Franken among senators asking Komen to reverse Planned Parenthood decision

WASHINGTON – DFL Sen. Al Franken is one of a group of Democratic U.S. Senators who are asking the Susan G. Komen Foundation to reverse its decision this week to halt funding for to Planned Parenthood breast cancer screening .

The foundation, a major sponsor of breast cancer research and screening, withdrew financial support for Planned Parenthood citing a policy of not funding groups that are currently under investigation.

Republicans opposed to abortion on a U.S. House committee are investigating the organization in what the group’s supporters characterize as a politically motivated attempt to intimidate the country’s largest provider of abortion and family planning services.

In a letter to Komen CEO Nancy Brinker, the Senators call the foundation’s decision “troubling” and write, “It would be tragic if any woman–let alone thousands of women– lost access to these potentially life-saving screenings because of a politically motivated attack.”

Franken’s office confirmed that he had signed the letter. The Washington Post reports that 21 other Senators, all Democrats, have also signed it. 25 other Senators also signed the letter.

Here’s a copy of the full letter:

Dear Ambassador Brinker,

We write to express our disappointment with Susan G. Komen for the Cure’s decision to cut funding for breast cancer prevention, screening, and education at Planned Parenthood health centers. This troubling decision threatens to reduce access to necessary, life saving services. We urge Komen to reconsider its decision.

Planned Parenthood is a trusted provider of health care for women and men. More than 90 percent of the services provided by Planned Parenthood are primary and preventative including wellness exams and cancers screenings that save lives. Each year, Planned Parenthood health clinics provide 750,000 breast exams, 770,000 pap tests and nearly 4 million tests and treatments for sexually transmitted diseases. Twenty percent of all women in the U.S. have visited a Planned Parenthood health center.

For the past five years, grants to local affiliates of Planned Parenthood have been an important part of Planned Parenthood’s work to protect women from breast cancer. Komen funding for Planned Parenthood has provided nearly 170,000 clinical breast exams and resulted in 6,400 referrals for mammograms. In 2011 alone, grants from Komen provided Planned Parenthood with roughly $650,000 in funding for breast cancer prevention, screening, and education. According to a recent statement by Komen, “In some areas of the U.S., our affiliates have determined a Planned Parenthood clinic to be the best or only local place where women can receive breast health care.”

It would be tragic if any woman–let alone thousands of women– lost access to these potentially life-saving screenings because of a politically motivated attack.

We earnestly hope that you will put women’s health before partisan politics and reconsider this decision for the sake of the women who depend on both your organizations for access to the health care they need.

Sincerely,