A fundraising effort to help uninsured lesbians in Atlanta to get free breast exams and physicals from Planned Parenthood won’t stop, despite Susan G. Komen for the Cure reversing the policy change that prompted it.
The Health Initiative, formerly known as the Atlanta Lesbian Health Initiative, moved quickly on Wednesday to use a misstep by Komen to help their lesbian clients without insurance. Komen announced a policy change that meant ending grants to Planned Parenthood for breast exams that critics charged was the work of Karen Handel, an anti-gay, anti-choice Republican who lost a race for Georgia governor in 2010.
So the Health Initiative worked to turn Handel’s hate into help for gay health by launching a fundraising campaign. Donate in Handel’s honor and the Health Initiative will earmark it to fund breast exams and annual physicals for uninsured lesbians at Planned Parenthood, the group said. They’ll even send Handel a note to say thanks.
But Friday, the criticism aimed at Komen prompted the organization to reverse its decision and restore the Planned Parenthood grants. The Health Initiative applauded the change, but said it won’t impact their new fundraising effort.
“It doesn’t change our goal to raise funds to cover the cost of breast exams and other health screenings for uninsured LGBT individuals through Planned Parenthood and our other partners,” says Linda Ellis, the Health Initiative’s executive director. “It will however, change the wording of the acknowledgement letter that we send to Karen Handel. I congratulate Komen on the decision. It’s the right one.”
UPDATE: The Health Initiative says it raised nearly $1,000 in the first 24 hours of the campaign. That’s enough to provide 20 breast exams or seven annual physicals. “Because of you support, we can help,” the group says.