February 1st, 2012
07:34 PM ET

Opinions fly after Komen drops Planned Parenthood

Editor's note: This is part of an occasional "Reads You Need" series featuring some of the diverse voices from our site and across the Web on the stories causing ripples throughout the news sphere.

Over the last two days, columnists, advocacy groups and editorial boards have had plenty to say about Tuesday's announcement that the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation would stop sending funds to Planned Parenthood for breast exams.

The move by the breast cancer research group came after Congress in September began investigating whether Planned Parenthood, a prominent family planning organization, illegally used federal funds to provide abortions. The Komen foundation has indicated that because it adopted a new policy preventing it from giving money to groups that the government is investigating, it can't continue funding breast cancer screenings at Planned Parenthood.

"Grant making decisions are not about politics our priority is and always will be the women we serve. Making this issue political or leveraging it for fundraising purposes would be a disservice to women," the foundation said on its Facebook page.

Some Planned Parenthood supporters have alleged the move is less about investigation and more about abortion. Anti-abortion advocates around the country had questioned the Komen foundation about its grants for months, prompting the foundation to release a statement last year saying that "Komen funding is used exclusively to provide breast cancer programs."

iReport: 'Women should be in an uproar right now'

Planned Parenthood said funding from the Komen Foundation has largely paid for breast exams at local centers. In the last five years, grants from the group have directly supported 170,000 screenings, comprising about 4% of the total exams performed at Planned Parenthood health centers nationwide, according to the group.

At least one Komen affiliate might keep sending money, and Planned Parenthood says its fundraising has spiked since the national Komen foundation made its announcement.

Here are a few takes from around the country:

Komen attacks abortion rights

The Baltimore Sun's editorial board says Komen's decision puts "women's health at risk by denying breast cancer screening funds to Planned Parenthood on questionable grounds."

"Has Komen adopted an anti-abortion stance, too? Given the obvious political motivations behind the (congressional) investigation, it's hard not to see the decision as announcing that. According to Planned Parenthood, Komen is the first private organization to withdraw funding on the grounds of the congressional investigation. One can only assume that this outcome, if it stands, will motivate Congress to pursue all sorts of investigations against all sorts of controversial organizations.

That has to be greatly upsetting to many people who have participated in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure ... . Quite a few have probably written their share of checks to Planned Parenthood to not only support women's right to choose but basic family planning and cancer-screening services.

...

Breast cancer can strike anyone, including those who avail themselves of contraception. Shame on Komen for succumbing to pressure from anti-abortion groups and risking the health of the very women for whom they claim to advocate."

Read more

Thank Komen for decision

On the blog of anti-abortion group Bound4Life.com, which was among the groups pressuring Komen last year, the group's Susan Michelle says those who opposed Komen's funding of Planned Parenthood should now thank it for its decision.

"Though Komen says these public criticisms are not a factor in their choice to stop funding Planned Parenthood, it’s hard to believe that the pressure didn’t impact the decision. ... We should be vocal in thanking Komen for this decision."

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Anti-abortion groups cheer Komen's move

USA Today's Cathy Lynn Grossman reports that other faith-based and anti-abortion groups are cheering Komen's decision.

"Planned Parenthood is a 'tarnished brand,' said Melinda Delahoyde, president of Care Net, a pregnancy support agency, who formerly headed educational outreach for Americans United for Life.

...

She cheered Komen's move to separate the relationship because, "Komen's mission is one that affects every woman... We fully endorse and applaud that mission." Delahoyde says the monies that once went to Planned Parenthood will move now to other groups and "women will continue to be helped."

At the core of religious groups' contention is that money is fungible.

Even if every cent donated by a church-sponsored walk or a Bible sale went to breast cancer screening, the argument went, that donation freed Planned Parenthood to spend more of the funds it raised privately or from taxpayers on abortion."

Read more

How will split affect women's health?

Time's Alice Park explores some of the possible women's-health consequences that could follow. She writes that although Planned Parenthood does not provide mammograms, it does provide manual exams that are "an inexpensive way to screen for cancer and to educate and introduce women to the importance of screening." Additionally, she writes, Planned Parenthood refers "women to screening centers, pays for screening for women who cannot afford them, and then follows up with continued care in helping women interpret the tests and take appropriate actions based on their results."

"The loss of funding from Komen may disproportionately hurt those who need cancer screening the most. Some Planned Parenthood affiliates use the money to fund outreach programs to minority groups or to those who normally don’t have access to health care. Those programs now risk being terminated, if Planned Parenthood is not able to find additional funding to continue them.

