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."

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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."

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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. hmc719

    What I think a lot of people are missing is that planned parenthood is really not a great organization. They are notorious for not completely informing women about their options as well as encouraging abortions. Sure there are people who want to take away funding from them because they perform abortions. I am pro-choice and naturally I disagree with that. However, planned parenthood is not a great organization. If they actually did what they claimed to do that would be great, but they don't. Stop funneling money at something that obviously isn't working.

    February 2, 2012 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Matthew Haines

    With all the millions going into research on treatment, little is devoted to prevention. Preventing BC should be the goal. New, FDA cleared "Pap smear" for breast cancer could be the answer: http://www.atossagenetics.com and http://www.NRLBH.com. Get tested, especially if you're under the age of 50 and don't yet get mammograms (20% 0f women diagnosed with BC this year will be under the age of 50!.

    February 2, 2012 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
  3. LESLIE

    Shame on the women running Komen now, she herself would roll in her grave. No one I know will continue to support this bigoted group who choose to politicize womens' health, sorry I walked in the recent 5K here in W Palm Beach.

    February 2, 2012 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pk

      I ran in the West Palm 5k too. It was my 10th Race for the Cure. It will be my last. Just made a nice donation to PP. Will never do anything to support Komen again.

      February 2, 2012 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • So done

      I ran in the West Palm 5k too. It was my 10th Race for the Cure. It will be my last. Just made a nice donation to PP. Will never do anything to support Komen again.

      February 2, 2012 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • ajbuffl

      I will be giving directly to Planned Parenthood from now on. Throwing out any Komen related stuff in the house.

      February 2, 2012 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jim

      My wife and I, plus all of our friends, will make sure that not a dime of our money goes to Komen. And we'll do our best to influence anyone else we know to do likewise.

      February 2, 2012 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • g.stiver

      The woman who made this decision for Komen is a Republican who ran for Ga. governor on a ticket to destroy PP and make abortion of any kind illegal.

      February 2, 2012 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Josephine

      Thats OK, I will quadrauple my donation to $800 per year.

      February 2, 2012 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jen

      Really People????
      Susan G Komen has the full right if they want to to withdraw their funds from places like planned parenthood. Many of you people say that you are going to withdraw support, but come on this organization is still going to function. They have the full right if they want to withdraw money that is most likely going to a place, that could aid in the abortion of children. Yes planned parenthood has probably been a blessing when it comes to pelvic exams, but stop getting pissed because they are doing what they feel is best. I bet a good portion of you who speak so highly about pulling money have barely donated 5 bucks to them. For those of you who have donated money, time, and effort go right ahead and complain. IF you hate them so much why don't you do something about besides just winning about it online.

      February 2, 2012 at 5:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe R.

      Aren't you politicizing it by accusing the organization of being political?

      February 2, 2012 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • T.R.

      Some where out there is a woman who sought out an abortion and received a breast exam that saved her life due to Komen's; so, to completely trash Komens is ridiculous especially when there are probably numerous woman affiliated with Komen that disagree with the Top Tier decision. On the other hand, if this wasn't political, Komens could have established or negotiated or at least offered some referral opportunity, which could have kept a tie with Planned Parenthood rather than completely severing them.

      February 2, 2012 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Animenut

    I wonder if the increased donations to Komen by the far right will be enough to offset the donation cutoff by everyone else. Me included. No donation to walks and no buying pink stuff.

    February 2, 2012 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • JustMe

      So, support for an organization that funds abortion (which is highly controversial, to say the least) is more important that support for an organization that funds breast cancer research? I thought it was all about saving women's lives. Who's politicizing now?

      February 2, 2012 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Larry

    What the hell were they thinking. I thought it was innocent until proven guilty. Not the other way around??

    February 2, 2012 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
  6. heavyhorse

    not another dime to Komen from myself or anyone in my family. let the crazies make up the diferance but we all know they won't. they got what they wanted now Komen will be hung out to dry. you fold to bullies you live under thier heels every day after

    February 2, 2012 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
  7. WC

    Pray tell where are the women supposed to go for their breast exams, some right-wing pregnancy crisis center? I can already hear the GOP crowd cheering at the death of the uninsured.

    February 2, 2012 at 4:44 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Taioseach7

    All these right wingers running around screaming "Less government." Apparently it conditional. Women's rights isn't a political issue but it has been made into one by a bunch of people meddling in affairs of people they don't even know.

    Hypocrites.

    February 2, 2012 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
  9. OvernOut

    Never supported either org, we have limited funds and chose to put everything towards the charity that helps our own kid with her own disability. We always thought SGK was taking $$$ from other worthy charities, perfectly ok with them taken down a peg.

    February 2, 2012 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • mike

      SGK pimped themselves out to the likes of KFC (fried chicken chain). they don't care about health. They just want money and lawyers.

      February 2, 2012 at 5:33 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Lise

    These attacks on Komen are ridiculous. They have every right to decide not to give grants to groups under investigation. What PP does is not a secret, if Komen had a problem with abortions before why even give the grants in the first place? And what if they would give a pass to PP and not another group, what message does that send? I used to support PP, then, from first hand experience, I found out they do the things that they were caught on video doing. They do push abortions in most and break the rules to make them happen. If the government does really investigation they will discover the same thing. I would love to see them go away to make way for organizations and groups that really support choice and women's health. PP is not what they used to be.

    February 2, 2012 at 5:16 pm | Report abuse |
  11. kodiakkiska

    Well, what can you expect from an organization that has as a spokeswoman that sleazy hypocrite Hadassah Lieberman? She's totally in bed with Big Pharma and doesn't care about anyone but herself.
    She makes me ashamed to be a Jew.

    February 2, 2012 at 5:23 pm | Report abuse |
  12. mike

    Komen is in it for the money, They're a business posing as a charity. Look at how they pimp out their endorsement to junk food companies that are harmful to our health. Look at how they unleash their lawyers on ANYONE who dares use the pink ribbon for "for the Cure" or even "for a Cure" in their name.

    They are exploiting a horrible disease to line their personal pockets and exert their will.

    Boycott Komen and start giving to legitimate cancer charities.

    February 2, 2012 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • mike

      Meant to say "pink Ribbon OR for the Cure". Point being, they defend their weak IP as viciously as any major corporation.

      "Not for profit" is a lie.

      February 2, 2012 at 5:27 pm | Report abuse |
  13. James Dowaliby

    Traditionally, foundations try to give a program 3-5 years or more to transition to other funding sources. From the outside, this appears to be an attempt by a newly installed president of Susan G. Comer to put her stamp on the organization, to curry favor with Senate Republicans, and plunge Planned Parenthood into crippling financial crisis. The move was artless, heartless and graceless.

    February 2, 2012 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
  14. kodiakkiska

    Well, what can you expect from an organization that has that sleazy hypocrite Hadassah Lieberman as a spokeswoman?

    February 2, 2012 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
  15. mike

    Abortion services make up less than 5% of what Planned Parenthood does. LESS THAN 5%. People that think it's their primary specialization are ignorant and need to get their facts straight.

    February 2, 2012 at 5:31 pm | Report abuse |
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