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A doctor and her patient stand up for Planned Parenthood

By Dr. Sujatha Prabhakaran
. 1 Comment(s)

Note: good news.  Since this post was written, the Susan G. Komen Foundation reversed its decision and is reinstating funds for Planned Parenthood!  We celebrate on behalf of doctors like Dr. Prabhakaran and patients like Leslie.  - Ed.

As I’m sure you know, there’s been a lot of press in the last day or two about two important organizations in women’s health parting ways.  Susan G. Komen which has partnered with Planned Parenthood to provide access to life saving breast cancer screening for the last 20 years, has decided it  can no longer provide grant funding to Planned Parenthood. 

For those of us at Planned Parenthood, it is baffling and saddening.  Many of us, myself included, have supported Susan G. Komen, because we believe the work they do is vital to women and men’s health. I still believe that, which makes the decision even more confusing. 

I want to give them the benefit of the doubt.   Maybe they believed the rumors. . . we all can fall victim to this, so I’ll try to set the record straight. 

Maybe they believed the rumor that Senator Kyl started, that 90% of our services are abortion.   While Planned Parenthood is proud to offer safe, legal abortion services, over 90 percent of our services are toward prevention, including  breast-, cervical- and testicular-cancer screening, HIV and STD testing and counseling and contraceptive counseling.  

Maybe they believed that Planned Parenthood isn’t somewhere that many people go for healthcare.  In fact, 1 in 5 women has been to a Planned Parenthood in her life.  And each year we care for 3 million people in our health centers, including 170, 000 over the last five years through Komen projects.Maybe if they just knew the stories of our patients with breast cancer who get their diagnoses earlier because we provide inexpensive access to screening services, they would come around, so here goes: 

This is my patient Leslie’s story in her own words: 

I have been a patient of Planned Parenthood since I was 18 years old. It has always been a safe, caring and affordable place for me. 

Last year, because of their referal (sic) for a mammogram, I found out I had breast cancer.  Due to the early diagnosis, I am doing well so far. 

I have only had insurance once in my life, the rest of the time I have relied on Planned Parenthood to be my main doctor.  I get my yearly exam there for about 1/3 of what it would cost elsewhere.  I get my breast exam and my referal for my mammogram. 

I don’t know how I would take good care of my female parts if not for Planned Parenthood. 

Thanks for Everything . . . my heroes. 

Love , Leslie  

As organizations, Susan G. Komen and Planned Parenthood share the goal of improving access to breast cancer screening.  Hopefully we can come back together, the work to improve women’s health is difficult enough, women can’t afford for those of us doing this work to split apart. 

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  1. Judith

    thanks for sharing your story. when i was young back in the 1970's, was a patient at Planned Parenthood and was so impressed with their kind and professional care.

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