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Race for the Door

Why Planned Parenthood has become Public Enemy No. 1 for a vocal segment of conservative America remains a mystery to us. All of its services are legal and medically necessary, filling an essential void left by our piecemeal, inequitable health care system, which is why the federal government provides the agency with $363 million annually.

Breaking News Alert…Susan G. Komen for the Cure has reversed its decision to cut off funding for breast cancer screenings by Planned Parenthood.

Republicans like to rail that most of Planned Parenthood’s work is to provide abortions — Senator Jon Kyl famously said that was 90% of what the organization did — but that is pure rubbish. (A careful analysis by confirmed that only 3% of its services are abortion related.) Still, because public monies are not permitted to pay for any abortions, no matter how essential, Congress is looking into how the agency spends its money.

Which is the excuse for the world’s largest breast cancer organization, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, to cut off its financing of breast cancer screening and education programs run by Planned Parenthood affiliates. A new policy prevents Komen from funding organizations under investigation — even, it seems, politically motivated ones. Guess Komen has decided that Planned Parenthood is guilty unless proven otherwise.

Perhaps not coincidentally, Komen’s new vice president for public policy, Karen Handel, is ardently against Planned Parenthood and vowed to defund it when she was running for governor of Georgia. She didn’t win the election, but it looks like she won her point.

There’s a simple way to object to Komen’s outrage: Run the other way. Just because it seems that the world is blanketed with its bright pink ribbons doesn’t mean there aren’t other worthy avenues to support breast cancer research. That’s a message the zealots in Congress also need to hear. Fighting for women’s rights has always been marathon.

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