Komen Acadiana clarifies Facebook post

by Walter Pierce

Heather Blanchard

The executive director of the Acadiana affiliate of the Susan G. Komen Foundation is distancing Komen Acadiana from a graphic that was posted last week to the affiliate’s Facebook page that read, “Komen Acadiana knows where every dollar goes and has never given to Planned Parenthood. It also has no plans of doing so.”

The post riled some in the Lafayette progressive community who noted that Planned Parenthood offers thousands of health care screenings including mammograms to poor and low-income Louisiana women every year, a mission that dovetails with Komen.

But Komen Acadiana’s Heather Blanchard says the post was missing context — specifically that it was roughly only half of a larger graphic designed to make clear that there are no Planned Parenthood clinics within the footprint served by Komen Acadiana, which is more than a dozen parishes in South Louisiana. Moreover, Blanchard says, some local affiliates of Susan G. Komen including Komen Acadiana have suffered declining charitable donations since 2012 when the national Komen organization announced it was cutting ties with Planned Parenthood and later walked back the claim amid intense national criticism.

Blanchard says Komen Acadiana has in past years given more than $400,000 in its service area “for breast screening, education, treatment and resources — and that was everything from supporting Miles Perret programs with transportation dollars so that patients could get to and from. This past year we were only able to fund $170,000, so yes it has definitely hurt us.”

Last week's Facebook post

The full graphic, Blanchard says, “explained exactly where our money goes: 25 percent goes to our research fund and then 75 percent stays here through our local grants, advocacy and mission work,” and because Planned Parenthood has no clinics within Komen Acadiana’s footprint, no Komen fundraising activities benefit Planned Parenthood.

Planned Parenthood has come under renewed attack from Republicans following the release of a series of highly edited, misleading videos by an anti-abortion group designed to convey the impression that Planned Parenthood sells aborted fetal tissue to researchers. It doesn’t do any such thing, although it does make such tissue available to researchers, which is in line with long-standing practices within the medical research community.

The latest (manufactured) Planned Parenthood controversy led former Gov. Bobby Jindal to sign an order cancelling PP’s Medicaid contracts with the state. Other GOP governors did the same. And it derailed national legislation this summer that would have created a commemorative coin to help raise funds for breast-cancer research.

Read our original post on the Komen Acadiana Facebook controversy here.