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."

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

    The point about money being fungible is completely true, anyone who's married or been in a relationship should know that. Once your two incomes get pooled it gets hard to say who is paying for what. Sure, I bought that computer with "my" money but would I have been able to buy it if my wife was not helping pay the bills or buy groceries? Even if you keep all your income in two separate accounts, the line gets blurred very quickly. Every dollar that went to PP helped them perform abortions one way or another, either directly or indirectly.

    Plus, they are under investigation because of a long and detailed report making some serious allegations. This isn't just something that came out of nowhere but rather a case has been built against them.

    February 2, 2012 at 8:55 am | Report abuse |
    • tlarose

      Many of the allegations were outlined in a report presented to Stearns last year by Americans United for Life, a national anti-abortion group, which urged him to investigate. I'm sure there was no underlying reason for the request for the investigation...

      February 2, 2012 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Michael

    No wonder our country is in the shape it is in. Morons elect morons. Listen, whether you are pro-life or pro-choice/pro-abortion, should really not make a difference in Komen's decision. Put yourself in Komen's shoes, if you are investing money to somebody and you find out that person is being investigated for possibly taking money from the government and misusing it, wouldn't you be concerned that they are misusing your funds as well? Therefore, you would probably stop sending money to them out of fear they were misusing the money you are giving. Logic people, complete logic!

    This shows you that most people that say they are pro-choice are really pro-abortion, because they will argue against complete logic, just to keep the largest abortion provider in America going, even if that company has possibly broken the law and lied to the people giving to them and their patients.

    Before it is brought up, yes I understand the issue is at hand is not about abortion, it is about money going to women for breast cancer screenings. However, if Planned Parenthood is under investigation for taking money from the government for misusing funds given to them, then who is to say they aren't doing the same thing with Komen's money. Again, simple logic!

    February 2, 2012 at 8:55 am | Report abuse |
    • Duh logic, logic, repeating it seven times makes it logical

      You don't have a logical argument, you have an argument based in opinion. Misuse? Huh? How about tax protection for churches? Mega Churches that need tax protection, are you kidding me? The only morons are those who think that imposing their worldview on others is correct. To each their own – stay out of peoples lives and their decisions.

      February 2, 2012 at 9:02 am | Report abuse |
    • Michael

      P.S. Planned Parenthood is not the only place to get a mammogram. Most hospitals and OB/GYN's offer it. Most insurance companies are required to pay it 100%, due to health care law as well. If you don't have insurance, then there is also the health department. So, to act like because one company loses funding, is a crisis for women is also illogical.

      February 2, 2012 at 9:02 am | Report abuse |
    • chefdugan

      You're dead wrong – it is all about abortion. And the pink ribbons have lost my support and the support of my company. They are nothing but cowards giving in to the rabid pro-lifers.

      February 2, 2012 at 9:04 am | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      Duh Logic,

      What does this have to do about churches?
      Keep your atheistic views to yourself and go spout them off at some anti America rally somewhere with the rest of your people.

      February 2, 2012 at 9:05 am | Report abuse |
    • banasy ©

      If one has insurance, Michael, which many of the poor do not…..seriously, now! C’mon!

      February 2, 2012 at 9:05 am | Report abuse |
    • Doris

      They just created this new rule, just so they can stop funding Planned Parenthood. Did you not read about the new person in charge of G Komen foundation (that was her goal even before she got the job.

      February 2, 2012 at 9:19 am | Report abuse |
    • gobnait

      Chefdugan: Your money is yours to do with as you wish. Komen has a responsibility to its patrons to see to it that any grants it's awards to organizations like Planned Parenthood are properly handled. By the way, let's not forget that many of the people who donate to breast cancer research are pro-life-as if that's a bad thing in your mind.

      February 2, 2012 at 9:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Alice

      And.. the article said PP doesn't provide mammograms, only "manual screenings". Does that mean as part of a physical? It's very unclear just how Komen's money contributed to breast cancer screening.

      February 2, 2012 at 9:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Michael

      @ chefdugan:

      Even if Komen's decision was soley based on the fact that Planned Parenthood provides abortions, which I don't see being the case, considering when Komen first decided to invest in Planned Parenthood, they were providing abortions too, but for the sake of the argument. Are you not just as guilty as they? If they decide not to support Planned Parenthood because of abortion, is not your decision to not support Komen, because they don't support abortion in essence the same thing? Komen has the right to choose who they will or will not support as much as you have the right to decide who you will or will not support. Especially when it comes down to money that you are investing. Again, use logic.

      February 2, 2012 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
    • Danielle

      They are not being investigated by local authorities, or by the FBI, they are being investigated by ONE republican senator who is up for reelection, has not found any dirt on them, but wants to maintain the investigation to get the conservative votes because he is considered a moderate republican. If it were from law enforcement, it would make me question their practices.... but seriously... consider the source

      February 2, 2012 at 10:47 am | Report abuse |
  3. Michaelk

    We shouldn't blame Komen for this. This is the fault of grandstanding liars in Congress who distort the facts and insist on waging jihad against the rights of citizens.

