Thing are not looking good for the Susan G. Komen Foundation. The organization has lost so much support since withdrawing its funding from Planned Parenthood last year that they are now canceling their annual three-day walk in Washington, D.C. and six other cities.
Last year, the Komen foundation received massive blowback after announcing they would pull their funding from Planned Parenthood. Criticism came from supporters across the nation, affiliate organizations, and dozens of politicians. Twenty-six senators penned a letter urging the foundation to reconsider its decision, and Mayor Bloomberg donated $250,000 directly to Planned Parenthood as a result of the announcement.
According to the AP, the decision resulted in “a cutoff of hundreds of thousands of dollar in grants, mainly for breast exams.”
The decision was made by Komen founder Nancy Brinker, who said the foundation could not continue to fund Planned Parenthood because of new guidelines they adopted, stating they would not fund organizations under congressional investigation. It did not come entirely as a shock, as the foundation has been receiving pressure from anti-abortion groups for years, urging them to defund the national health care clinic.
The controversy has led to some significant losses.
Fundraising events will be cut in half, and walks in seven cities have been canceled for 2014.
The decision to pull out of the events “was not made lightly,” said a spokeswoman, “as this bold and empowering event has touched the lives of thousands of participants.”
The foundation cited economic uncertainty and competition from other charities as the reasons they cancelled the walks. The race raised on $1.5 million this year — compared to the $5 million it raised in 2011.
The walks have been canceled in response to a decrease in supporters and volunteers.
Thousands of people across the nation stopped donating to the Komen foundation after the Planned Parenthood controversy. For instance, Stacey Tillman, a 47-year-old woman from Sandusky, Ohio, who donated over $300 to Susan G. Komen each year for the past nine years, began sending her money elsewhere.
Are politics effecting what should be a completely apolitical affair?
No. When an organization meant to support women’s health defunds the nation’s most accessible women’s health center, it sends a clear message: it would rather launch a massive PR campaign for “pink” than actually provide women with access to care. News of the canceled fundraising events come just one month after Brinker received a salary boost. She now makes $684,717 a year, and the public continues to criticize her raise.
Unless the foundation reconsiders its commitment to breast cancer prevention and treatment — and the ways in which women can access the health care they need — they are looking at many more difficult years ahead.