The split may trigger other moves to withdraw funding — from both groups. Many critics of Komen’s decision are long-time supporters of the group, who gave in small but important ways, by fundraising in the group’s annual race for breast cancer research, for example. “My first 5K ever was for Susan G. Komen. Never will I raise money for this org again,” said one commenter, Jenna Marino, on Twitter. Many others expressed their displeasure on the Komen website; others advised people to donate directly to Planned Parenthood instead."

Read more

Decision politicizes breast cancer prevention

The Star-Ledger editorial board in New Jersey is no fan of Komen's decision.

"The Komen foundation put its stamp on breast cancer research with its pink ribbon campaign and other events, raising funds and consciousness about the disease. It created a community of women and men with a single goal: to find a cure. Breast cancer strikes everyone, no matter your race, ethnicity or political affiliation.

Now that sense of unity has evaporated. People are taking sides. Many who once supported Komen say they’ll take their donations elsewhere and plan to drop out of other Komen activities."

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Filed under: Abortion • Health • Health Care • Politics • The Reads You Need
soundoff (1,014 Responses)
  1. Timothy

    The decision had nothing do with abortion – just because the funding was going to Planned Parenthood. The article is clear, they made a decision earlier that they couldn't risk giving money to any group under federal investigation. After the ACORN fiasco, you can't blame someone for being more careful.

    Komen can lose all, or part of it's funding, if it didn't take due diligence (is your lawyer's terms?) and taking measure to protect it's own interest's first – which is keeping it's federal funding. It does have a responsibility in dispensing funds not to give it to any fraEdulent agency/project – let the investigation take it's course.

    I for one, will continue my annual support for the Susan Komen walk for the cure.

    EVERYTHING is not always about ABORTION people.

    February 2, 2012 at 12:39 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Robin

      You're correct, not everything is about abortion. The Komen Foundation's dropping of Planned Parenthood, however, IS about abortion. If you read the entire article, you would see that SGK changed their rules SPECIFICALLY to do this. And since the money Komen gave to PP was used ONLY for cancer screenings, this action undermines poor and disadvantaged women's heath care. SGK will NEVER get another penny from me, or anyone I know.

      February 2, 2012 at 1:00 am | Report abuse |
    • Gayle

      Regardless of the relationship with PP know that when you give $ to Komen only 20% goes to research "for the cure". They also employ lots of nice big lawyers to sue any small town charity that uses "for the cure" as the slogan. sounds like a real nice generous organization

      February 2, 2012 at 1:15 am | Report abuse |
    • PatSJ

      Timothy, have you really been supporting SGK all this time? Well, good for you. But you are wrong that this isn't about abortion. The investigation is about abortion, so the withdrawal of support because there is an investigation is about abortion.

      February 2, 2012 at 1:32 am | Report abuse |
    • Boytjie

      @Timothy "After the ACORN fiasco, you can't blame someone for being more careful."

      The fiasco is that all the investigations showed NO wrongdoing by ACORN but the investigations and fake "exposes" killed off their funding and the were forced to shut down.Ssounds a lot like what is happening to PP,

      February 2, 2012 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Jules

    If life doesn't start until a fetus can live by itself, does that make someone on life support not human? What about comas? What about old people who can't survive by themselves? Can I stop talking care of my parents when they become a burden to me someday? My life would be a lot easier if I didn't have to deal with that...

    February 2, 2012 at 12:40 am | Report abuse | Reply
  3. James Mathew

    Just donated to SKG! So, you may cut-off your support and I'll help make-up the loss any way I can.

    February 2, 2012 at 12:41 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Alison

      Donate to SKG, but you should donate to PP too. They do great work.

      February 2, 2012 at 12:52 am | Report abuse |
    • Robin

      Since you're a male, your opinion in this issue DOES NOT MATTER. We know you are lying when you say you donate to SGK, anyway.

      February 2, 2012 at 1:02 am | Report abuse |
    • Gayle

      good for you, and they will now pocket your $ and give a very small amount to research. That is a very educated choice driven by emotion

      February 2, 2012 at 1:17 am | Report abuse |
    • nothing new here

      If you were going to gamble your $$$$ away, you should have gone to a casino.

      February 2, 2012 at 1:22 am | Report abuse |
    • akua

      you need to INCREASE your donation NOW to cover my withdrawl of komen support too. and i know you will keep your word because you said so. anyone else want to commit james' charitable contributions to komen?

      February 2, 2012 at 1:27 am | Report abuse |
    • PatSJ

      Right, mister. You didn't even abbreviate the name correctly – its SGK you tool.

      February 2, 2012 at 1:29 am | Report abuse |
    • philfugate

      I am a man and last fall I donated to SGK for the first time and wore my little pink ribbon despite what the other guys said. I removed that ribbon when I read this story.

      February 2, 2012 at 6:28 am | Report abuse |
  4. Mhc

    Shame on Komen for putting politics and religion before women's health. I will never give money to them.

