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Lawmakers decry action vs. Planned Parenthood

Some Bay Area House members are going bananas over the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation’s decision to stop funding breast-cancer exams through Planned Parenthood health centers.

Here’s a clip of Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Hillsborough, speaking about it on the House floor today:

Speier, along with Reps. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland; Zoe Lofgren, D-San Jose; Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto; and Lynn Woolsey, D-Petaluma, were among 17 female California House Democrats who issued this joint statement:

“As the largest number of women legislators in Congress, we have come together to express our concern and displeasure over Susan G. Komen’s decision. Caving to a Congressional right-wing witch hunt won’t just hurt Planned Parenthood, it sets back women’s health. Funding from Susan G. Komen has allowed Planned Parenthood to provide nearly 170,000 clinical breast exams in the past five years as well as more than 6,400 mammogram referrals.

“One in five women in America has gone to Planned Parenthood at some point in her life, and as science has shown, early detection is the key to survival. For the sake of women’s health we sincerely hope that Komen will reconsider their decision, and until then, we do not plan to work with the national foundation.”

And, from U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif.:

“I was perplexed and troubled to see the decision by Susan G. Komen for the Cure to cut off funding for life-saving breast cancer screenings through Planned Parenthood because of a political witch hunt by House Republicans. I truly hope that they will reconsider this decision and put the needs of women first.”

More, after the jump…

Rep. Mike Honda, D-San Jose, lost his wife to ovarian cancer in 2004, and his chief of staff is a breast-cancer survivor. His office said he called Komen founder/CEO Nancy Brinker last night to ask her to reconsider the decision, and then spent today rallying support for Planned Parenthood on Capitol Hill. He issued this statement:

“I am saddened and shocked that the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation has decided to discontinue grant funding for breast cancer exams at Planned Parenthood health centers. This is an alarming development resulting from political pressure from anti-women’s health organizations. I call on Komen to reconsider its decision. The health of millions of brave women everywhere demands the same kind of bravery from the Komen Foundation.

“Succumbing to pressure from opponents of women’s health sets a dangerous precedent. It has been noted that the primary reason for this shift in Komen policy is that Planned Parenthood is under investigation in Congress. It is clear that the investigation headed by Rep. Cliff Stearns is politically motivated, and it, too, was driven by ongoing pressure from extreme anti women’s health organizations.

“Under Komen’s new policy, any politician could call for an inquiry or investigation of an organization he or she does not support – whether it’s an organization focused on women’s health, communities of color, or immigration – and endanger that organization’s ability to function. This is inconsistent with America’s Constitutional principle of the presumption of innocent until proven guilty.

“Planned Parenthood is a trusted leader in breast cancer prevention care; helping tens of thousands of women identify breast cancer early when there is the best chance of successful treatment. In fact, Planned Parenthood doctors and nurses provided nearly 750,000 clinical breast exams to women last year — helping countless women detect breast cancer. Similarly, I know of the tireless work that Susan G. Komen has done since its inception, providing hope, raising nearly $2 billion dollars, and educating the world about this deadly disease.

“It is my sincere hope that one ill-fated decision does not undo years of life-saving work.”

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • RR senile columnist

    Hey gals, get your numbers straight. The 1 in 5 figure is unsubstantiated, even by PP. And the no. Of breast exams provided by PP is minuscule, whether by Honda’s count or the monstrous regiment of progressive hags.