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. woodrow

    This news just in: apparently Komen doesn't really give a rats behind about women after all. They are more worried about what the fascists think.

    February 2, 2012 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
  2. Ryan

    @Ji, so you are saying Deer=Human....do-kay, that is hilarious!

    February 2, 2012 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
  3. musings

    If you look her up on Wikipedia, you will see that the sister of Susan G. Komen, Mrs. Brinker (who started the foundation after the death of this sister) is a major player in the Republican Party. The current initiative is for the Republicans to go after Democrats on the issue of funding for all healthcare in which abortion might be part of the package.

    Susan G. Komen a PAC? Who knew? Pink is just a lighter shade of Red State red.

    February 2, 2012 at 11:40 am | Report abuse |
    • Melissa

      SO.... turn the page, and you can talk about Dems and murdering children. But, at the end of the day – there are millions of women who will continue to support the research toward a cure for breast cancer – and they will do so through Komen. PP should say thank you for all the years of support and go out and find a replacement... and those who want to throw their money to PP instead of research for breast cancer....it's still a free country...

      February 2, 2012 at 10:35 pm | Report abuse |
  4. NorCalMojo

    I don't understand the controversy. If people want to support Planned Parenthood, why can't they just donate to them directly?

    Insisting that every charitable organization be a backdoor for abortion funding (or any pet cause) seems infantile.

    February 2, 2012 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
    • edood

      because when you bring abortion into the issue people stop thinking logically

      February 2, 2012 at 12:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • tlarose

      I agree! And these infantile pro-life groups that assume that all money sent to reproductive clincs will be used for abortion services is distructive to women't health.

      Since a women doesn't have just the one function of reproduction, maybe the whole health of a women should be looked after...just a thought!

      February 2, 2012 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Paul

      how bout the thought that if one part of the orginization is mishandling funds maybe the're mishandling others??

      February 2, 2012 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
  5. tstorm

    The woman now in charge of the Komen Foundation is a T Bagger. Why on earth would this huge fund raising organization put such an inappropriate person in charge? Their reputation is shot now!

    February 2, 2012 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
    • Mark

      @tstorm...the Komen reputation is shot? It was shot the second they partnered with Planned Parenthood. I have a classmate, sister, and mother that have battled breast cancer and a wife fighting oral cancer (my father died of cancer two years ago as well). I ran their races when they finally opened it to men up until 2007. I found out the money I was raising for them was being sent to this organization and thus killing instead of saving lives and immediately found other cancer research organizations to donate to and support. Their reputation has been 'shot' for years.

      February 2, 2012 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Mike

    I find it kind of amazing that the focus is on the Komen foundation and not planned parenthood. Planned Parenthood is the one under investigation for misuing the Federal Funds it was given to help with women's health. Whether you support abortion or not, being investigated for misusing Federal Funds is not a little thing. The Komen Foundation has come right out and said that their removal of funding is a result of the investigation and not a political statement, so why are so many people here up in arms? If Planned Parenthood isn't being honest about their Federal Funding, what makes you believe they are being honest about the funding they receive from the Komen Foundation?

    I encourage people to keep an eye on their funding and if after the investigation ends, the Foundation still doesn't renew the Planned parenthood funding, then you actually have a valid complaint.

    Right now though your anger is misplaced.

    February 2, 2012 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
    • Danny

      @ Mike, they are under a congressional investigation, from ONE republican senator, who is up for reelection and is considered a moderate, and needs to reach out to the conservative votes, he has not found ANYTHING on that company, he is only making accusations. If this were an investigation by local authorities or the FBI, i would think the allegations have some merit. Read between the lines.

      February 2, 2012 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pat

      It is because the "investigation" is itself a politically motivated fishing expedition prompted by one guy, rather than something prompted by any actual concerns of abuse. Calling it a federal investigation lends more credibility to the accusation than is warranted. It's one guy, not a federal agency. Additionally, this is a new policy by Komen, and so it seems more than a little convenient, in light of the political pressure that they've apparently been under. In short, it's a lame excuse all round.

      February 2, 2012 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • tlarose

      I agree with some of what you said, people should know where their donated money is going. Maybe SBK should be investigated, too...

      The investigation was called for by Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL). 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.

      Anti-abortion group Life Decisions International includes Komen on its "boycott list" of companies and organizations that support or collaborate with Planned Parenthood.

      In December, Lifeway Christian Resources, the publishing division of the Southern Baptist Convention, announced a recall of pink Bibles it had sold because some of the money generated for Komen was being routed to Planned Parenthood.

      It seems pretty politically motivated to me...

      February 2, 2012 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • tlarose

      Also – SGK (sorry for the earlier typo) only donated $680,000 to PP last year, and less than that the year before. It's not like they are giving millions to anyone, other than their own staff...

