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Iowa City reacts to Komen funding cuts to Planned Parenthood

BY ELISE DILGER | FEBRUARY 03, 2012 7:20 AM

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Some University of Iowa students are split over the Susan G. Komen Foundation's decision to withdraw breast-screening grants from Planned Parenthood.

Christina Carberry, the president of the Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance at the UI, said she's concerned Komen's decision was influenced by the organization's abortion services.

"I believe this is unfortunate because the majority of services provided are medical care and screening for young women who need medical care and cannot afford to go to a hospital," Carberry said.

Fellow Alliance member Rachel Beck said she agreed.

"I am surprised," she said. "I think it's pretty unfair and counterproductive."

According to an Associated Press article released Tuesday, the Komen Foundation has withdrawn $680,000 in grants due to Planned Parenthood's support of abortion services.

The foundation defended its actions on its website, posting a video of founder and CEO Nancy Brinker saying the decision was made to "eliminate duplicative grants" and to ensure providers are "actually providing a life-saving mammogram."

"We regret that these new policies have affected some long-standing grantees, such as Planned Parenthood, but want to be absolutely clear that our grant-making decisions are not about politics," the foundation said in a Feb. 1 press release.

UI freshman Nicole Enright said she doesn't agree with the foundation's choice even though she identified herself as "pro-life."

"I do not think that is fair because Planned Parenthood has other medical care to offer besides abortions," she said. "[The Komen Foundation] could have taken measures to make sure no money went towards abortions."

Planned Parenthood of the Heartland CEO Jill June said the chapter has received a slew of recent donations in response to the funding cut from independent supporters of both organizations.

"Over the past 48 hours, we've seen an outpouring of support from Planned Parenthood and Komen supporters alike," she wrote in an email. "We will not let politics interfere with health care. We will continue to provide these life-saving screenings for the women who rely on us."

June said both Planned Parenthood and the Komen Foundation have faced similar coercion from organizations she described as being against women's reproductive health care.

"It's extremely disappointing that in response to mounting pressure from a vocal few, leaders at the Susan G. Komen Foundation have made the decision to accommodate these extreme voices," she said.

Planned Parenthood of the Heartland public-relations Manager Shelby Cloke also said supporters and donors have come forward following the Komen Foundation's decision.

"We refuse to put politics over women's health," she wrote in an email.


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