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."

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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. TomT

    Komen claims that they stood to lose 100s of thousands in breast cancer support if they didn't take this action. That may or may not be true, but I suspect that they stand to lose a lot more by taking this action. I know that is true for me, and a quick poll among people I know. Done with Komen and I was a donor.

    February 2, 2012 at 9:26 am | Report abuse |
    • CBO

      People typically are friends with those they share common views and opinions with. So, polling your friends doesn't say anything about what the wider American public thinks or believes about this or abortion. In fact, independent, non-partisan studies have shown that a MAJORITY of Americans do NOT support abortion or support VERY limited access to abortion (as in the life of the mother is at risk).

      February 2, 2012 at 9:45 am | Report abuse |
    • MikeMazzla

      CBO.. what you just wrote is a 100% falsehood. polls for the most part have shown that it is about 50-50 or slightly in favor of abortion rights.

      February 2, 2012 at 10:01 am | Report abuse |
    • Terri

      CBO – you are wrong. The country is split at about 1/2 for/against a woman's right to choose what happens to their bodies.

      February 2, 2012 at 10:02 am | Report abuse |
    • Danielle

      a lot of people disagree with abortions as a form of birth control. But most women do it because of failed contraceptive, not because of not using any. That being said, even women who disagree with abortion are still pro-choice, because they wouldn't want a legislative hearing to decide if they can terminate the pregnancy to undergo chemo... which that and ectopic pregnancies are the number one reasons for medically necessary abortions. No women wants to wait it out while a government decides if she is to live or die. make birth control free, and abortions would drop off almost completely, women would take better contraceptives and not the cheapest least effective forms, and you have a solution to your problem without legislation

      February 2, 2012 at 10:19 am | Report abuse |
  2. Louis

    I will never give them another dime since they are run or cave into the right wing Republican party...............................

    February 2, 2012 at 9:34 am | Report abuse |
  3. Time To Drop Komen

    As CEO of our small company (435 employees), I am also in charge of its annual fund raising. I am immediately taking the Susan G. Komen Foundation off our company donations list.

    Any organization that would marginalize itself as a result of misleading political pressure from an extreme self-interest group is not worthy of the generosity of our employees. It will be replaced by another, more worthy organization focussed on delivering meaningful women's health services to the poor.

    February 2, 2012 at 9:34 am | Report abuse |
    • francis

      Good Decision!

      Abortion = murder
      Planned Parenthood = Abortion Provider = Murderer of unborn babies.

      Plain & Simple.

      February 2, 2012 at 9:44 am | Report abuse |
    • Danielle

      @ Francis... you have no idea, but there are only a few PP's that even offer abortion services. PP DOES offer affordable mammograms, breast cancer screenings, biopsies, pap-smear, STD testing, and information on services if you decide to keep the baby, also affordable birth control

      February 2, 2012 at 10:22 am | Report abuse |
    • Terri

      So francis, what are your proposals to help all the unwanted children already being born? What changes would you make to the system of adoption, child protection, foster care, etc...to make having a child you do not want to keep a more viable, healthy (for the child) option? Right now programs are being cut left and right, children are suffering, fewer and fewer people are available for foster care. These are the children who are ending up as adults in prison far too often. They are screwed up for life because no one wanted them, even many who do not end up in prison. I want to hear what your solutions to all these problems are, then we can discuss the issue of abortion.

      February 2, 2012 at 10:22 am | Report abuse |
    • FGFY

      It's simple to you francis because you are simple.....as in not smart.

      February 2, 2012 at 10:27 am | Report abuse |
    • tlarose

      Time to Drop Komen – THANK YOU! If I knew what company you were from, or could purchase your services to support you, I would...

      February 2, 2012 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
  4. Dagny

    At the end of the day, the tragedy of this decision is that once again, women don't support women. The dominate cultures from the industrialized world to the third world countries today don't support women and view women and their rights as humans as expendable. Until women stop supporting the cultures that breed and support inequity, until women themselves embrace their importance on the human landscape, grow a backbone, find their voice and say "no more" this type of abusive behavior will continue.

    February 2, 2012 at 9:38 am | Report abuse |
  5. B in Boston

    This is a total political move. The new CEO is anti-abortion, anti Planned Parenthood.

