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How Will Pro-Choice Hadassah React to Komen?

Women’s Zionist group is also Planned Parenthood ally

Marc Tracy
February 02, 2012

One group put in an awkward spot by the breast-cancer foundation Susan G. Komen for the Cure’s decision yesterday to halt funding to Planned Parenthood is Hadassah: The Women’s Zionist Organization of America has been a Komen ally in its crusade to persuade all women to get annual mammograms at 40, rather than 50, and also a generous Komen funder. In an email blast yesterday, Marcie Natan, the Hadassah president, recounted the numerous instances of cooperation between her group and Komen and then added:

Hadassah has long been a social and political advocate for a woman’s right to choose and a strong supporter in the advancement of women’s health, particularly regarding those issues involving breast health and the treatment of and search for a cure for breast cancer.

As a two-time winner in the battle against breast cancer myself, as a supporter of both Komen and Planned Parenthood, and as an advocate for reproductive freedom, I am disappointed that the controversy surrounding Komen’s decision to discontinue its modest funding of Planned Parenthood has become such a distraction that it could endanger our collective dedication to the important issues surrounding women’s health. There is no time to waste in our commitment to the fundamental issues of women’s health, breast cancer and a woman’s right to choose.

A spokesperson referred me to this as Hadassah’s statement on the matter. Left unsaid: Whom does Natan blame for “the controversy”—Komen, for pulling its funding, or Planned Parenthood, for providing abortions? One would assume the former, given Hadassah’s strong support for a “woman’s right to choose.” Which begs the follow-up: Will Hadassah, as a major ally and funder, request that Komen restore its Planned Parenthood funding, on threat of losing some of Hadassah’s? That would seem like the logical next step.

Marc Tracy is a staff writer at The New Republic, and was previously a staff writer at Tablet. He tweets @marcatracy.