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. mrdata

    No breast exams for PP, but they will provide exams to illiegal immigrants........go figure!

    February 2, 2012 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • westward

      So does all of your biggest local medical facilities.

      February 2, 2012 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • westward

      The ones that you get your care from too. Go figure!

      February 2, 2012 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy ©

      Your comment makes no sense, mrdata, but thanks for trying to inject a completely different agenda here…

      February 2, 2012 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Anomic Office Drone

      All hospitals give care to illegal immigrants. Please don't vote in any election until you know what you're talking about.

      February 2, 2012 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Metallica jj

    "I killed my baby today. Doesn't matter much to me as long as it's dead!". Pretty much sums up the pro-abortion angle...

    February 2, 2012 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Onco

      WRONG....it's no Pro-abortion....it's PRO CHOICE....see the difference?

      February 2, 2012 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Not Metallica, Misfits

      Dude, that is a misfits song from 1978, Metallica only covered it. The original is awesome!

      February 2, 2012 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • no

      Metallica is worthless. Misfits are great. Your comparison of Misfits lyrics to the abortion issue is worthless.

      February 2, 2012 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Anomic Office Drone

      The Metallica version of that song is almost as bad as everything they've done after The Black Album.

      February 2, 2012 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
  3. MM

    They invented Plan B for a reason.

    Funding shouldn't stop if it helps to save women's lives.

    February 2, 2012 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • mephismind

      AMEN TO THAT.....

      February 2, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Melissa

      funding should go solely toward research for a cure... and certainly not for abortions.
      PP will need to drop the murders or find different funding...and by the way, they won't be closing their doors – that's just their way of getting attention by threatening to do so. They learned it from Obama!

      February 2, 2012 at 10:32 pm | Report abuse |
  4. tensor

    Komen was on the way down when it became a tool for the Koch Bros., Coke and other large BPA producing/using corporations. For years, Komen has accepted huge "donations" in return for publicly giving cancer-causing BPA a pass as safe – especially for a fetus in utero, when there is enormous evidence to the contrary as well as for young kids and adults. Shame on Komen.

    February 2, 2012 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Recovering Republican

    Not a smart move. Komen is isolating itself, when it did not have to. Both organizations have the best interest of women in mind, but Komen has gone the Conservative route, which will liimit its reach. Fact is, the moral majority is neither, and Komen is going to find this out the hard way. Komen might as well change their slogan to "Everyone 'Conservative' Deserves a Lifetime".

    February 2, 2012 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • JackWalter

      Totally agree!

      February 2, 2012 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • westward

      Well said.

      February 2, 2012 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Melissa

      well this independent will do everything in my power to support them... there are two sides my friend, to all things in life. what if komen had never started to fund PP? They didn't have to – they chose to. Now, they have chosen not to for whatever reasons. Perhaps they got a little more educated about what many women, and men who fund research for breast cancer feel about murder – yes, abortion is murder. The funny thing, Komen was supposed to be about BREAST CANCER and PP doesn't even offer mammograms...so what the hell are all of you bitching about. PP will be funded by those who don't care that their money is going to destroy a life – because they will justify it by saying that they are saving lives. That's fine. But there are millions on the other side of the story who are incredibly happy with this decision and will pray that PP finds a way to continue doing their good work for women needing pap smears and other medical care – not abortions.

      February 2, 2012 at 10:30 pm | Report abuse |
  6. westward

    Bad choice on Susan G. Komen's behalf. I have lost respect for the organization – as have many women. I have donated to the organization and supported it for years, and I will look for other organizations to work with in the future.

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

      Then why don't you give that amount to Planned Parenthood and direct it to baby murdering, I mean abortion?

      February 2, 2012 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Leslie

    Possibly Komen took into consideration that abortion raises the risk of breast cancer and to fund PP in any way (ie fungibility) was counter productive to their goals. Research substantiating the link began compiling in 1986 per the Lancet. This led to the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons issuing a statement in 2003 calling on doctors to inform patients about a "highly plausible" relationship between abortion and breast cancer. General counsel for that medical group wrote an article for its journal warning doctors that three women (two Americans, one Australian) successfully sued their abortion providers for neglecting to disclose the risks of breast cancer and emotional harm, although none of the women had developed the disease. (Google any link between abortion and breast cancer to read more, form your own opinion, etc.).

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

      And possibly the earth is flat. But then, if you look at the facts, it isn't! The fact is, Komen stopped funding PP because they changed their rules to say they wouldn't fund an organization that is "under investigation" and a Republican congressMAN started an investigation last Sept, which has done exactly NOTHING. But Komen didn't define it as a criminal investigation or a civil investigation, just investigation. Which means they should defund every organization they are linked to because someone, usually a reporter, is always investigating.

      February 2, 2012 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe from CT, not Lieberman

      What everyone is forgetting is the failed Republican Candidate for GA Lieutenant Governor was just appointed as an Executive Vice President of Susan G. Komen. That probably has more to do with their decision than anything else.
      I think the Senate should start an investigation into Komen and the criteria they use for awarding grants to others.

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

      Very well said. The artical also stated that PP only does a manual exam, not mammograms.

      February 2, 2012 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Jenna

    Funny how the so called pro lifers ramble on about the handful of cells being a person, but they are happy to munch on hamburgers made from cows. I guess those cells don't matter. Semantics. Enjoy your juicy sandwich made of dead cow.

    February 2, 2012 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Phranque

      Would you eat your dead baby?

