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. frank

    FREEDOM OF SPEECH! Well, unless I don't like what you are saying!

    February 2, 2012 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
  2. pregnant breast cancer survivor

    Guess what. Pregnant women get breast cancer. I did. If you are diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer in your first trimester, the typical recommendation is that you get an abortion because chemo is not safe for the fetus at that stage. If you wait, you'll probably die.

    If you are in your third trimester, they cut the baby out of you as soon as they can so they can start treatment.

    If you are in the second trimester like I was, you have some difficult choices to make that really boil down to choosing your own life or your child's life (or quality of life).

    Sorry people, but abortion services are sometimes necessary in breast cancer treatment. Komen working against abortion services will hurt the very people they claim to be helping.

    I will never donate to Komen again.

    February 2, 2012 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • westward

      Thank you for confirming my decision to not donate of the Komen foundation any longer. I will find another charity, maybe even Planned Parenthood itself, that will work with ALL women in ridding them of breast cancer.

      February 2, 2012 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Xgirl360

      Westward, try the BCRF (Breast Cancer Research Foundation) or National Breast Cancer Foundation.

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

      That's right! Young women also get cervical cancer, which is detected by the same routine "well woman" exams. And people somehow forget how much Planned Parenthood does to PREVENT unplanned pregnancies. Not to mention STDs. Keeping women healthy and informed is a laudable goal. Shame on Susan G. Komen!

      February 2, 2012 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • k.c.

      That is a very difficult decision, but let me ask a question. If the child had been born, would you give your life to save your son or daughter if it was you or him or her? I would do anything to protect the lives of my sons and that includes while they were in the womb.

      February 2, 2012 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Larry

      I think the first thing SGK needs to do is fire Karen Handel. She was hired as VP of Public Policy. Her job has nothing to do with her own views on "Pro-anything. She hsas failed misrably in her duties and should be released immediatly. The next thing do do is see what the investigation has turned up. In fact I doubt it is being done at all? The will cost SGK dearly in the end!

      February 2, 2012 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Katie

      Thank you for sharing your story! You are a very brave woman. This just shows how not black and white this issue is, and that forcing women to make only one choice isn't choice at all, but controlling women because they don't think we can decide on our own.

      February 2, 2012 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Katie

      k.c. I think the point is that if a woman in that position doesn't do anything, BOTH she and the baby could die. If it's the 3rd trimester, there's a high chance the baby will survive outside the womb. Also, even if a woman chose not to abort in the 1st or 2nd trimester, the cancer that's growing and making her sick could also make the baby sick.

      February 2, 2012 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • pregnant breast cancer survivor

      @k.c. Interesting that you assume I aborted my child. I did not. And yes, I would die for my child if necessary. And in fact, I was potentially faced with this choice (I say potentially since I don't know what would have happened had I delayed treatment). My initial decision was to delay treatment until after I gave birth. 3 different oncologists told me that with my type of cancer, I couldn't afford to wait if I wanted my son to have a mother.

      It was, however, a leap of faith. There is very little research on the outcomes (long or short term) of children exposed to chemo in utero.

      February 2, 2012 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy ©

      What a brave lady you are.
      Faced with the same situation, I would have done exactly the same…
      The choice you made was the right choice for you.
      That’s what we’re talking here…choice.
      No one has the right to legislate that away, either.

      February 2, 2012 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
  3. LINDY

    I encourage all people who care about women's rights and health to stop any more donations to Komen. I have participated in the race for the cure for over 10 years now and have sported the logos on many things. I will never again sport the logo or give another cent to the Komen foundation who apparently put polictics above the health and choices of women.

    February 2, 2012 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
  4. LB Colorado

    There money, they can do with it what they want. If they don't want to fund abortions, they should not be required to do so. I did not know that Komen even contributed to Planned Parenthood, good to know. I am all for Planned Parenthood with contraceptives and female medical problems. But, if it was up to me where I send money, I would want to ensure it is being used for what I thought it was being used for – abortion is not what I would EVER FUND. Outright wrong for anyone to give donations so people can abort their babies. Planned Parenthood offers contraceptives so you don't have to have an abortion, you just need a brain.