    Abortions make up 3% of Planned Parenthood's 'business'. That 3% represents a perfectly legal activity and there iare no grounds for this investigation except for the fact that the seats of extremist Congressmen are at risk in the upcoming election.

    These scoundrels are cowardly liars seeking to deny citizens their rights and impose their faith on those of us who believe differently.

    We expelled the Taliban from Afghanistan only to have them reappear here.

    February 2, 2012 at 8:55 am | Report abuse |
    • DBSaint

      Nice way to avoid the situation. This is a calculated move by Karne Handel (a Kome director) to get her political ideas pushed forward. Bottom line this was their decision based on their rules. For me, I'm done with them. My wife and won't do the 3 day walk and we won't support anyone who is. Our money will go elsewhere.

      February 2, 2012 at 9:06 am | Report abuse |
  4. Mike

    "Komen funding is used exclusively to provide breast cancer programs."

    Yeah, and all votes for Democrats are legitimate too.
    Nice try.

    February 2, 2012 at 9:02 am | Report abuse |
    • banasy ©

      Dumbest comment yet. You win!

      February 2, 2012 at 9:17 am | Report abuse |
  5. Michele

    I have already notified Komen that they will not ever get another cent from me. This is part of a well-organized assault on women and their bodies.

    February 2, 2012 at 9:06 am | Report abuse |
    • gobnait

      You don't speak for this woman. I'm GLAD Komen has made this decision.

      February 2, 2012 at 9:30 am | Report abuse |
  6. Mary Buchanan

    I have seen many women with positive outcomes from services at Planned Parenthood and none have involved an abortion. On the other hand, I have not seen any women with positive outcomes from SBK fundraising. Research of breast cancer has not yielded any new results. Screenings haven't changed and news from researchers is more confusing than ever. It doesn't cost much to advocate for and raise awareness. If SBK money doesn't go to help women in need get breast cancer screenings then where does it go?

    February 2, 2012 at 9:11 am | Report abuse |
    • gobnait

      My God, what the hell are you talking about? Komen has enabled some of the greatest strides in breast cancer treatments in the world. They fund RESEARCH that has discovered drugs and improved treatments and survival rates.

      February 2, 2012 at 9:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Danielle

      Yeah, it has to be hard to make any real progress with only 10¢ of ever dollar in donations going to research, i can understand why this mutli-million dollar non profit group has not found a cure yet

      February 2, 2012 at 10:50 am | Report abuse |
    • tlarose

      Maybe SBK should be investigated, as well...

      February 2, 2012 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Mack

    Low I.Q. fail. Move along, mouth breather.

    February 2, 2012 at 9:13 am | Report abuse |
  8. David M

    ..."Planned Parenthood, a prominent family planning organization,..."

    Planned Parenthood is nothing of the sort. They are an abortion provider, plain and simple. Last year they received over $500M in federal funding. Why should you receive a dime of federal money? And now it comes to light that you have engaged in some shady financial practices and did not use the money from Komen for it's intended purpose. PP is a sham.

    February 2, 2012 at 9:13 am | Report abuse |
    • banasy ©

      And not one dime of that went towards abortion funding.
      It bears repeating:

      February 2, 2012 at 9:19 am | Report abuse |
    • Eric

      You can just hear the Fox News in specimens like this can't you? PP's books are well combed, abortion related expense is not significant in as related to their overall budget and expenditure. Do your homework before you post please.

      Though I know you THINK listening to right-wing nut jobs is research, the reality is facts never enter into their equations. It's all spin, engineered to make people believe foolish things to advocate against their own personal interests to further the social and economic goals of the few.

      Why do you think abortion was never banned under the prior republican administrations? Simple, because doing that would strip them of one of their chief campaign platforms. If they did that they would have no wedge to make the disadvantaged vote for the interests of the privileged and those who really care vote for the interests of those who just want to pillage society.

      February 2, 2012 at 9:32 am | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      I suggest you do some actual research into Planned Parenthood before you make such a ridiculous accusation, David. I don't expect you'll actually do it, though, because I suspect things like actual "facts" would interfere with your preconceived notions of how everyone should believe.

      February 2, 2012 at 9:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Anafiel

      ...and you are a male that had no horse in this race. This is a WOMAN'S issue, so go shoot a deer, have a beer, and stay out of this.


      February 2, 2012 at 9:45 am | Report abuse |
  9. Phil in KC

    Komen has a policy of not funding any org under congressional investigation. I'm betting they're not the only ones. Don't you think the congressman who called for that investigation aren't aware of that? They're out to cut funding however they can. Never mind that Planned Parenthood does so many other things besides abortions. In fact, they promote birth control so girls won't have to get abortions. All the right sees is abortions so, instead of working within the law to get that piece of Planned Parenthood removed, they just attack the entire organization. Of course, they know they're in the minority, which is why they have to resort to under-handed tactics. They can't stand that whole majority rule thing.