      February 2, 2012 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • YO

      I really don't get what your saying. A baby is a baby from conception, and a cow is food. duh

      February 2, 2012 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Dan

    Whether you are prolife or prochoice, you have to know that Komen's donations are going to take a big hit and a lot of women are NOT going to get the screening they need. That is a shame and the prolifers in the above comments don't seem to care. Makes me wonder if they really care about a "life" at all.

    February 2, 2012 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Samantha

      Not true. Low income women can get cervical and breast cancer screenings (as well as all of the other services sans abortion) at their local health department. Many cities do not even have a planned parenthood (like here, in Chattanooga) and somehow low-income women still manage to avail themselves of the proper medical services. PP does not have the monopoly on healthcare, nor has it's congressional investigation been the only thing to hinder SKG's recent decision. In their new policy, SGK can not affiliate with any corp. who is under local or federal investigation, and PP has been under some LOCAL investigation for decades.

      February 2, 2012 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy ©

      PP has been “under investigation” almost from its inception by the opponents of birth control…I remember this from the 70’s.
      This is nothing new.
      Contrary to the very radical right’s belief, PP is NOT an abortion mill, but abortion is the only word you’ll ever hear in relation to the enemies of women’s choices…
      It’s just the SSDD.

      February 2, 2012 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
  10. SMurphy

    Shame on you Susan G. Komen...
    I donated $200 to friends doing your walk in Seattle last year and will never support your organization again.
    Congratulations on taking your "pink" cause that we could all support and turning it into a "red vs. blue" political issue that will divide your supporters.

    February 2, 2012 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Me

    YESSSSSSSSSSSSSS! THANK YOU KOMEN!!!! Now I can donate to you again!!! 🙂

    February 2, 2012 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
  12. KBR

    Most abortions are merely for birth conitrol and are thus preventable. Given the amount of press coverage and the shrillness of the debate, it seems apparent that people think that getting their way on the abortion issue is far more important than good water, roads, electricity and other things needed to maintain civilization. Any town is dead in one week without water. Abortion is not important in the vast scheme of things.

    February 2, 2012 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • frank

      Say that again in 2050 - when the number of young adults in the US are greatly outnumbered by the number of retirees. Because we embraced abortion and planned parenthood we no longer produce enough children to maintain our work force.

      Good thing we outsource so much to countries that still have babies!

      February 2, 2012 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Pro Sense

    I dont think any private organization is bound to any rules as to who they contribute to regardless of their motivation for doing so. It shouldnt matter what the reason is if they are privately held and run they do not have an obligation period. Politics are being used on both sides. I will continue to support Komen Foundation as long as they continue to help the fight against breast cancer. Planned Parenthood isnt the only show in town.

    February 2, 2012 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ann

      Actually, in some areas it IS the only show in town. For both abortion services and affordable medical care.

      February 2, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Samantha

      Right. Low-income women can visit their local health dept. for cervical and breast cancer screenings as well as birth control. That is our tax dollars at work.

      February 2, 2012 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Throw the first stone

    So.... How many of you anti-women's choice have gone and adopted an abandoned child/teenager in the last couple fo months? How many of you have become foster parents for the right reasons (aka no tfor the $$)? Until you can answer that you have adopted or become a foster parent, then you are excused from spewing your thoughts as you are as much of the problem as the people gettting abortions.

    February 2, 2012 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • frank

      I have. And had four kids of my own. None of which are unemployed or on welfare.. How about you?

      February 2, 2012 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Throw the first stone

      Wow, I asked a simple question and touched a nerve.
      BTW: I have 2 kids (middle school) who volunteer with me to help others.
      Next!

      February 2, 2012 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Samantha

      Wow, this argument is so childish (mind the pun!). I have adopted two wonderful children from the foster care system as have many of my friends. My first time I prayed outside an abortion clinic (my 1st amendment right) a woman yells at me why I wasn't feeding hungry children. Really? You try to turn the tables on people who are honestly trying to do good according to their own beliefs and consciences? How about "I disagree with you fundamentally, but I won't be rude to you out of respect"... we need more of that.

      February 2, 2012 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Throw the first stone

      Oh, I whole-heeartedly agree with your point Samantha. However, most people that I have seen that are anti-choice have not taken the step of even working with disadvantaged youth, let alone opening their home & heart to them.

      February 2, 2012 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Samantha

      True that. I was really hoping this administration would push harder for civic involvement in volunteering. They started off touting it, but it just lost steam. People don't help out with charities like they used to, which is sad. I was skeptical of our local 'occupy' movement in thanksgiving, wondering how they could sit there when the soup kitchen was a few blocks away and needing help.. but then that's the same mentality of the above argument. It's easy to throw stones.. all too easy 🙂

      February 2, 2012 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Throw the first stone

      Samantha, could you imgaine how may people would not be psoting here if people knew who they were?
      It is a shame how some poeple act.
      Nice to meet someone who can articulate without $&#*#)% in a sentence.

      Signed,
      Devils advocate

      February 2, 2012 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Throw the first stone

      woops!

      meant many, not may.

      and flip the s and o.

      February 2, 2012 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Ann

    I will be sending a generous contribution to PP and I will NEVER again buy a stupid little pink-label product to support Komen.

    February 2, 2012 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Samantha

      Komen granted $629,159 to Planned Parenthood last year. This equates to 0.0006% of their overall billion-dollar income.

      They are freaking out and asking for "emergency donations" from their supporters, not because they're in a financial crisis, but because they want to throw Komen under the bus and make an example of them to other organizations considering severing ties with Planned Parenthood.

      February 2, 2012 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
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