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."

Read more

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."

Read more

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

    I saw an interesting study the other day. More divorces, more teenage pregnancies, more abortions in – guess where – the conservative south than in the liberal north. What does it mean? For one, it means that PP and other organizations like it have a lot more work to do. So I just donated to my local PP chapter. Have no need for it myself – too old. But I'm not so old that I've forgotten the hard won victory of getting birth control pills paid through my medical insurance, and having mammograms covered, etc.

    February 2, 2012 at 1:46 am | Report abuse |
    • jFritz

      Me too, sister. I'm old enough to remember the terror of pregnancy before abortion rights and easy access to birth control pills. I remember when barrier birth control methods were not on display in the local Walgreens because chain drugstores didn't appear on every corner–you had to ask the pharmacist, who probably knew your parents. I remember when doctors said "no" to unmarried women who wanted diaphrams. Girls known to have premarital sex were called "sluts" (and girls had sex just as much as they do now, even though many of my generation deny that). Now girls do it on cable tv and are called "cool." Young women, you have no idea how fast your rights to determine what happens to your own body can be taken away. Guard those rights. The men in the pulpit have no right to them.

      February 2, 2012 at 2:35 am | Report abuse |
  2. Nate

    How come no one on here is asking why Planned Parenthood is the only option for preventative health services for so many low income women? There is something fundamentally wrong when the only available options are to either provide preventative care through an organization that also is the nation's largest abortion provider (and therefore, like it or not, will always be involved in this type of controversy), or not provide these preventative services at all. Those shouldn't be the only options. We need serious health care reform in this country leading to a universal health care system that guarantees access to primary care to everyone.

    February 2, 2012 at 1:48 am | Report abuse |
    • nothing new here

      The problem is this --
      The anti-abortion group is the SAME group that opposes universal healthcare.
      Go figure.
      But of course we know that folks no longer matters once they graduate from "Uterus 101".

      February 2, 2012 at 1:51 am | Report abuse |
  3. Phillco

    George Clooney is way overrated.

    February 2, 2012 at 1:48 am | Report abuse |
    • nothing new here

      Lets hope he never needs a breast exam.

      February 2, 2012 at 1:53 am | Report abuse |
  4. bob doles wife

    I find people who usually talk like you are religious and it usually happens to them.

    February 2, 2012 at 1:49 am | Report abuse |
    • stanchman

      because their thoughts can't extend beyond the small box they live in..

      February 2, 2012 at 6:50 am | Report abuse |
  5. Jen

    Make your donation to Planned Parenthood and do it as an "honorary gift", requesting that a card be sent to: Karen Handel Senior VP of Fail c/o Susan G. Komen Foundation P.O. Box 650309 Dallas, TX 75265- Even if you could only give a dollar or two plus postage, funds would go where they were needed and a much more valuable message would be sent directly to the idiots at Komen.

    February 2, 2012 at 1:50 am | Report abuse |
    • nothing new here

      Excellent!!!!

      February 2, 2012 at 1:52 am | Report abuse |
  6. toadears

    I don'tt see this as a blow to planned parenthood, just more news mongering by the stupid press. What they said was that they had a policy against donating to ANY organization being investigated by the government. Should they change their policy and make an exception for one organization in order to be politically correct? Don't worry, they probably will after all this news mongering by the press.

    February 2, 2012 at 1:59 am | Report abuse |
    • Thalia

      Can't wait to see them drop every hospital that has an investigation on how it spent funds or got Medicare reinbursements, the Catholic Charities who are being investigated. This is not about "being investigated" this is about Komen deciding that its opposition to abortion was more important than the health of women who were previously served by Planned Parenthood. Pro-life, as long as we're not talking about the life of the woman who can no longer get a breast health screen.

      February 2, 2012 at 3:05 am | Report abuse |
  7. Janet

    You can either prevent and treat breast cancer. Or you can perform abortions. It's all in the timing, folks.

    February 2, 2012 at 2:10 am | Report abuse |
  8. jimbo

    I am a small donor to Komen, each year a few hundred to help sponsor walkers. I will no longer donate and tell the walkers why, this is outrageous.

    February 2, 2012 at 2:14 am | Report abuse |
    • toadears

      another illiterate American who didn't read the article. So blackmail a group that helped people like Gilda Radner. You go, girl! Wave that bigotry banner high and proud!

      February 2, 2012 at 2:16 am | Report abuse |
    • banasy ©

      Toadears, Komen isn’t the only breast cancer research foundation.