    February 2, 2012 at 9:39 am | Report abuse |
    • Josh

      And we're at the start of a rather big political campaign. No better time to chime in to the hot political news.

      February 2, 2012 at 9:53 am | Report abuse |
  6. francis

    Excellent Decision.

    Only now, will I start to give to the Susan G. Komen foundation.

    February 2, 2012 at 9:46 am | Report abuse |
    • clevercandi

      That's good to know since they won't be getting any more money (or daily clicks) from me :)

      February 2, 2012 at 9:54 am | Report abuse |
    • Josh

      Maybe you could please explain your reasons for being so totally against funding breast exams for cancer?

      February 2, 2012 at 9:55 am | Report abuse |
  7. Support for Komen withdrawn

    I have been a consistent and able supporter until this news.

    February 2, 2012 at 9:46 am | Report abuse |
  8. Reds

    I know of two women who died from cancer (1 breast and 1 cervical) because they had no health care. How dare the Komen foundation take sides in the abortion issue? Never will I contribute or sponsor anyone again.

    February 2, 2012 at 9:48 am | Report abuse |
    • Danielle

      PP saved my sister from an aggressive cervical cancer and i know of 2 other women with aggressive breast cancers diagnosed in their 20s. One had to have an abortion to start chemo because she couldn't have chemo while pregnant. These were all college students that would not have gotten treatment or even testing elsewhere because medical costs in this country are so high... Those three people would be dead if it weren't for PP

      February 2, 2012 at 10:26 am | Report abuse |
  9. Tom

    Killing women, that's all they're supporting, while hiding behind the cloak of 'saving women with breast cancer.' The people involved from the religious crowd don't care if a million women die so long as a few men whom are long dead get their way.

    February 2, 2012 at 9:50 am | Report abuse |
  10. jrm

    I suggest that anyone who formerly contributed to Komen, now make their contributions directly to Planned Parenthood. It's obvious who is concerned about health and who is concerned about politics.

    February 2, 2012 at 9:55 am | Report abuse |
    • Danielle

      i am with you

      February 2, 2012 at 10:26 am | Report abuse |
  11. Bob Schoenberger

    Another glaring example of misguided morality. I am against abortion and think it is deplorable. It is the law though and until the law is changed we must live with it. Having said that it has been and is very evident that Planned Parenthood is a LOT more than just abortions, in fact abortions are very little of what it does on a daily basis. So for the 4% that is deplored the Komen organization wants to sacrifice the other 96% of the good Planned Parenthood provides to communities in need. We all need to get the extremists out of our systems, they are ruining our country!

    February 2, 2012 at 9:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Leah

      I am entirely pro-choice, but I think if more pro-lifers held your opinion we could work together for what I think is our shared goal of decreasing unwanted pregnancies thereby decreasing the abortion rate. I think both sides can agree that decreasing the abortion rate is a good thing.

      February 2, 2012 at 10:03 am | Report abuse |
    • Danielle

      Thank you, Bob, that i a very mature opinion, I agree, if more people thought like you, we could meet in the middle and end the need for abortions. I am pro-choice, and if i were, myself, pro-life, i still would be pro-choice. If all birth control were free to all women, abortions would almost drop off, and welfare would decrease as well. We could greatly reduce the desire for this service if we GAVE women other options instead of revoking their rights. My sister would have died without affordable cancer screening and biopsy from PP. Thank you, Bob.

      February 2, 2012 at 10:30 am | Report abuse |
    • tlarose

      Thanks Bob – too bad others can't see as clearly...

      February 2, 2012 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
  12. glorydays

    It's sad that pandering to a group of extremists has ended this group. Non profits never benefit from political pandering.

    February 2, 2012 at 9:56 am | Report abuse |
  13. Terri

    My donations to Komen are over, more will go to Planned Parenthood going forward. It simplifies my life anyway, easier to write less checks. Thanks Komen.

    February 2, 2012 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
  14. Peter Grenader

    I amumemployed, yet I contributed to the Koman foundation last year. How do I get my money back?

    February 2, 2012 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
  15. Jose

    Meh...they can send funds to whomever they wish.

    February 2, 2012 at 10:01 am | Report abuse |
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