Controversy Engulfs Susan G. Komen for the Cure

Friday, February 3, 2012

Susan G. Komen for the Cure's decision this week to cut funding for Planned Parenthood's breast cancer screenings has pit the two women's health groups against each other and stirred controversy and concerns over the impact on low-income women.

(WOMENSENEWS)--The National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health expressed disappointment Thursday in the Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation's decision to discontinue funds to Planned Parenthood health centers for breast cancer prevention, screenings and education, adding to the uproar over the move.

"The Komen foundation's decision is alarming and potentially deadly for Latinas, the uninsured and low-income women across the country," Jessica Gonzalez-Rojas, executive director of the Latina Institute, said in a press statement.

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Hispanic women are 20 percent more likely to die from breast cancer compared to non-Hispanic white women when diagnosed at a similar age and stage, reported HealthDay News Dec. 8, 2011, and twice as likely to go without health insurance, according to U.S. Census data.

Screening rates for Hispanic women are also lower than for Caucasians -- 69.7 percent compared to 72.7 percent -- according to a study recently released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Such controversy continues to engulf Susan G. Komen for the Cure after news broke Jan. 31 that it would be cutting off funding for Planned Parenthood Federation of America's breast cancer screenings for low-income women.

Susan G. Komen for the Cure's top public health official, Mollie Williams, immediately resigned after the board made the decision in December to end grants to Planned Parenthood, the Atlantic reported Feb. 2. Sources claim that William's resignation was a direct response to the Planned Parenthood decision, though Williams said she wouldn't respond to questions about the decision or her resignation. She was the managing director of community health programs and oversaw the distribution of $93 million in annual grants.

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