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. Barbara H

    I will never participate in Komen activities due to their politics. This is not new, just blatantly obvious now. This type of organization pretends to be for the good of all, hiding agendas that may not be good for all.

    As to non-profits/churches not paying taxes, that is a question that really deserves a very serious look; real estate taxes as well as income taxes.

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

    Big mistake Komen. No more shopping sprees for you, all you pink scammers.

    February 2, 2012 at 6:36 pm | Report abuse |
  3. gerard

    You people would convict a grilled cheese sandwich for jaywalking

    February 2, 2012 at 6:45 pm | Report abuse |
  4. ArtInChicago

    Pink, you schtink!!!

    February 2, 2012 at 6:50 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Just Saying......

    This such an oxymoron !... If for any reason abortion is found to be linked to breast cancer- funding Planned Parenthood, who is pro-choice and funds abortions- then the Komen Foundation would be contributing to the increase of breast cancer victims. There are other agencies who give breast cancer screening who are not pro-choice, maybe they should consider giving to those who promote abstinence. You people are trying to do just what you accused the Komen foundation of... you are trying to strong arm them to promote your agenda..... Stop killing babies!

    February 2, 2012 at 6:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • bstep

      GET A LIFE, IT WAS PURE POLITICAL CHOICE. I AM PULLING MY DONATIONS TO KOMEN AND GIVING DIRECT TO PLANNED PARENTHOOD, IN HOPES THEY WILL CONTINUE THEIR SUPPORT TO BREAST CNACER SCREENING. I AM NOT PRO-CHOICE BUT TO NOT SUPPORT THIS MOVE, IT HURTS WOMEN.

      February 2, 2012 at 7:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rotciv

      @Bstep – Well said, and I agree, but you didn't have to YELL! 🙂

      February 2, 2012 at 8:08 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Heather

    From a practical standpoint, why is Komen being punished for no longer giving money to a "non-profit" organization that makes/receives MORE money than they do? From a stewardship standpoint, Planned Parenthood does not offer mammogram services, so the grant funding they received from Komen did not achieve its desired purpose. There are hundreds of federally-qualified health centers across our nation that provide the same services as Planned Parenthood (minus abortions and WITH mammograms) for those that cannot afford medical care.

    February 2, 2012 at 7:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • becky, Las Vegas

      Quote: "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." So they DO provide this testing service to people, Heather.

      Quote: "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." So why is this is a discussion about the support/non-support of abortion? It shouldn't be. It's a policy decision that if the organization is being investigated by the government, funding stops. Komen doesn't support abortions, they support cancer screening through Planned Parenthood so testing can reach a larger audience.

      Folks need to get the fact straight for condemning Komen or spouting incorrect motives on their behalf. They are an AMAZING organization in support of breast cancer research and cancer eradication.

      February 2, 2012 at 7:43 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Big donor

    I have a MASSIVE email distribution list and many of the friends on my list also have huge distributions. All of us are done with Komen contributions.

    February 2, 2012 at 7:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • becky, Las Vegas

      I have to question why would you stop supporting Komen? For a policy decision to stop funding to an organization under congressional investigation? Or is it because they were giving money to Planned Parenthood?

      February 2, 2012 at 7:48 pm | Report abuse |
  8. EGB1

    My mother died when she was 30 from breast cancer. Pulling funds for Planned Parenthood so that it can screen for breast cancer will condemn other women to the same fate. Another political ploy whose only real impact is to hurt women.

    February 2, 2012 at 7:22 pm | Report abuse |
  9. casey

    WHY does everyone think that PP ONLY kills babies?

    February 2, 2012 at 7:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • becky, Las Vegas

      Because anti-choice proponents have yelled this so loudly for so long, people believe it. Sad, really.

      February 2, 2012 at 7:49 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Me

    Stupid American's, you guys are about to go into a civil war and you guys are worried about parenthood

    February 2, 2012 at 7:25 pm | Report abuse |
  11. scooter

    Talk about doing something stupid. This organization just shot itself in the head. I have marched many a Koman walk for the cure. Now I see that they only care about "certain" women. Well thats it for me. I can make a difference without associating myself with a group that is clearly not trying to help women.

    February 2, 2012 at 7:31 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Ralph

    time to abort republican fetuses.

    February 2, 2012 at 7:39 pm | Report abuse |
  13. shezip

    I just made a contribution to my local planned parenthood organization. I also just put an X through the pink ribbon on my pink lunchbox. As a kid just getting out of high school in 1971, I was uncomfortable speaking to my very modest mother of issues concerning women's health. I turned to Planned Parenthood for guidance. There I was given literature, sound advice concerning health screenings, and a solid answer for every question I had. I've never had an unwanted pregnancy, an STD, or put off health screenings, and I have always credited Planned Parenthood in providing me with the health information I needed as a young adult starting out. That was 40 years ago, and I find it hard to believe some would like to wrench this organization from young women of today. Shame on Susan G Koman for walking away from some women.

    February 2, 2012 at 7:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Eric

      When the issue is killing babies, no counter argument is reasonable.

      February 2, 2012 at 7:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ralph

      If Eric here thinks abortion is killing. Then according to that insane thought process masterbation would be killing too since men are killing the seed of life. You're a complete moron.

      February 2, 2012 at 7:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      when they are born, they are Babies. At least according to the Bible. One has to stretch pretty wide to find anything different.

      February 2, 2012 at 8:01 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Ralph

    jobs are the most important issue in this country right now. And all republicans can talk about is controlling the female reproductive system. Republicans are insane and out of touch with America. How about focus on the living and not the unborn. People are suffering that are living and here right now. "F" the unborn.

    February 2, 2012 at 7:47 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Chris

    Vote for a Republican president and see what further 'destruction' happens! This is just part of the 'GOP agenda'!!!

    February 2, 2012 at 7:47 pm | Report abuse |
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