    February 2, 2012 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Xgirl360

      The money is specifically earmarked for mammograms and screenings. It wasn't paying for abortions. PP serves millions of women every year and only 3% of their traffic is abortion related. Komen wasn't paying for abortions, they were paying for women in poor and rural areas who don't have any other options to get screened. Being Pro-life is also preserving the lives that are already here and cutting this funding won't save one baby, it will only kill adult women who may have been saved with an early diagnosis.

      February 2, 2012 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • mms55

      well if your agains't abortion you should be supporting groups that fund birth control because thats the only way your going to stop abortions.people who say their agains't abortion puzzle me,they don't seem too realize that abortions will continue if their legal or illegal so take your pick.you want to stop abortion then stop the pregnacies.this is the reallity of the real world.

      February 2, 2012 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • SherwoodOR

      Xgirl360 protests, "The money is specifically earmarked for mammograms and screenings."

      And it still is and will be used that way. Komen will give it to another orgainization, presumably one that is not under federal investigation for corruption, to conduct those screenings.

      And this is good for women because it diversifies the provider base for these screenings.

      February 2, 2012 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy ©

      Sherman, she didn’t “protest”, she stated a fact.

      February 2, 2012 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Xgirl360

    I won't be buying any more pink labeled items. This money was specifically earmarked for low-income women to get screenings. Without PP, I wouldn't have gotten my yearlies when I was young and poor. I am no longer poor, but even with insurance my last mammogram was $500 out of pocket. I would have never have been able to afford that on my old earnings. How many poor women will now go without? Komen can forget any further donations or support from this woman. I'll give my money to the American Cancer Society or the BCRF!

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

      "This money was specifically earmarked for low-income women to get screenings. "

      And it still is and will be used that way. Komen will give it to another orgainization, presumably one that is not under federal investigation for corruption, to conduct those screenings.

      And this is good for women because it diversifies the provider base for these screenings.

      February 2, 2012 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
  6. graciem

    So Komen buckled to the right-wing "pro-life" activists instead of looking out for "the women we serve". How pathetic that Komen would condemn women to breast cancer because these women want to have a choice about what happens to their bodies. Guess I will be rethinking where my hard-earned donation money goes...

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

      "So Komen buckled to the right-wing "pro-life" activists instead of looking out for the women [they] serve".

      Komen "buckled" to the fact that Planned Parenthood is under federal investigation for a form of corruption. There's an old adage about "the company you keep."

      Komen will still look out for those women and provide those screenings. They're just going to do it through a different partner, presumably one that is not under federal investigation for corruption.

      February 2, 2012 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
  7. CathrynB.

    Hooray Komen! Way to get some integrity and take a stance! Finally, an organization that does the right thing! I think I'm going to make a donation... a big one!

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

      Denying cancer screenings to poor women is the right thing to do? You need a morality adjustment. The goal of Planned Parenthood is to keep women healthy and prevent them from getting pregnant before they're ready. The services they provide prevent the need for abortions. Also, Susan G. Komen funds were NOT used for abortions- only health screenings.

      February 2, 2012 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • SherwoodOR

      Mr. helicohunter protests, "Denying cancer screenings to poor women is the right thing to do? "

      Komen will take that same money and give it to another organization, persumably one that is not under federal investigation for corruption, to conduct those same screenings for those same women.

      February 2, 2012 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Pete

    As anti abortion but pro – choive male who works to raise money for the American Cancer Society, I strongly condemn the actions of Komen. They are obviously appear more concerned about polictics than what is best for women. I urge those who agree to give to Planned Parenthood directly or to the American Cancer Society, rather than"Komen".

