Laura Bassett and Lisa Belkin of HuffingtonPost.com report that Dr. Kathy Plesser, a Manhattan radiologist on the medical advisory board of Susan G. Komen for the Cure’s New York chapter will resign from her position unless Komen reverses its decision to withdraw grant money from Planned Parenthood.
Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the nation’s largest breast cancer charity, announced its plan on Tuesday not to renew its annual support. Planned Parent sprung into action and promptly launched a public relations blitz hoping to create some awareness and assist in fundraising activities.
The Komen foundation announced on January 31 that it had adopted a new rule against partnering with organizations that are under investigation, which forced them to sever ties with Planned Parenthood, which is currently under investigation in Congress. However, the groups that prompted the investigations are anti-abortion advocacy organizations that have long criticized Planned Parenthood, primarily a women’s health and family planning organization, over the fact that some of its clinics offer abortions.
Critics of the Komen decision assert the Dallas-based organization is politicizing Planned Parenthood’s performance of abortions rather than focusing on Planned Parenthood’s commitment to numerous services to lower-income women, including breast cancer education, routine exams and mammograms.
Plesser joins Komen’s top public health official, Mollie Williams, and the executive director of Komen’s Los Angeles County chapter, Deb Anthony, both of whom also resigned in protest.
Susan G. Koman appears to be losing the public relations battle with Planned Parenthood as Komen is facing an increasing amount of pressure from the public, women’s health groups, lawmakers and even some of its own regional affiliates, to reverse the decision and continue its five-year partnership.
Planned Parenthood’s fundraising efforts are humming. The group announced Wednesday that it had received $400,000 in donations in the 24 hours following Komen’s announcement. In addition, New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg said on Thursday he would help make up for the loss with a $250,000 donation, adding, “Politics have no place in health care. … Breast cancer screening saves lives and hundreds of thousands of women rely on Planned Parenthood for access to care. We should be helping women access that care, not placing barriers in their way.”