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. MikeMazzla

    Susan G Komen will see a marked decrease in fundraising...anyone who supported who donated will just send their money elsewhere.

    February 2, 2012 at 10:02 am | Report abuse |
    • us1776

      Already done.

      Komen used to be such a good organization until it was infiltrated by religious-right wingnuts.

      .

      February 2, 2012 at 10:07 am | Report abuse |
    • JD

      Everyone should just send their donations directly to Planned Parenthood.

      February 2, 2012 at 10:12 am | Report abuse |
    • Jeff from Columbus

      Komen is a right-wing organization? But, its ok if Planned Parenthood is a left-wing organization?

      And, why is this decision simply because of politics? Maybe Komen decided they should only spend money on breast cancer research?

      It seems to me that its liberals who are turning this into a political issue. Komen should only be spending money on breast cancer research. If they donated money in the past to Planned Parenthood, they were wrong to do so.

      February 2, 2012 at 10:27 am | Report abuse |
    • Bill the Cat

      For every dollar Komen donated to Planned Parenthood, another dollar from another source was freed up to promote and perform abortion.

      February 2, 2012 at 10:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Danielle

      PP is not left wing, they offer a choice, they do not FORCE their views on ANY women, how ever you feel they will give you ALL the information, if you are against abortion, they will not give you any pamphlets or information on that. They RESPECT every woman;s decision, pro-life or pro-choice and realize, ultimately, the decision is up to each individual woman. And for that, they will always have my respect

      February 2, 2012 at 10:39 am | Report abuse |
    • us1776

      Well, Komen can then forget about any donations from Progressives.

      We'll be sending our money to other organizations that support breast cancer screenings.

      .

      February 2, 2012 at 10:39 am | Report abuse |
  2. James K.

    Think of all those poor babies who will now be born with breast cancer.

    February 2, 2012 at 10:02 am | Report abuse |
    • More than abortion

      Planned Parenthood handles more than that. They take care of wellness checks that include breast exams.

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

    The past two years I have done volunteer work for Komen.
    No longer sure I'll continue to do so. It's hard to trust and respect an organization that bows to the anit-freedom crowd.

    February 2, 2012 at 10:04 am | Report abuse |
  4. raven

    They say it's not borne of a political agenda. They lie.

    February 2, 2012 at 10:05 am | Report abuse |
  5. HandsOff

    Bad Decision!
    Eggs is not equal to Chickens
    Embryo is not equal to Baby
    Planned Parenthood is not equal to wrongdoing of any kind
    Plain & Simple. Time to Drop Komen. Time for Religious Right to read a science book. Time for freedom and Democracy.

    February 2, 2012 at 10:08 am | Report abuse |
    • MikeMazzla

      Dont expect the religious right to actually read a book bro

      February 2, 2012 at 10:10 am | Report abuse |
    • Bill the Cat

      What a moron. Your post is full of the genetic fallacy. While an embryo is not a baby, neither is a baby a toddler, or a teenager, or an adult. It is your ilk that need to pick up a science book – specifically a book on biology.

      February 2, 2012 at 10:15 am | Report abuse |
    • TDC

      Comparing Human beings to chickens huh...

      February 2, 2012 at 10:42 am | Report abuse |
  6. MikeMazzla

    The falsehoods presented about Planned Parent by the religious nut case right is pretty clear. yes they provide abortion information and conduct them as well they should. But they also present to any pregnant woman who goes there for help access to information about all their options including keeping the baby and what to expect and adoption. They are pretty straightforward about it all and caring. I know this because in college my g/f got pregant and we went there as did a friend of mine with his. Our girlfriends both had abortions which was the right thing for 20 year old college students to do. We are both married to those same girls and have kids now that we wanted ad were ready for. Why anyone would think what we did wasnt the right thing to do is misguided. PP just gave us the options and let us make the choice. Of course we all went knowing we wanted to abort...but they told us the options. Do all you can to keep PP going.

