MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) — The Susan G. Komen, race for the cuts? The foundation is pulling the plug on funding for Planned Parenthood. Komen officials say new rules ban them from giving money to groups that are under federal investigation. It's a double whammy for Planned Parenthood because the state of Tennessee no longer funds HIV and syphilis testing in Shelby County.
Women told abc24.com this is an attack on the young and poor, especially when Planned Parenthood provides much needed free health care to the community. Men and women are angry when politicians make decisions about what’s best for their healthcare.
"For them to think that they have so much power and to take that power in a negative note is not right,” said a Planned Parenthood supporter, Nkumba Hayes.
'They're not being fair,” said another supporter, Yashika Nelson.
Planned Parenthood CEO Barry Chase thinks politics is also behind the cuts from the Komen Foundation.
"They have been politically manipulated in a way that's going to hurt women and it certainly doesn't compliment their fine work,” said Chase.
Even though Planned Parenthood in Memphis doesn't receive Komen money, Chase says the organization's decision to stop funding is not smart. Komen officials say the key reason they cut funding is because Planned Parenthood is under investigation in Congress, a probe launched by a conservative Republican who was urged to act by anti-abortion groups. A Komen spokeswoman says the charity recently adopted criteria barring grants to organizations that are under investigation by local, state or federal authorities, but many along with Chase blame politics. The scariest part for these women that is many are now unable to afford basic health care.
“It’s not fair to the people that are sick, or to the people they don't have insurance,” said Nelson.
Planned Parenthood says it will try to look for other funding but in the short term it will start charging for services that used to be free, like HIV and STD testing.