Recently, the above tweet surfaced and made its way around the internet, invoking passionate responses from those with strong opinions. The user made a bold claim, stating that being part of the movement every October to raise awareness for breast cancer does very little to actually detect and treat it; services at facilities like Planned Parenthood are what really help the cause. If a person truly cares about the fight to end cancer, they cannot turn around and support the defunding of organizations that provide cancer services.


And the user is absolutely right.

When a month, event, or fundraiser is designated for a certain issue, the focus is all too often on purely awareness and no action. Of course bringing attention to a worthy cause is critical to moving forward, but progress cannot be halted there. Choosing to wear pink and using marketing tools to get the attention of the public is undoubtedly helpful in starting a conversation. But as the above picture shows, pink clothing and accessories can't detect cancer nor provide patients with medical resources.

This may seem obvious, however, many of the people who dedicate their entire month of October and even year round time to advocating for breast cancer awareness refuse to support Planned Parenthood. Some say that it's a conflict of interest because PP offers services that they do not stand behind, while others claim that PP is one of many places to get screened for breast cancer and wouldn't be a loss if no longer available. These reasons are not only factually inaccurate but dangerous to the women of America.

Contrary to popular belief, Planned Parenthood is so much more than abortion services, which make up less than 3% of visits. PP functions as a health center for anyone and everyone, particularly those who have limited access to healthcare. More than half of its clinics are located in poverty-stricken areas and are the only health care providers for low-income women. PP offers everything from basic wellness examinations, STD testing, and cancer screenings, in addition to referrals to other physicians who specialize in different fields.

Wanting a cure for breast cancer by making treatment available for women but also wanting to defund a business that is a massive source for reducing breast cancer's toll is not just hypocritical, it's also deadly. Cutting off many people's only access to health service purely because the clinics offer abortions, which, as mentioned before, are rarely why women use their facilities, is cruel and damaging. Every PP clinic that has to close because of a lack of funding means thousands of women no longer can receive medical care or cancer screenings.

Campaigning for breast cancer awareness but refusing to support one of the nation's main providers of cancer screenings is like believing in education but fighting to get schools closed, or supporting commuting by car but wanted gas stations to disappear. The reasonings behind these claims are invalid and selfish. Imagine if it was your mother or sister and their only access to health services that could detect cancer was threatened because a group didn't approve of one of the center's services. You'd be devastated and rightly furious that a stand against Planned Parenthood was ultimately the reason your loved one's life was cut short.

Opposing Planned Parenthood might seem logical if a person is pro-life, but taking away access to the clinics leads to many more tragedies than it does to prevent abortions, as thousands of people then lose their only source of health services and cancer goes undetected. Wanting to prevent abortions shouldn't come at the cost of many lives already in existence. You can stand against abortion without standing against Planned Parenthood in its entirety. Susan G. Komen, one of the nation's leading breast cancer awareness charities, frequently donates money to Planned Parenthood but only for breast cancer services, and recognizes the importance of the organization without having to agree with every service PP offers.

So this October and every month, when you recognize the severity of cancer and the importance of medical services that combat it, remember that thousands of potential cases are caught early by Planned Parenthood, and many others are provided the medical care that they need from the group. You don't have to support PP's pro-choice stance to recognize the importance of their cancer and health related services, and the dynamic role they play in the lives, especially those living in poverty. Remember that the world isn't black and white, and an organization you may disagree with could very well be doing a lot of good.