Komen Columbus To Likely Avoid Boycott Of May ‘Race For The Cure’

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Susan G. Komen Columbus Race for the Cure participants. After several days of backlash from both Planned Parenthood and Komen supporters, the Komen foundation rescinded its plan to defund Planned Parenthood.(Photo: Bryan Loar (Flickr))
Susan G. Komen Columbus Race for the Cure participants. After several days of backlash from both Planned Parenthood and Komen supporters, the Komen foundation rescinded its plan to defund Planned Parenthood.(Photo: Bryan Loar (Flickr))

The Columbus affiliate of the Susan G. Komen Foundation likely will dodge an organized protest of the local Race for the Cure now that the foundation has rescinded its earlier decision to de-fund Planned Parenthood.

Short North restaurateur Elizabeth Lessner was set to begin distributing a petition Monday to boycott this year’s Komen Columbus Race for the Cure after learning the breast cancer foundation pulled grants to Planned Parenthood.

Komen Columbus executive director Katie Carter said she’s relieved to likely avoid a protest of the May race which has raised $18 million in the past 20 years. Most of the money stays in Central Ohio for prevention and treatment programs.

“If we would lose money and that’s going to affect them, impact them, locally here. And we don’t want that to happen. Our mission is to save lives…and that would have deterred from that. Any money that we receive goes directly to those services. And that’s what the important part of this is and where the focus needs to be,” Carter said.

The Komen Foundation said it will fund Planned Parenthood’s existing grants and allow them to apply for future funding.

Planned Parenthood of Central Ohio CEO Lisa Perks said in a statement she is “so glad that Komen has restored funding to [the organization] for vital breast cancer screening and educational services.”

Central Ohio’s Planned Parenthood has not applied for grants from Komen in eight years.

Upon learning of Komen’s reversal, Lessner wrote in an email to WOSU “it remains to be seen whether Komen stands with women or with political ideologies.”

Earlier this week, critics charged Komen’s defunding decision with political motivation. A congressional committee is investigating whether Planned Parenthood used taxpayer money to fund abortions. That committee is led by an anti-abortion representative. Komen also recently hired an executive who has been outspoken about her anti-abortion position.

The foundation has vehemently denied the previous decision was politically charged.

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