    February 2, 2012 at 9:15 am | Report abuse |
    • tlarose

      From the Seattle News – "Komen spokeswoman Leslie Aun said the cutoff results from the charity's newly adopted criteria barring grants to organizations under investigation by local, state or federal authorities. According to Komen, this applies to Planned Parenthood because it's the focus of an inquiry launched by Rep. Cliff Stearns, R-Fla., seeking to determine whether public money was improperly spent on abortions."

      Rep. Stearns launched his investigation in September 2011, it would be interesting to see when this 'new policy' of SBK was adopted.

      February 2, 2012 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Doris

    very sad G. Komen should be a shame!!!!! I will never give to this organization and I will let everyone I know how Komen doesn't put women first, before politics!!!!!

    February 2, 2012 at 9:16 am | Report abuse |
  11. Allison

    I actually heard about this issue from my step-mother first and am doing some research about it now, but frankly, I feel like my first impression holds true. My mom died from Breast Cancer at 41 and had to fight her doctor to get a mamogram at 39. There is so much more that Susan G. Komen supports that just Planned Parenthood, such as ground breaking Breast Cancer Research! I am of the opinion that most individuals who are now complaining about this issue and the missuse of their donation dollars, probably had no idea until it showed up on the news that any of S.G.K. funds were being allocated to Planned Parenthood at all. Most people donated because they had friends or family with Breast Cancer, so they wanted to help fund prevention and a cure.

    When you give a gift with no strings attached, then it's unfair to complain if the person you give that gift uses it for something you don't like.

    February 2, 2012 at 9:17 am | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      Very well put Allison. I have been a 3-Day walker since 2005 and I do not do it for me. I can’t say it any better than you just did. Thanks!

      February 2, 2012 at 9:30 am | Report abuse |
    • Eric

      I don't think anyone here is complaining about donating to breast cancer research, people are just angry that Komen is using this as an excuse to withdraw their support of PP (who provides mammography service to countless disadvantaged women each year.)

      It's not as if Komen is the only place to donate to advocate for this cause, I think people here just want their money going to an organization that takes the mentality you do- that the cause is greater than the politics or morality of a completely separate issue. If Komen had your mentality they would still happily partner with Planned Parenthood to advocate early and regular mammograms for women and we wouldn't be discussing this.

      February 2, 2012 at 9:37 am | Report abuse |
  12. Josie

    And how many unwanted babies have you adopted or supported for life?

    February 2, 2012 at 9:18 am | Report abuse |
  13. S-Hug

    Overpopulation is the biggest crisis facing the human species. A biological event that happens half a million times a day is not a "miracle," but rather a doomsday clock ticking.

    February 2, 2012 at 9:18 am | Report abuse |
    • LogicMinded

      Wow, that is quite the solution to the world's problems. I dont suppose you are willing to apply your proposed solution to yourself, or do you just prefer playing god for everyone else? Your lofty philosophical views are quite admimrable – they were quite welcome in the Third Reich.

      February 2, 2012 at 9:36 am | Report abuse |
    • tlarose

      The Nazi's were also really good at persecuting people who had opinions that differed from the 'party'...way to go Nazi!

      February 2, 2012 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • mystars

      overpopulation isn't a crisis; somebody's got to be replacing for all those Europeans that won't have kids!

      February 2, 2012 at 5:39 pm | Report abuse |
  14. stealing hope

    Cancer Research and Cancer Treatment are not immune from the veritable forces of commerce:

    “Sloan is pursuing a systemic approach to reducing expenses and increasing revenues […] One example of this is discouraging terminally ill patients from seeking initial treatment or second opinions from the cancer center […] the admission of such patients is counterproductive […] to Sloan Kettering.” [paraphrasing salient features, MSKCC, CFO/Chief Financial Officer]

    Similar to that of Komen, the mission of Sloan Kettering / MSKCC is nonpareil. At MSKCC there are instances of brilliance, selflessness, as well as egregiously unnecessary and inappropriate craven self servitude, shameless self promotion, a completely unnecessary and inappropriate intermittently palpable disingenuousness (whose transgressors ought to be ashamed of themselves considering that they clearly know better), conflicted interests, invocation of the follow the money syndrome, a bizarre confluence of facilities management shortcomings (vide OSHA) that could impeach the credibility of reaction conditions and thus scientific results, curious navigation of the who works for whom (Public Affairs or Facilities for SKI/MSKCC, or its converse) conundrum), a ruse invoked to promote a much needed and ballyhooed replacement research building, thinly veiled attempts to sweep the above (and other curious anomalies) under the rug (by puppets from the Research Resources Management and/or MSK Facilities Management divisions) as well as people who (though they know better) by their actions would steal hope in variance with MSKCC’s mission of steeling hope.

    February 2, 2012 at 9:22 am | Report abuse |
  15. GwatS

    Abortion us a very personal matter, and no one who isn't asked for their opinion she chime in, period!

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