. Brinker
Founder and Chief Executive Officer
Susan G. Komen for the Cure
Dear Ambassador Brinker,
We write to express our disappointment with Susan G. Komen for the Cure's decision to cut funding for breast cancer prevention, screening, and education at Planned Parenthood health centers. This troubling decision threatens to reduce access to necessary, life-saving services. We urge Komen to reconsider its decision.
Planned Parenthood is a trusted provider of health care for women and men. More than 90 percent of the services provided by Planned Parenthood are primary and preventative including wellness exams and cancers screenings that save lives. Each year, Planned Parenthood health clinics provide 750,000 breast exams, 770,000 pap tests and nearly 4 million tests and treatments for sexually transmitted diseases. Twenty percent of all women in the U.S. have visited a Planned Parenthood health center.
For the past five years, grants to local affiliates of Planned Parenthood have been an important part of Planned Parenthood's work to protect women from breast cancer. Komen funding for Planned Parenthood has provided nearly 170,000 clinical breast exams and resulted in 6,400 referrals for mammograms. In 2011 alone, grants from Komen provided Planned Parenthood with roughly $650,000 in funding for breast cancer prevention, screening, and education. According to a recent statement by Komen, "In some areas of the U.S., our affiliates have determined a Planned Parenthood clinic to be the best or only local place where women can receive breast health care."
It would be tragic if any woman - let alone thousands of women - lost access to these potentially life-saving screenings because of a politically motivated attack.
We earnestly hope that you will put women's health before partisan politics and reconsider this decision for the sake of the women who depend on both your organizations for access to the health care they need.