Women Health Care Battles Not Over Just Because Komen Backed Down, Warns Sen. Patty Murray

Sen. Patty Murray began the day fully expecting to deliver an eviscerating attack on the Susan G. Komen Foundation for its decision Tuesday to cutoff funds for breast-cancer screenings at Planned Parenthood affiliates. When Komen caved this morning and announced a complete course reversal, Murray, too, needed a course reversal of her own.

Appearing a noon-time press conference at Planned Parenthood-Seattle, Washington's senior senator was asked to elaborate on the firestorm that engulfed Komen the past few days. As Joel Connelly reports today in Seattle PI.com, when asked what prompted the nation's best-known breast cancer charity to surrender, Murray said, "Women and men across this country have worn pink ribbons, done marches and opened their checkbooks. We all felt when we were on the walks -- women and men, Democrats and Republicans, people of all backgrounds -- that we were on the same mission."

Connelly also noted that a former breast cancer patient, Sharona Lindgren, arrived "breathless" for the press event and welcomed Murray with the news of Komen's retreat.

"We made history," said Murray, giving Lindgren a hug.

Murray, one of 25 U.S. Senators -- including Sen. Maria Cantwell of Washington -- to sign an angry letter sent to Komen, said, "Politics should never come between women and health care. There are many who do continue to put partisan politics ahead of women's health ... It is astonishing to me there are people on the other side who want to take away a woman's health care decisions."

Murray warned, reported Seattle PI.com, that further efforts to undermine women's autonomy in health decisions are likely. "There are those on the other side who will use everything they can to take support away from Planned Parenthood," she said.

The PR nightmare that Komen has endured has actually been a boost to Planned Parenthood, who said all the negative publicity aimed at the Foundation has brought in an estimated $3 million in pledges and donations -- compared with the $500,000 it received from Komen last year.

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