      February 2, 2012 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • MarkinFL

      That Komen is participating in this one man congressional witch hunt is enough for me to switch my donations from Komens to directly to PP, to whom I've never before directly donated. I will now have to choose a new cancer fight org. to donate to.

      February 2, 2012 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • eplisonic

      And the other half dozen entities that recieve Komen money that are also under investigation? Why does a 'blanket policy' only apply to a singular entitiy?

      February 5, 2012 at 6:33 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Danny

    If republicans really wanted to get rid of abortions, they should make birth control free to ALL women. I am pro-choice, but wish we could reduce the abortions and focus more on prevention. We do not need to make legislation to make abortion illegal, if we give women free birth control, abortions would only mainly be used in instances of "ince st, *rap e or medical necessity. look for a solution to the problem, not revoking women's rights

    February 2, 2012 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
  8. NorCalMojo

    Women are obsessed with their own bodies.

    February 2, 2012 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Danny

      we wouldn't seem to be obsessed with our bodies if people weren't trying to constantly enforce regulation upon them

      February 2, 2012 at 12:15 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Danny

    Is it coincidence that after a year of Komen electing a woman who ran for Governor of Georgia and vowed to defeat Plan Parenthood and get rid of it in Georgia that the Komen foundation no longer funds Planned Parenthood? this is not a political move? Please.

    February 2, 2012 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
  10. kdf

    The orginization offers free mammograms at other locations other than Planned Parenthood.

    February 2, 2012 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Getting tired

    I'm getting tired of all the pro-lifers as being "fatih-based"

    It doesn't take any kind of faith to understand and be against what goes on in an abortion.

    February 2, 2012 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy ©

      Being against abortion is a choice.
      Getting one is a choice.
      See?
      It’s about CHOICE!

      February 2, 2012 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
  12. coloradom

    So for all of you that are getting upset about their decision, how about this: Komen gives the money to another organization that can provide the exams to women. Planned Parenthood isn't the only organization out there that provides these services. In fact, how about donating to local clinics instead. It doesn't matter which organization they choose to give to as long as women are provided the services.

    February 2, 2012 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • MarkinFL

      There is the additional point of it being a political move. It taints their org in the eyes of many people. Its a blatant anti-choice move which means they are taking a specific stance on the topic.

      February 2, 2012 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
  13. some dude

    I will now be sure to not support any product with a pink ribbon on it.

    February 2, 2012 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Carol

    Susan Koman's Pink ribbon just turned Red. Karen Handel who manages the groups public policy arm, ran as a Republican for governor of Georgia in 2010, and she pledged to end planned Parenthood's state funding. Looks like her influence, and Republican Cliff Stearns from Florida who is investigating Planned Parenthood just happened to get together.

    February 2, 2012 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Force-fed beliefs

    Anyone else wish pro-lifers would stop trying to force their beliefs on everyone else? Abortion *RIGHTS* give women a choice, and if that choice doesn't involve you, mind your business. I've never heard of a pro-choice person standing outside of a church harassing a pregnant pro-lifer telling her that she has a choice and that she doesn't have to keep the child. The pregnant pro-lifer made her choice and is living with it. Why can't the same respect be given to every other woman?

    February 2, 2012 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pro-lifer

      Because it's an unborn child. A person.

      February 2, 2012 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Katie

      You realize that you're asking "pro-lifers" to act like civil human beings and give women autonomy and respect? That's a high order for such a low class of human being. The same human beings who say they support life yet don't support universal health care for children, don't support programs to help single moms feed and clothe their children, and DO support the death penalty.

      February 2, 2012 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      Hear hear!!!!!

      ENOUGH with this crap. DEFEAT THE RIGHT WING IN THIS COUNTRY BEFORE THEY DESTROY IT!!!!!!!

      February 2, 2012 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy ©

      Pro-lifer:

      Being against abortion is a choice.
      Getting one is a choice.
      See?
      It’s about CHOICE!

      February 2, 2012 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Melissa

      IT BECOMES OUR BUSINESS WHEN OUR MONEY IS USED TO FUND MURDER. SO, THOSE WANTING ABORTIONS NEED TO FIND PEOPLE WHO WANT THE SAME THING.... MILLIONS OF DOLLARS HAVE GONE INTO KOMEN FOR RESEARCH FOR SOLE PURPOSE TO FIND CURE FOR BREAST CANCER – NOT TO MURDER. SO THOSE OF US, AND THERE ARE MILLIONS, WHO HAVE DONATED TO KOMEN ARE PROUD OF THIS DECISION. IT IS OUR BUSINESS IF YOU OR ANYONE ELSE TAKES OUR MONEY TO DO SOMETHING WE ARE AGAINST. GET IT....IF NOT, YOU NEVER WILL.

      February 2, 2012 at 10:40 pm | Report abuse |
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