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. no more $$$

    I will not donate one penny more to the Susan G. Koman Foundation! People and organizations that suffer from "Little Mind Syndrome" are a plague upon society. Stick to fighting breast cancer and leave the moral and political wars to others. I for one will send my funds directly to Planned Parenthood so poor women have a chance to have breast cancer detected sooner. Shame on you!

    February 2, 2012 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
  2. KCRic

    Just to look at this form a different angle: what does breast cancer have to do with planned parenthood? So you have cancer in your breasts, that prevents you from having a child, how? Plenty of people have kids while or after they have cancer. Let's not forget – Planned Parenthood doesn't offer me as a male any sort of cancer screening. I would think my testicles having cancer might inhibit me becoming a parent a heck of a lot more than breast cancer would.

    February 2, 2012 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy ©

      Then I suggest you go to a men’s free clinic.

      February 2, 2012 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy ©

      Oh, goody, does that mean you’ll let everyone decide what’s best for your testicles and force you to accept their decision?

      February 2, 2012 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
  3. dirtdogs

    from everything i've read it does smell like politicking. PP has been under attack from anti-abortionists for awhile now. thing that i find the most reprehensible in this whole affair is the lack of *honesty*. if komen wants to be allied w. anti-abortionists, they have that right. they will lose a number of donors and supporters, self included. and they will gain a number of them as well. i'm doubting the catholic church gives money to PP, and that's their right.
    i have a number of friends and colleagues who are staunchly anti-abortion, and i respect that, even if i hold a different view.
    a lot of people have commented on the same thing i am observing-in their fight to save unborn babies, some anti-abortionists seem willing to heap a lot of collateral damage on innocent bystanders, including women who depend on the health services of organizations such as PP. now *that* does not seem pro-life.

    February 2, 2012 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • GeneK

      Planned Parenthood has been under siege from someone pretty much from the first day they opened their doors.

      February 2, 2012 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
  4. dudley0415

    Now happier that I donated to SGK. PP is a stained group. If it turns out that they did use federal funds in contrary to the law criminal proceedings should follow.

    February 2, 2012 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Larry

      There is just one GOPer that is investigating. It's not the whole freaking House of Reps. I doubt they have little interest in in. This is just politics at its worst.

      February 2, 2012 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mel

      You are aware that PP prevents more abortions than most organizations. By providing low cost birth contol to poor populations, women who don't have insurance and college students. But I forgot, GOPers aren't for preventing unwanted pregnancies, they jut want to cramm thee religion down everyones' throat. Preventing unwanted pregnancy would take you far if your real cause is to prevent abortions, but that's not the real cause is it?

      February 2, 2012 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
  5. James

    Go to charitynavigator.org & see where most of Susan G. Komen's funds go. It's to the big wigs !

    February 2, 2012 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
  6. mtngal

    This dims Komen in my eyes, and I've donated to them in the past. To pull finding for breast screenings goes against their mission. I realize it comes down to politics, but if their money is not used for the supposed abortions, why would they pull it? The women who need screenings now lack that avenue for early detection – which is so important in breast cancer survival. If you are screening at PP in the first place, you may likely not have the funds or insurance to be screened elsewhere. So if the funding is pulled, they simply won't get screened. I think this is a misstep for Komen, and definitely negative publicity.

    February 2, 2012 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
  7. The_dude

    People tend to get upset when they lose their free stuff

    February 2, 2012 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ezra

      yes, like Komen losing my free donations.

      February 2, 2012 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy ©

      Why are you commenting on something you know nothing about, since you’re the_dude?

      February 2, 2012 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Lauren

    No more money from me to Komen!!! Planned Parenhood helps many women in many ways. I for one will donate my money in support of Planned Parenthood and I will encourage my friends to do the same!

    February 2, 2012 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Whitney

    I am glad they stopped their funding of PP. Maybe they can now start an organization that actually performs mamograms. We can all do self breast exams on ourselves for free so what the heck was PP doing with all that money?

    February 2, 2012 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy ©

      This is a joke, right?
      This is really, really not a serious question, right?

      February 2, 2012 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • oh please

      So once you do a self breast exam and you find a lump, do you shrug your shoulders and move on or do you get a mammogram?

      February 2, 2012 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Unreal

    Women are women, whether they walk into a PP clinic or Cedar Sinai, anyone can get cancer.
    PP provides free to low cost screening procedures to many impoverished or uninsured women. When they get PAP smears they could also get screens.
    Money from SKG was used for cancer prevention and screening at these location.
    Whatever your viewpoints are on abortions, how can you deny that lessening the number of screenings *anywhere* and encouraging prevention is a Bad thing?
    Using cancer to attack abortion politics. It's so disgusting I can only laugh. The only losers are the women.

    February 2, 2012 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Dav

    Planned parenthood is being investigated and supports killing children ,why would anybody support this group?

    February 2, 2012 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy ©

      PP has been investigated for years and has been found to have never misappropriated funds.
      They don’t “support” killing “children”…do you see them taking out classes of pre-schoolers with AK47’s?
      The people who support PP are people who are intelligent enough to know that PP does more for women’s health than any other women’s reproductive health organization in the country…

      February 2, 2012 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mel

      Because they provide low cost birth control to women who otherwise wouldn't be able to afford it. Birth control has a lesser fail rate than condoms. Thus, they actually reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies and abortions....this also leads to less need for WIC, welfare, medicaid and food stamps. Also, teaching women how to do self exams, low cost pap smears enable women to catch cancer earlier which also reduces public costs am increases quality of life. Don't be so narrow minded you lose sight of aspects of PP that help your cause.

      February 2, 2012 at 6:17 pm | Report abuse |
  12. John

    I don't morally agree with abortion, but thinking that the solution is to stop sending money to planned parenthood is moronic.

    February 2, 2012 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
  13. kristin

    Oh, Komen. I'm cutting my pink ties with you forever, since you have chosen to trample on the rights of underprivileged women in America and politicized your cute pink campaign. I have donated $500 to Planned Parenthood in the wake of your error, however, I am grateful that my eyes are wide-eyed open to the political game your foundation plays. I don't care about politics; I care about health care provided for all despite if they're on the right or blue. Cancer doesn't care if you're a god fearin' pro lifer. By the way, all hospitals conduct abortions. Planned Parenthood actually performs 3% of its budget on them. So thanks, again, slimey pink monster...we're done for good.

    February 2, 2012 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Dave C.

    I have been a supporter of Susan G. Komen for many years and this latest decision by this organization confuses me. I believe SGK has the right to make this decision, just like I have decided to not contribute to them as well. There are many other organizations that can use the money that I send to SGK. If the decision to not give a few hundred thousand dollars to Planned Parenthood's breast cancer pre-screening efforts cost SGK millions, I guess it is what they deserve. They built up all this good will, and because of a foolish political decision they could possibly lose millions in donations, and thousands of participants in their events across the nation. There are plenty of organizations that conduct breast cancer research that would be glad to receive the donations directly instead of having to deal with the grant process that SGK has in order to obtain funds.

    February 2, 2012 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Donkey Party

    Can we please stop using the term "pro-life", and call them what they really are, anti-choice? How do the "pro-lifers" reconcile their rabid support of the death penalty? Pro-lifers (anti-choicers) are liars and hypocrites.

    February 2, 2012 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
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