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."

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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. Judge

    I say that life begins when a baby takes its first breath. I also say that I may be wrong. But since im a man, I cant tell a woman what to do with her body. Leave the abortion arguments to people that give birth.

    February 2, 2012 at 8:50 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Louise Dotter

    There is a new movie out Pink Ribbon,Inc. you all might want to google it.

    February 2, 2012 at 8:54 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Wayne

    350000 babies aborted every year. This is really sad. Thank God my wife and I decided to have our beautiful baby Girl after I tried to convince her to have an abortion. You do not realize how precious life is until you have kids of your own. I understand there are circumstances that one has to consider, but many use this as birth control and that is wrong.

    February 2, 2012 at 9:08 pm | Report abuse |
  4. This is crazy

    If you don't want babies or have more than one abortion you should get your tubes tied.

    February 2, 2012 at 9:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • This is crazy

      ..and the father should get his nuts cut off for not supporting the mother and child.

      February 2, 2012 at 9:19 pm | Report abuse |
  5. iminim

    SGK either should have investigated PP further before giving them money or SGK knew all about PP and this is a political ploy. Will SGK now quit funding breast cancer research at major research hospitals that also perform abortions? No matter what the rationale, I have a hard time understanding how those who support denying PP these funds in the name of stopping abortion can justify depriving underpriviledged women of potentially lifesaving medical exams while calling themselves "pro-life."

    February 2, 2012 at 9:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Melissa

      I'll try to help you with that...SGK's primary and sole focus is research for curing breast cancer. Technically, PP is not doing anything toward that cause. They are certainly helping to provide care and finding cancer early, but they don't do anything in the way of curing or finding a cure. While I think it's sad that it's come to this – I think the writing has been on the wall for a long time. So, why don't you petition PP to stop performing abortions so they can continue to care for the women who come to them for more important things...

      February 2, 2012 at 10:17 pm | Report abuse |
  6. valwayne

    The Komen group has made the right decision. They can redirect their donations to other medical groups that will continue to help women get breast exams. Planned Parenthood has ceased to be about birth control and family planning, and almost totally focused on pushing abortion as part of some kind of radical left wing abortion crusade. Its a shame!

    February 2, 2012 at 9:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • JD Ryan

      "Planned Parenthood has ceased to be about birth control and family planning, and almost totally focused on pushing abortion as part of some kind of radical left wing abortion crusade. Its a shame!"

      Really? 3% of what they do is related to abortion. What crusade? Are they knocking on doors trying to get women to have abortions? This statement is so ridiculous it sounds like something Sarah Palin would have said.

      February 2, 2012 at 10:12 pm | Report abuse |
  7. truth seeker

    PP helps women. Komen made a bad costly decision.....heres my question, do prolifers think its ok to kill embryos from ivf treatments? not if they only want one baby....smh. so many hypocrites.

    February 2, 2012 at 10:02 pm | Report abuse |
  8. David Trembley

    No more walks for the Cure, No more pink stuff!

    February 2, 2012 at 10:04 pm | Report abuse |
  9. andy

    Typical overreaction by pro-abortionists. Extreme hypotheticals is the best you have. Bottom line, screenings will be available, just not through PP. PP will now have to choose their objective to kill or save lives. No one has said they are not allowed to screen. In fact, the living are more important than the unborn, right? So maybe PP will do something other than hand out condoms, pills, and kill babies.

    February 2, 2012 at 10:09 pm | Report abuse |
  10. andres

    So you all think that Komen MUST give its money to PP? Komen raises the money and then determines where it will go. So what if they decided to cut off PP? It is their money to give.

    The amount of money that Komen provides to PP is less than $1million per year. Any idea that all access to screenings for breast cancer will be cut is just hype by PP. PP gets the vast majority of its funding from other sources. This is pretty much a tempest in a teapot.

    February 2, 2012 at 10:11 pm | Report abuse |
  11. David Trembley

    Gone, Gone, Gone.... No more Walks for the Cure, no more pink stuff.

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

    SGK gets a new board member – one of right-wing/ultra conservative persuasion – and pulls the plug on PP. And they say it's not a political decision? Really? They've lost my donations.

    February 2, 2012 at 10:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Guest

      Well said

      February 3, 2012 at 12:35 am | Report abuse |
  13. David deNomme

    Apparently they are only concerned about womens health issues when the women agree with their politics, not real surprising. Unfortunately

    February 2, 2012 at 10:18 pm | Report abuse |
  14. David Trembley

    My grandmother had breast cancer, my mother had breast cancer. Two of my sisters had breast cancer. I have volunteered for your cause. I have walked your walks. But, only 3% of planned parenthoods funding goes to abortion. Much of their cause goes to detect breast cancer. Enough, no more walks, no more pink stuff. Your organization has become misguided.

    February 2, 2012 at 10:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Adam

      So how does PP funding go to breast cancer detection when they do not even provide mammograms?

      February 3, 2012 at 2:39 am | Report abuse |
  15. Marina

    I will definitely stay away from Komen foundation since they prefer politics to helping women.

    February 2, 2012 at 10:26 pm | Report abuse |
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