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. Eric

    This article shows media bias in action. People for abortion are "pro-choice" and people against abortion are not "pro-life" but "anti-abortion" (sometime even called anti-choice).

    February 2, 2012 at 7:50 pm | Report abuse |
  2. BEN DOVER

    I will never again donate to the Susan G. Komen foundation and that money will be sent to planned parenthood

    February 2, 2012 at 7:51 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Dave

    Well my former donations to the Susan Komen foundation will now go directly to Planned Parenthood and Cancer Foundations who support women.

    February 2, 2012 at 7:58 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Ralph

    Eric should move to the middle east where they love to control the female reproductive system. You would fit in great over there.

    February 2, 2012 at 8:00 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Joyce N

    I am cutting all ties from the Komen Foundation. I have supported many "Race for the Cure" events, but with the recent break from Planned Parenthood, my money will no longer be given to SGK. How can SGK turn its back on Planned Parenthood?

    February 2, 2012 at 8:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Michael Golden

      Always been a supporter of the Komen Foundation.
      But, this stinks of politics.

      February 2, 2012 at 8:50 pm | Report abuse |
  6. garc

    Komen's dropped Planned Parenthood? I've dropped Komen. No more $ and no more walks for you!

    February 2, 2012 at 8:12 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Shelly

    So does this mean they're going to put this money towards funding exams somewhere else? The real question that needs to be asked is whether this is some kind of statement or just a change of venue.

    February 2, 2012 at 8:16 pm | Report abuse |
  8. rick h

    I was really getting tired of see ball player in pink....no more fund/walks for SGK...

    February 2, 2012 at 8:22 pm | Report abuse |
  9. San

    Planned Parent Hood provided over 11 million services to women last year and only a fraction of that amount was for abortions. SGK just gave Penn State 7 million $'s, they are under investigation...this is purely political. Give all your future donations directly to PP, they will know how to use it. Do you know the head of SGK makes over $465,000 a year..some charity..

    February 2, 2012 at 8:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • gman

      They gave a 5 year grant in 2008. Check your facts.

      February 2, 2012 at 9:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • FF wife

      Do you know that PP makes over $ 165,000,000 a year on abortions alone and that is only 15% of its total revenue. SGK only grants about $ 700,000 to PP. I don't think PP will miss the money. I wonder what will happen to the millions SGK donate to other organizations after they have been crucified by those who are guilty of what they accuse SGK of doing, politicizing womens health. It is a perfect storm and womens health on both sides will suffer.

      February 2, 2012 at 9:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Melissa

      My entire family Aunts, grandmothers, and now my first cousins are being wiped out by breast cancer. I will continue to walk with and stand beside the thousands who will share in the funding for breast cancer through SBK. I am proud of their decision, for whatever reason, as my money and that of millions of other women who do not support abortions should go strictly toward finding a cure for this disease. If PP really wants to help women – stop killing their children. It's pretty simple. And, all of you need to check your numbers because PP has performed hundreds of thousands of killings of innocent children...and while they are helping women who cannot afford preventative care – they have obviously decided that abortions are more important. Can't have it all! On the subject of preventative care – there are other options for women who cannot afford traditional services. Most major cities across America have traveling mammogram vehicles, there are also other options through local hospitals, just do the research.

      February 2, 2012 at 10:01 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Name*chris

    I will be sending a nice donation to koman tomorrow. If you want an abortion pay for it yourself.

    February 2, 2012 at 8:30 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Jeneen

    Komen and Planned Parenthood were a great collaboration. It's unfortunate that negativity clouds the mind. Planned Parenthood is my safety net because I don't have medical insurance. I wish people could see all sides of the spectrum.

    February 2, 2012 at 8:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Melissa

      Jeneen,
      There are other options than PP. Check with your local/county health clinics and they can tell you about other medical opportunities for people without insurance. People don't like to see their money going toward programs that are against their religious beliefs.... I'm one of those. Komen's money should go toward research for a cure for breast cancer...

      February 2, 2012 at 10:07 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Citizen 12

    As a self employed home owner who can no longer afford health insurance, for the first time ever, due to layoffs, decrease in income etc and have to pay a mortgage on a house 100k underwater, I used Planned Parenthood for the first time for my exams, I am not a stereotype, close to 50 years myself, I imagine they are a resource for women of all ages and all needs. Komen's self-aggrandizing stance is appalling and they have lost sight of where they started to begin with. Exploiting their family tragedy and our fear of a disease is a terrible way to make money. In their next life I hope they come back as an underprivileged, undereducated girl...that is what they would deserve.

    On the real issue at hand that I haven't seen anyone mention yet, the health insurance crisis in our country. This wouldn't mean anything if we had good health care.

    February 2, 2012 at 8:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • gman

      There is excellent healthcare in this country, one just has to pay for it. Hardly a crisis.

      February 2, 2012 at 9:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Melissa

      Actually they started by funding research for breast cancer and their drive has always been for a cure. Whatever their reason for pulling out – they have millions of supporters who believe they have done the right thing as there are millions of us out here who will not stand by and watch our money go toward any organization that will destroy life. PP is not going away – other groups will support them. But, also there are several options in most major cities for women to get medical care, preventative and otherwise. And, you're right – we need a healthcare system that is affordable for everyone – the Obama care is far from that....

      February 2, 2012 at 10:10 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Siara Delyn

    My mom is a breast cancer survivor and we have participated in Komen events together. We never would have participated if we realized that Komen supported women's breasts but not their brains. This absolutely disgusts me and I will never give them another penny of my money.

    February 2, 2012 at 8:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • KQ

      Well-said.

      February 2, 2012 at 9:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Melissa

      so you support saving women's lives who have cancer but killing before they are born....how does that work?
      Sorry – but I have a family who has watched 11 of the women in it die from breast cancer – but we are all pro-life...and believe that PP needs to drop the abortion function and they will probably get millions more flowing in their doors. Can't have it both ways as bad as that sounds. BTW, there are other options for mammograms and women's healthcare in most major cities.

      February 2, 2012 at 10:13 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Susan NoKomen

    I support Planned Parenthood. And I will no longer support Susan G Komen for the Cure Foundation. Enough said.

    February 2, 2012 at 8:40 pm | Report abuse |
  15. aurelius

    Bigotry in America won the day . . . again.

    February 2, 2012 at 8:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • andres

      Bigotry? How so?

      February 2, 2012 at 10:12 pm | Report abuse |
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