Vitter Weighs In On The Susan G. Komen-Planned Parenthood Flap

From a press release this afternoon…

U.S. Sen. David Vitter today applauded the decision by Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the nation’s largest breast cancer charity, to end its affiliation with Planned Parenthood, the nation’s leading provider of abortions.

“This is a welcome, long overdue decision that will make Komen more effective in the fight against breast cancer, which is why I wrote a letter to Komen’s founder and CEO last May urging her to take this step.  Komen does tremendous good by supporting education and research to fight breast cancer, and it was clear that their association with Planned Parenthood was unnecessary to advance that core mission.

“My wife Wendy saw firsthand the terrible effects of this disease at a young age, when her mother passed away from the disease.  It’s always been an issue near to Wendy’s heart and mine to do everything we can to support the fight against breast cancer and I think this decision by Komen is a step in the right direction,” said Vitter.

Vitter’s wife, Wendy, currently serves as president of the board of the Cancer Association of Greater New Orleans (CAGNO), and has been on the board for more than 20 years.  CAGNO provides medical equipment, vital prescription medications and financial assistance for bills to cancer patients who otherwise would have to do without.  CAGNO is also a leader in providing education to people about prevention, screening and treatment options.

Prior to the ending of the partnership between Komen and Planned Parenthood, Komen had provided millions of dollars to Planned Parenthood to pay for breast health services for low-income and uninsured women. However, according to media reports last year, Planned Parenthood affiliates in the U.S. do not own or operate mammogram machines, and Planned Parenthood instead used Komen funds to reimburse outside providers who offered mammograms. Vitter sent a letter to Komen founder and CEO Nancy Brinker urging her to end Komen’s association with Planned Parenthood and give the grant money directly to mammogram providers (Vitter’s letter is attached).

As one of the leading advocates in the U.S. Senate for the fight against breast cancer, Vitter has long fought against the Food and Drug Administration’s move to take the drug Avastin, a treatment for metastatic (stage IV) breast cancer, off-label, which essentially takes the medicine off the table as an option for breast cancer patients.

Vitter also successfully passed an amendment in 2009 to stop the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force’s recommendation from limiting access to mammograms for women under 50.

Click here for a copy of Vitter’s letter to the Komen folks.

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