New Komen Foundation policy will not affect Columbia's Planned Parenthood

Wednesday, February 1, 2012 | 6:43 p.m. CST; updated 7:45 p.m. CST, Wednesday, February 1, 2012

COLUMBIA — The Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation's decision to stop providing grants to Planned Parenthood will not affect services at the Columbia clinic.

The clinic doesn't receive funding from the Komen Foundation to provide breast health exams, said Michelle Trupiano, spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri.

"We will continue providing the breast health exams that we currently provide and continue serving the women of mid-Missouri," Trupiano said.

The foundation's policy change "alarmed and saddened" the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, according to a statement on that organization's website. The statement said the policy change appears to be politically motivated — a reaction to pressure from abortion-rights opponents to stop funding Planned Parenthood because some of its clinics provide abortion services.

The Planned Parenthood Federation of America is under investigation by the U.S. House of Representatives' Committee on Energy and Commerce. Rep. Cliff Stearns, R-Fla., requested Planned Parenthood documents in a Sept. 15, 2011 letter to Cecile Richards, the organization's president to look into how the organization funds abortion services.

"We are disappointed in (Komen's) decision," Trupiano said. "It was a political decision, and breast cancer doesn't take a political stance."

Jane McElroy, vice president of the board of Komen's mid-Missouri affiliate, said the updated policy is not a response to pressure from right-wing groups. Instead, she said, it stems from a concern that an organization under government investigation might not be serving the community to the best of its ability, and added that it applies to any organization, not just Planned Parenthood.

"It's just to make sure we're giving to organizations in good standing," she said.

McElroy said the political discussion surrounding the change is "upsetting" because it takes focus away from breast health and breast cancer, the foundation's main mission.

"These grant-making decisions aren't about politics," McElroy said. "They're about serving women."

The foundation's new policy does not affect existing grants, she said.

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