It’s amazing how fast the news traveled. Earlier this week, word broke that the giant and usually applauded Susan G. Komen For the Cure–the nation’s biggest breast cancer charity organization–was ending its practice of donating money to Planned Parenthood, which makes breast exams, birth control and abortions available to thousands of lower income women nationwide (Komen gave $680,000 to Planned Parenthood affiliates last year).
The reason? A new policy saying the organization will not donate money to any organization under investigation (Florida Republican Congressman Cliff Stearns, an outspoken abortion foe, is currently looking into Planned Parenthood).
Within hours, the news went viral. Outrage flooded Facebook and Twitter, and donations flooded into Planned Parenthood. Komen execs scrambled to deny their decision had anything to do with abortion. Then Mother Jones reported that Komen was still donating millions to Penn State, which is also under federal investigation, this time for alleged campus crime reporting irregularities. According to The Atlantic, one top Komen executive even resigned over the decision.
Wondering how all this would affect Planned Parenthood Hawaii (which operates three clinics, including one in Kahului, and do approximately 2,600 breast exams a year), I talked to Katie Polidoro, the organization’s director of government relations and public affairs.
“Obviously, we’re disappointed,” Polidoro said. “But there should be no effect here.”
The reason is that except for a small grant in 2005, Polidoro said Planned Parenthood Hawaii hasn’t been taking money from the Komen Foundation (the organization does hand out small breast exam cards from the Komen foundation to women, and Polidoro said that practice would continue).
“It’s disappointing to see a grant partner bow to political pressure, but we hope there will be some sort of change,” Polidoro added.
What’s more, Polidoro said the Komen Foundation’s decision was a national one, meaning there was still the possibility that regional Komen Foundations would continue to give money to Planned Parenthood. In fact, Polidoro said the Komen Foundation affiliate in Connecticut has already promised to keep donating to Planned Parenthood.
To contact Planned Parenthood’s clinic in Kahului, please call 808-871-1176.
Photo: S. MiRK/Wikimedia Commons
About Anthony Pignataro
Anthony Pignataro has been a journalist since 1996. He started work as MauiTime's Editor in 2003, took a couple years off starting in 2008, then returned to the staff in 2011. He's the author of "Stealing Cars With The Pros," a 2013 collection of his journalism and the Maui novels "Small Island" (2011) and "The Dead Season" (2012)–all of which were published by Event Horizon Press. In 2014, his one-act play "War Stories" won second place in the Maui Fringe Festival.