Saturday, March 3, 2012

Susan Komen Should Reverse Its Reversal

by Ginny Mooney

I wear pink socks.
I have a pink visor with a pink ribbon.
I’ve had two cousins with breast cancer saved by early detection.
I support the tremendous work The Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation is doing to raise awareness of breast cancer, increase early detection, and help reduce mortality rates form the disease. Yet I believe Komen should reverse its recent ‘reversal’ and stop funding Planned Parenthood—even though its support is earmarked for breast cancer education, screenings, and mammogram referrals.

Here’s why:

First, the Komen organization is all about saving the lives of women. They specifically target the female population for cancer research and prevention. Yet, Komen is funding a group that is helping to eliminate the next generation of women. Approximately 50% of abortions performed are on female infants. (About half of all babies conceived are female.) And while breast cancer kills 40,000 women per year in the United States, abortion takes the lives of 600,000 female babies in the same amount of time, or more than 40,000 baby girls per month. Isn’t it something of a mixed message to be paying the organization that is on the front lines of eliminating thousands of female lives in the name of saving some?

Second, evidence is mounting that there is a link between abortion and developing breast cancer later in life. This abortion-breast cancer link has been the subject of intense debate since the 1950s, but according to a June 2010 *Daily Mail article, four epidemiological studies since 2008 have reported a link between abortion and increased risk of breast cancer—one reporting up to three times the likelihood of developing the disease for women who have undergone an abortion procedure. (The link is due to hormonal and breast tissue changes that occur during pregnancy that are then interrupted by an abortion.) Though the American Medical Association does not accept this link, citing other studies that have not discovered any connection, I ask you: if there is even the slightest chance that there is a connection between abortion and breast cancer, shouldn’t a group whose mission is do everything in its power to end breast cancer err on the side of caution? Instead, it is funding an organization that performs 300,000 procedures a year that just may be causing the very disease they are fighting. A house divided against itself cannot stand.

Finally, there are numerous other options for providing important breast cancer education and screenings other than Planned Parenthood. Medicaid covers screenings and annual mammograms for lower income women enrolled in its program. Inner city health clinics also provide the services—and with the $600,000 that Komen is providing in funding to Planned Parenthood redirected to such clinics, they could provide even more useful tools. (Planned Parenthood does not even provide mammograms—only screenings and referrals for mammograms). If Komen really want to protect the lives of all women, why not provide funds to crisis pregnancy centers to offer breast health education and screenings for those who come in for assistance. And if it is ‘too political’ to fund crisis pregnancy centers who are helping women place babies for adoption in the case of unplanned pregnancy, isn’t it too political to fund an organization whose ratio of adoption referrals to abortions is only 1 per 120. If it’s not, it should be.