Dallas-based Susan G. Komen Foundation announced its plans to cut funding to 17 of 19 previously funded Planned Parenthood clinics. Komen had a long-standing relationship with Planned Parenthood and upheld a $700,000 annual donation to the chain of clinics. However, Komen officials said they stopped funding to Planned Parenthood because of a congressional probe. Komen has received criticism in the last couple years for its support of Planned Parenthood because the clinics administer abortions along with numerous health care services.
"We do breast exams, pelvic exams, STD testing," said Angela Ybarra, Addison Planned Parenthood clinic manager. "We offer birth control for women. We also do male services, STD testing, medications."
Planned Parenthood is trying to replace funds lost in its now severed partnership with Susan G. Komen Foundation. Komen-funded grants have provided four million breast exams at Planned Parenthood clinics over the past five years. Planned Parenthood of North Texas said Komen has helped fund more than 1,700 mammograms for low-income women. Those mammograms found cancer in at least 10 patients. North Texas Planned Parenthood workers were shocked when they heard the news.
"We're just really saddened and disappointed by Komen's decision, and we're worried about our patients," said Kelly Hart, spokesperson for North Texas Planned Parenhood. "We're just gonna have to continue with our fund-raising efforts to make up for the dollars that we were getting from Komen."
Founder and CEO of Komen, Nancy Brinker, responded by posting a video on Youtube. Brinker said Komen has spent 30 years providing real help to low-income, uninsured and underinsured women, and recent changes to Komen's granting policies only reinforce its commitment.
Patients like Tricia Mills hope Komen will change its plan. She says the money is needed.
"I think it's horrible," Mills said. "I recently heard about them pulling out funding. Planned Parenthood has been a part of my life in one way or another since I was a teenager. Three years ago I lost my health insurance, and this place is the most affordable to get your well-woman exam and your mammogram and they offer so many services."
Donations have poured in to Planned Parenthood since Komen announced it would cut funding. In the first 48 hours, about $400,000 was raised. New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg responded by saying Thursday that he would make up a large part of the missing money. Bloomberg, a billionaire with a long-term interest in public health, said he would give Planned Parenthood Federation of America $1 for every new dollar raised, up $250,000.