    February 2, 2012 at 10:09 am | Report abuse |
    • Bill the Cat

      If PP wants Komen's money bad enough, they will do what is necessary and stop performing abortions. But, since PP is full of libtards who are genocidal maniacs, their measly 3% of their business of murdering unique human beings in the earliest stages of human development will trump better judgment.

      February 2, 2012 at 10:19 am | Report abuse |
    • FGFY

      You are a sad piece of work Bill.

      February 2, 2012 at 10:36 am | Report abuse |
    • Grr

      Bill, you are a man. You really have no reason to comment here.

      February 2, 2012 at 10:45 am | Report abuse |
    • Subnx

      Women have no more right to kill babies than men do. Science (and General Electric) now show us that there is a baby in there a lot earlier than the baby killers want us to believe. Planned Parenthood does lots of good stuff but it also does one horrible thing. The problem isn't with Komen. It's with PP which needs to stop killing babies. No one has the right to "choose" to kill a baby because it's inconvenient to let it live.

      February 2, 2012 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |
  7. Alicia

    This move has let the genie out of the Pink Ribbon bottle – there are hundreds of articles now appearing that show the true depth of the Komen organization's right-wing agenda. You can't put the cork back in the bottle. We are now learning the Komen has lobbied against cancer treatment programs for poor women who have – through breast cancer screenings – been given a cancer diagnosis. The very fact that they would hire Karen Handle – an avowed anti-choice Republican – to head their group speaks volumes as to what this organization actually stand for. Boycotts. Loss of funds. And finally, the un-branding of this disease will occur – as it should. Shame on Komen for taking cancer and making money off of other's sufferings.

    February 2, 2012 at 10:14 am | Report abuse |
    • Bill the Cat

      Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards has claimed in the past that cutting funds to her organization would cause “millions” of women to go without mammograms. Last year, activist Lila Rose contacted 30 Planned Parenthood facilities in 27 states. Not one performed mammograms.

      February 2, 2012 at 10:23 am | Report abuse |
    • tlarose

      Bill – you're not telling the whole story here...PP doesn't preform mammograms, they never said that was part of their services! Mammograms have to be done in facilities, like hospitals and radiology, clinics that have the very expensive equipment needed to perform the mammogram. Since funding for PP and reproductive health is almost non-existant, there is no way they could afford to purchase that equipment. I'm sure your source (the activist) was asking the wrong questions, knowing the outcome of her 'poll' and knowing she could stir up some ignorance among the pro-life group...looks like it worked!

      February 2, 2012 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
  8. bw

    It seems to me that many people commenting on this have never even been to a Race for the Cure. Yes, they are a fundraising opportunity and people do donate money to participate. But, what you don't see (if you have never attended) is the outpouring of support that comes from an event like this. This type of gatehring fosters a relationship between the women and men who suffer from this terrible, life threatning disease.

    People should start looking at that factor instead of being sensitive to the fact that a BREAST CANCER foundation was supplying funds to a WOMEN'S CENTER (aka a place for women of low income to go) to get breast exams. It is very likely that most women who utilized that service would not have gotten a breast exam if it would not have been available. Planned Parenthood is not only a family planning center. There are many other services offered at their facilities, and frankly, most low income areas need a Planned Parenthood.

    Stop making this about religion and government, that is not what Susan G. Komen is all about. Think before you speak. I have not met a perfect person yet, but I have met a few that are close.

    February 2, 2012 at 10:15 am | Report abuse |
  9. Pastor Mike Palevo

    Any body that supports the Baby Killing Planned Parenthood, need to check their ethics of life. Planned Parenthood has been a genocidal program to purge out the inferior genetic races. Read Margaret Sanger's book 'The Pivot of Civilizaton', and you'll understand Planned Parenthood a little better.

    February 2, 2012 at 10:16 am | Report abuse |
    • FGFY

      And anyone who supports your church is following a lie........and you know it.