    February 2, 2012 at 12:42 am | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Hope

    I totally disagree with SGK decision to discontinue its support for PPH. As a college student, I relied on their services for my personal medical needs. Without them, I would not have been able to obtain healthcare services. My funds during that particular stage in my life were extremely limited. They taught me the correct way to perform self-breast exams. There are so many other young ladies who require the same level of support and services.
    This is a very sad decision for me, my sister is a BC survivor and I've always financially supported SGK. Today, I made the decision to no longer raise money or personally donate to this organization. I will instead begin to provide financial support to PPH knowing there are other young ladies standing in shoes I once stood in looking for quality inexpensive healthcare services.
    I implore all women and men to consider providing support to this organization. Remember every little bit helps. It may be your daughter or mother needing assistance.

    February 2, 2012 at 12:47 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Alison

      Good for you! I had a similar experience with after-college expenses. PP has been wonderful to me.

      February 2, 2012 at 12:53 am | Report abuse |
  6. Alan Bobb

    Forget you, Komen. You should be ashamed of yourselves putting religious blather ahead of medicinal needs.

    February 2, 2012 at 12:57 am | Report abuse | Reply
  7. nothing new here

    SGK no longer serves the purpose that it was originally founded on. This organization is more focused on selling pink junk to the public – how much pink merchandise does the average person really need?
    It is all about the $$$$ – and less about meeting the needs of the poor women in this country.
    Komen will no longer be getting my money. Forget it.

    February 2, 2012 at 1:08 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mickey

      I refuse to buy any of the pink junk. Good lord, pink can-openers? Donate directly to the American Cancer Society – it will do more good and more of your dollar will be spent on actual research. Donate directly to PP. Blaming this decision on policy is ridiculous. Change your policy to a reasonable one of won't donate to an organization convicted of some crime, not some witchhunt sponsored by a vote seeking Congressman.

      February 2, 2012 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
  8. death

    obviously, this country is going the way of Rome when garbage like this is happening due to political pressure while there's no emphasis on moving our energy economy into the 21st and 22nd centuries.

    February 2, 2012 at 1:10 am | Report abuse | Reply
  9. nothing new here

    Forget the pink....
    Just send your green (as in $$$$) directly to PP. WE the people can support this organization on our own. It is time that we stand up together. WE need to defend our rights to our freedoms and liberties in this country. I fully support the right of all women to have access to affordable healthcare and birth control.
    If you do not believe in abortion, then don't get one!!!! But do not interfere with the rights of others to be able to take care of their bodies, and have legal access to birth control.

    February 2, 2012 at 1:15 am | Report abuse | Reply
  10. bob dole

    Funny how all the rabid left wingers say forget the cure for cancer, dont donate anymore, all donations to abortions.

    February 2, 2012 at 1:30 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • jFritz

      You betcha, Bob. Not another dollar of mine goes to this group.

      February 2, 2012 at 2:15 am | Report abuse |
  11. bob dole

    oh and the lady who founded PP? Her entire purpose was to exterminate black people. Good job useful idiots.

    February 2, 2012 at 1:30 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • nothing new here

      Playing the race card, huh?

      February 2, 2012 at 1:44 am | Report abuse |
    • R. Williams

      Do a little research, find out the truth, not the lies spread by Fox and talk radio.

      February 2, 2012 at 2:07 am | Report abuse |
    • jFritz

      This old chestnut is a lie. See feministsforchoice.com for the truth. Good heavens, please try to dig deeper than the Fix news blather.

      February 2, 2012 at 2:22 am | Report abuse |
    • Julie

      Faux news

      February 2, 2012 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
  12. bob doles wife

    But since most abortions are the right winged religious and the left use birth control. So what is your point bob dear?
    The left are saying give directly to the PP, they give the screening or have the screening done. SGK just takes money in and distributes the money. Get rid of the middle money maker.

    February 2, 2012 at 1:40 am | Report abuse | Reply
  13. nothing new here

    With each passing day, I see more people getting turned off on the Religious Right.
    I think people in this country are finally waking up, and seeing that a radical religious theocracy is NOT a good thing after all.

    February 2, 2012 at 1:41 am | Report abuse | Reply
  14. no more pink

    Komen has shown their true colors, their top priority was not breast cancer awareness, not women's health or anything so lofty. This decision showed the top priority that trumped everything else they do was nothing more than to keep the cash flowing into the organization. They were so cowered by the thought of losing cash flow from the militant anti-abortions they made this despicable decision.

    February 2, 2012 at 1:41 am | Report abuse | Reply
  15. bob doles wife

    Bob dear you can tell planned parenthood where you want your money to go to. Unlike the Red cross who has an overhead also.

    February 2, 2012 at 1:43 am | Report abuse | Reply
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