    February 2, 2012 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Katie

      Kudos to you! We need more men speaking out in a rational way on this topic, and for more people in general to realize that being pro-choice doesn't mean we want everyone to get an abortion. Thanks!

      February 2, 2012 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Duck

    I read an interesting article that pointed out how Komen, while deciding not to benefit organizations under investigation, no matter how politically motivated they may be, doesn't have the same reservations about accepting money from organizations under investigation. Namely Bank of America. BofA is under multiple federal investigations as well as investigations in almost every state. Talk about a double standard. Disgusting!

    February 2, 2012 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Philip

    So Komen finally got inspired, and stopped funding murder. What is the problem?

    February 2, 2012 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • helicohunter

      Read the article, idiot. They were never funding abortions.

      February 2, 2012 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • SherwoodOR

      Regardless of whether you do or don't think that abortion is murder, Komen was not funding abortions and, therefore, not murder either if you think the two are the same.

      Komen was funding breast cancer screenings for "under served" women. Komen will continue to do that working with a new partner, presumably one that is not under federal investigation for corruption.

      February 2, 2012 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
  11. estrogen fed tumors

    I bet its a front company that feeds cancer through estrogen. Some tumors are estrogen fed. And some of these fundraising organizations are just fronts to get more money from people's good nature. Interesting that a cancer organization would support estrogen and some breast tumors are estrogen fed. I bet they are a front.

    February 2, 2012 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • estrogen fed tumors

      we put my tumor right in the machine and it missed it. not operator error and not thick tissue...it just flat missed it. watch out for some of this stuff. how do we know they aren't just trying to sell us something (machines) and they put it in the guidelines/protocols so they can make more money off of us. where's the evidence? (not by the company that makes them, but real evidence)

      February 2, 2012 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
  12. martin danielson

    Talk about getting government out of our lives....how about getting politics out of charity non profits. Like all politics today, the focus should be on solving problems, not creating a divisionary battle that is wrapped up in BS. Women have a right to get help in medical issues from anywhere they can. When you can't afford to put food on the table, ANY access to health care is a blessing. I hope women everywhere shout out enough is enough of the political nonsense that is creating so much negative response. The solution is simple, send money to PP if you suport them, and send money to the American Cancer Society, BCRF (Breast Cancer Research Foundation) or National Breast Cancer Foundationd and let the SGF go join in the Washington joke we call politics.

    February 2, 2012 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Sarah Cullen

    I just want to say to the people who say they will no longer support Susan G. Komen, were you donating to Planned Parenthood or Susan G. Koman? I can guarentee you that the money the Komen gets now will STILL go to helping women. Its not like they will throw it away just because they are giving mamograms somewhere else.

    February 2, 2012 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • SherwoodOR

      Ms. Cullen is exactly correct and thinking clearly.

      February 2, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Sando55113

    Here is the reality. Instead of getting all crazy angry, why dont you take a step back and assess the situation. It is so hard to properly view anything when you become immersed in the situation and immersed in the emotion of it all.

    Do you know how much Planned Parenthood makes? Just from the Federal Government already? Is Komen withholding funds really going to inhibit PP from doing what they do? Will it stop them from providing abortions? Probably not.

    I am Pro-Life. But that does not mean that I am Anti-Women. There is a choice to be made. We all have a choice.

    This decision is monumental however more in the public opinion arena then anything...My prediction...Girl Scouts of America will soon bow and stop giving money to PP...

    February 2, 2012 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Larry

    Someone need to investigate SGK. The are a non-profit infiltrated by the Republican party to crush anyone that gets in the way of their agenda! Karen Handel, the former GA GOPer definately had her hand in this mess.

    February 2, 2012 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • SherwoodOR

      Larry asserts as fact, "Karen Handel, the former GA GOPer definately had her hand in this mess."

      Do you have any evidence to support that allogation?

      February 2, 2012 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
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