      February 2, 2012 at 10:37 am | Report abuse |
    • tlarose

      And in her book "Family Limitation", Sanger wrote that "no one can doubt that there are times when an abortion is justifiable but they will become unnecessary when care is taken to prevent conception. This is the only cure for abortions." So, by limiting the services of PP, you're taking away the only 'cure' for abortions.

      February 2, 2012 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |
  10. Dan

    Liberals are so smart............. and so mature...........

    February 2, 2012 at 10:17 am | Report abuse |
  11. Pastor Mike Palevo

    Any body that supports the Baby Killing Planned Parenthood, need to check their ethics of life. Planned Parenthood has been a genocidal program to purge out the inferior genetic races. Read Margaret Sanger's book 'The Pivot of Civilizaton', and you'll understand Planned Parenthood a little better. The Komen foundation saves lives, Planned Parenthood Kills lives! And that's a fact!

    February 2, 2012 at 10:18 am | Report abuse |
    • Terri

      Ignoring all the work PP does to save lives doesn't make it not true.

      February 2, 2012 at 11:00 am | Report abuse |
  12. DIANA

    Big mistake in part Komen Foundation. This is definately potically motivated and I really hope they feel the reprocussions of what they did. I did and will continue to contribute to Planned Parenthood and I gave to the Komen foundation. Because of this decision, the money that I gave to the Koman foundation will go to Planned Parenthood.

    I went when I was young and too scared to tell my parents I was active and they helped me through the process. I also agree with the other comments – most religious groups don't know how to read a book.

    February 2, 2012 at 10:19 am | Report abuse |
    • Bill the Cat

      Komen is abandoning pass-through grants, which simply awarded money to certain Planned Parenthood affiliates. They will now offer outcome-based grants in order to get money to the places providing the services. Planned Parenthood facilities are not equipped with mammography systems. They performed a breast exam, and then referred the patient to another facility.

      February 2, 2012 at 10:31 am | Report abuse |
  13. NKBL

    No more donations from me to Komen. I am so sick of men deciding women's health issues.

    February 2, 2012 at 10:24 am | Report abuse |
    • Terri

      And women who do not respect an individuals rights, by law.

      February 2, 2012 at 11:01 am | Report abuse |
    • tlarose

      The Komen Foundation is run by a woman...

      February 2, 2012 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
  14. Observer974

    We ought to legalize post-natal abortion for Planned Parenthood nitwits. None of these drones contribute to society and you can be certain that not one of them donated so much as one dime to Komen in the past. Planned Parenthood is a taxpayer funded refuge for poisonous feminists and assorted male hating wing nuts of the Democrat Party. It is, essentially, a taxpayer funded set of votes for that bloated and corrupt bunch of Wall Street hacks. Defund Planned Parenthood. I object to the government coercing money from me to give to an organization I regard as terrorists.

    February 2, 2012 at 10:24 am | Report abuse |
    • Bill the Cat

      And they have well over 1000 people in the organization making over 6 figures a year.

      February 2, 2012 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Danielle

      I din't agree with war, but i have been having to pay for that for the past 8 years, i don't agree with paying for health insurance for congress, while i have none, but i have no choice, you cannot cherry-pick what you pay for in taxes

      February 2, 2012 at 10:43 am | Report abuse |
    • banasy ©

      Your taxes do not go for funding abortions at PP.
      I wish people would remember this!

      February 2, 2012 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Jeff from Columbus

    Komen is supposed to be raising funds for Breast Cancer research. Planned Parenthood obviously does not a lot more than simply assisting women with breast cancer.

    So, its entirely appropriate for Komen to stop giving money to Planned Parenthood. This isn't rocket science.

    If I want to donate money for breast cancer research, I give to Komen
    If I want to donate money for reproductive health care, I give to Planned Parenthood.

    Why should one charity be donating to another charity in the first place?

    February 2, 2012 at 10:25 am | Report abuse |
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