2/2/2012: JACPAC disapproves of Komen Action Against Planned Parenthood

JACPAC disapproves Komen Action Against Planned Parenthood

Highland Park, IL Feb 2, 2012 – Joint Action Committee for Political Affairs (JACPAC) has issued an action alert to its members nationwide to contact Susan G. Komen for the Cure to protest that organization’s recent action against Planned Parenthood.  Komen ceased its funding of mammograms and other screening tests that Planned Parenthood provides for mostly young, low-income or uninsured women. JACPAC’s action alert is an expression of  extreme disappointment over Komen’s decision, which targets the most vulnerable women whose sole health care provider is Planned Parenthood.

Over the last five years, Planned Parenthood has provided about 4 million breast exams and referrals for 70,000 mammograms nationwide. Funding from Komen covers about 170,000 of the breast exams and 6,400 mammogram referrals, according to Cecile Richards, Executive Director of Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA). PPFA is the largest provider of reproductive health services in the country.

In making this decision, Komen appears to be caving in to political pressure. The pressure comes from lawmakers on the political right who have taken aim at women by legislating away their reproductive health options. The pressure has mounted in the form of an audit launched by Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL), chairman of the House Energy & Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, to determine whether public money had been spent on abortions over the last decade. JACPAC agrees with Planned Parenthood supporters that the investigation is a witch-hunt, with no basis for being conducted other than Stearns’ own political views.

Komen’s sharp political turn to the right has left women and science behind. It wouldn’t be the first time.  In April 2011,  Komen hired as its senior vice president for public policy Karen Handel, who ran for governor of Georgia in 2010 and lost, despite an endorsement by Sarah Palin. During her campaign, Handel pledged to be a “pro-life governor,” and said she “disapproved of the mission of Planned Parenthood.” Additionally, a member of  Komen's Advocacy Alliance Board is  Jane Abraham, the General Chairman of the Susan B. Anthony List and of its Political Action Committee. While Komen claims to care for women’s health,  the politics of some of its board and senior staff work against its stated goals.

JACPAC agrees strongly with Patrick Hurd, CEO of Planned Parenthood of Virginia, that cancer  victims don’t care about people’s politics and cancer doesn’t favor one political point of view over another.   That is a guiding principle Komen should not have abandoned.

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Joint Action Committee for Political Affairs (JACPAC) is a bipartisan political action committee dedicated to the special relationship between the US and Israel and a social agenda that includes reproductive choice and separation of religion and state. JACPAC supports the election campaigns of US Senate and House candidates who uphold this agenda and maintains an ongoing dialogue with those it helps elect. JACPAC serves as a political resource for the Jewish community, furnishing information about candidates, elections and issues.