MINNEAPOLIS -Twin CitiesPlanned Parenthood officials said Wednesday that they are not directly affected by the announced funding cutoff from the Susan G. Komen Foundation. Komen is a major fund-raising center in the fight against breast cancer.
Komen pulled fundingfrom 19 of Planned Parenthood's 79 affiliates because of a change in Komen protocols that forbids funding of organizations under federal investigation. U.S. Representative Cliff Stearns, aFlorida Republican,has launched an inquiry into whether or not Planned Parenthood uses federal funds for abortions, which is prohibited.
Facebook and Twitter werebuzzing Wednesday with statements of support for Planned Parenthood and condemnations of the Komen decision. Some sites, including credoaction.com, called for web users to sign a petition demanding that Komen resume funding of "cancer screenings for poor women at Planned Parenthood clinics."
"Komen does not fund our local affiliates, that is true," said Sarah Stoesz, President of Planned Parenthood of Minnesota, North and South Dakota. "But, our affiliate does provide extensive breast health care for over 60,000 women in the area."
"This is not a local issue for us. This is a national issue, but the reason that we are concerned about this locally is because we do not like to see, particularly a women's health organization succumb to political pressure. Breast health has nothing to do with abortion and this is what this is all about," said Stoesz.
Denise Blumberg-Tendle, Mission Manager of the Minnesota affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, admitted that the controversy generated by the Komen decision is a concern locally.
"It is very concerning to us because this particular decision was not made on a local level. It was mandated by our national organization and although we have total flexibility as long as we are within guidelines to fund who we want to in the State of Minnesota, when the guidelines change, we always have to work within those guidelines," said Blumberg-Tendle.
The Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure offices are in the Mall of America, where the race is held each May on Mother's Day.
"Last year we had about 50,000 to 60,000 participants that came through Race for the Cure," said Blumberg-Tendle.
She said $2,500,000 was raised last year and 75-percentstayed to fund local non-profit agencies in the Twin Cities. 25-percent was forwarded to the national organization for research.
KARE-TV is a partner in the Race for the Cure event.