      February 2, 2012 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
  9. toadears

    Good God in heaven, they have a policy not to give money to organizations under government investigation! They aren't the government and they aren't investigating planned parenthood. It would be the same if some right wing group was under investigation. Can't anybody read???????

    February 2, 2012 at 2:14 am | Report abuse |
    • Thalia

      They created a policy, very shortly after this investigation of Planned Parenthood by one anti-abortion person in Congress was announced. An investigation without a timeline, without a factual basis.

      Let's wait and see how many other groups they drop who are being investigated. I'm betting zero.

      February 2, 2012 at 3:07 am | Report abuse |
  10. descarado

    To date, he Planned Parenthood Holocaust killing machine has exterminated more than three times the number of human beings exterminated in the Nazi gas chambers.

    The for-profit, Planned Parenthood abortion chambers have exterminated 20 million Americans.

    20 million Americans and counting...and counting...and counting...

    February 2, 2012 at 2:16 am | Report abuse |
    • NocPavor

      you're an idiot

      February 2, 2012 at 2:24 am | Report abuse |
  11. jFritz

    I have always been amused to find that the women I know who have had abortions were the most religious pro-lifers UNTIL they got inconveniently pregnant. Those holier than thou politicians with big incomes can brag about their choices to have the babies they know will have genetic defests. They can afford the care those children need. Many others aren't so lucky. So pro-lifers, are you going to cough up the money for these kids' care? How about the children of teens who just can't afford them or care for them. Are you going to step up to the plate? Plan to adopt? How about supporting universal, single-payer health care? Hmmm. Thought not.

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

      Ok that makes everything perfect thx for the personal accountability aspect in your argument. Nothing is our fault anymore woe is me....

      February 2, 2012 at 3:40 am | Report abuse |
  12. descarado

    Even the Obamatron zombies' great atheist, Christopher Hitches, had one lucid moment when he stated that life begins unequivocally at conception.

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

      Oh, geez. Do you not understand Hitchens.

      February 2, 2012 at 2:36 am | Report abuse |
  13. Reagan80

    Why is it so important to some people to have the right to kill babies?

    February 2, 2012 at 3:37 am | Report abuse |
    • JT1962

      Why is it so important to some people that those who for their own personal reasons, don't want to continue a pregnancy? Why should what someone else believes or some religion preaches be the deciding factor for another human being?

      February 2, 2012 at 4:08 am | Report abuse |
    • cecilia

      questions like yours will continue forever because you possess a simplistic, ignorant, emotional and dogmatic ideology and it is really not worth trying to answer your emotionally loaded question

      February 2, 2012 at 4:20 am | Report abuse |
    • jFritz

      Why is it so important for anyone to stick their noses into other people's personal decisions? Why does any man at all think he should tell any woman what to do with her own body? Why do people who care so much about the unborn often not care much about those who have been born?

      February 2, 2012 at 4:21 am | Report abuse |
  14. Susan Pellman

    i worked in an abortion clinic intake for 12 years, out of those 12 years not one abortion was to save a womens life. all the abortions in those 12 years was for birth control.
    many of the married women never even told their husabands or lovers they were pregggy

    February 2, 2012 at 3:51 am | Report abuse |
    • JT1962

      Are you living their lives or walking in their shoes? What gives you the right to tell them they have to have a child they do not want? Will you adopt that child? If not, then stay out of their decisions.

      February 2, 2012 at 4:10 am | Report abuse |
    • Robert

      Susan, JT simply stated. Its non of your business to tell us about why people have this procedure. The story is about cancer and what PP does that very few organizations can do for women. This has nothing to do with Abortions. SGK by means of diverting these funds has endangered many women that do not have the resources you or I have for preventative cancer screening. This is what the topic is...Stick to the topic and stop the hate.

      February 2, 2012 at 4:25 am | Report abuse |
    • jFritz

      Maybe they never told their husbands or boyfriends because they didn't want interference about a decision they made concerning their own bodies. Who knows why? I don't, and I don't judge either.

      February 2, 2012 at 4:28 am | Report abuse |
  15. Boba Phett

    The CEO of Susan G Komen is a hard core conservative – look up her record.

    February 2, 2012 at 3:57 am | Report abuse |
    • jFritz

      Billions of dollars for cancer research an what do they come up with? Cancer "cures" that kill. I'll put my money into cancer prevention–living green, eating organic, fighting estrogen disrupters like lawn chemicals and synthetic hormones any way I can.

      February 2, 2012 at 4:24 am | Report abuse |
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