The split between Planned Parenthood and the Susan G. Komen foundation has caused an uproar online, reporting 75 percent of the people posting on social media channels sharing negative comments about the breast-cancer charity’s decision to it end its funding support of the non-profit women’s health provider.
We wanted to know how the loss of over a half-million dollars of support might impact the breast cancer screening services of Planned Parenthood and what issues involved can we as a community address.
Jenny Carrillo is the Senior VP at Southern New England Planned Parenthood (and Health Justice CT advisory board member). This week, we had a chance to steal a moment of Jenny’s time to ask her some questions.
HJCT: Jenny, it is well documented that disparities in breast cancer screening exist among racial, ethnic and socio-economic groups. In CDC’s most recent report, breast cancer screening fell below its national healthy people 2010 goal. Can you briefly tell us how has Planned Parenthood (PP) tried to address this disparity?
Jenny: Here at Planned Parenthood Southern New England, we have early detection programs, where we go into the community and work in collaboration with schools and churches to reach those who are typically underserved. We can educate women about the importance of receiving breast cancer screenings. In our strategic plan, it is our five year goal to continue to target these populations and reduce these disparities.
HJCT: And do you anticipate any impact to these programs by the lost of funding from the Komen Foundation?
Jenny: While we are sad by the national news of Komen’s decision to end its support, we will continue to provide these services to women here in Connecticut and Rhode Island. It is also important to note that we recognize that this is a national decision, and not one that is made locally. We appreciate the leadership at the Connecticut Affiliate Komen Foundation for their continued support.
HJCT: Can you touch upon PP’s specific plan to address this loss in funding?
Jenny: Our supporters are rallying behind us. They are reaching out to us and asking us what they can do. We have an emergency breast health fund that has been created for people who want to direct their funds to fill in this funding gap.
HJCT: Much of the discussions have been around Planned Parenthood’s support for abortion. Where would you like to see the conversation go instead?
Jenny: We are firmly committed to the right for women to make choices for their own health and this includes the right to make medical decisions, such as having an abortion. We believe we need to protect this right for women to chose. With that said, abortion is only 10% of the services we provide. Ninety percent of our services are preventive in nature – we provide education, screenings, health exams and so many other important services. It is important that people recognize our mission is to improve the health of women and our community at large. We want to make sure that people understand that our mission aligns with the Komen foundation; we are here to improve the lives of women and reduce disparities in women’s health.
HJCT: What are the actions that you would you like the Komen Foundation to undertake now?
Jenny: We would like the Komen foundation to reverse their decision and continue to fund PP’s essential life-saving programs.
HJCT: What are some helpful things people can do to support PP?
Jenny: We appreciate all of the support that we have received this week. People can continue to support us by the providing donations on our website. People can alsobe activists on social media, using the #standwithPP hashtag on twitter. They can reach out to their legislators to make sure that women’s health is at the forefront of the discussions. And of course, contact our office to see how to get involved locally.
Please note: Since this post, the Susan G. Komen Foundation has reverse its decision and will continue its funding to Planned Parenthood.