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."

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Filed under: Abortion • Health • Health Care • Politics • The Reads You Need
soundoff (1,014 Responses)
  1. CommonSense

    No more donations for SGK from me. Not that it matters: with gene patenting standing in the way of real research, there is no cure in sight.

    February 2, 2012 at 10:28 pm | Report abuse |
  2. carol derry

    Sorry no more donations from me. Komen is outdated, time to pack it in and close those doors. When abortion was illegal and contraception non-existent,poor women used coat hangers and the rich had doctors. As an RN I witnessed the mangled bodies of poor women. I hope the invasion of the religious fanatics don't turn back the clock.

    February 2, 2012 at 10:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Adam

      It will have to be a heart change for people to stop aborting unborn children. Those who favor abortion unfortunately are not willing to see what science has to say about this. Science is overwhelmingly showing life begins earlier and earlier than what people previously believed. I feel sorry for those who are so blinded by their own desire for "control" that they cannot see the child within them growing. I also am disappointed by all the people on both sides that get so angry with the other side. We need a thoughtful discussion on the subject. Science has shown the beauty of the unborn that many who favor abortion are just not willing to acknowlege.

      February 3, 2012 at 2:45 am | Report abuse |
    • sillybean

      @ Adam. Your belief is a misnomer... "those that favor abortion" ... WE don't favor abortion. WE favor women and allow them to make their own decisions. PP supports women who choose – to keep or to abort – with no judgement. Individuals like you are aghast at independent women making autonomous decisions regarding the contents of their uteri. Get over yourself. You cannot control the minutia of the female existence. Your beliefs and opinions are just that – yours – and they have no bearing on the goings on of the uteri that belong to perfect strangers. You have ZERO authority over the biological processes/matters that exist within another human being ... However a woman has and should continue to have total control over her own uteri and should be able to evacuate it regardless of what or who is in there. NO other human being posseses an inherent right to occupy another. A fetus is dependent upon it's hosts cooperation to even exists – thus it's life/existence is, in reality, secondary to it's hosts as it cannot survive should the host perish itself. You cannot require a woman to cooperate biologically to sustain another human and NO LAW has any jurisdiction over the biological processes or matter inside a woman's body!

      February 3, 2012 at 11:04 am | Report abuse |
  3. Nurse B

    Breast Cancer does not discriminate based on socioeconomic status or personal beliefs yet the Susan B. Komen group now does. The Susan B. Komen group has no issue taking donations from members in every echelon of society. A small donation from someone living at poverty level is a far larger sacrifice then a huge check from someone in upper class. Now, the foundation is basing its funding based not... on need, but on certain contentious issues in America. Very high risk people with limited access to health care in America are now cut off from life saving grants and services from this foundation. In certain depressed communities this grant money was the only means to fund life saving breast exams. These services have now been taken away. As a nonprofit organization, Susan B. Komen has forgotten the original goal of cancer research, treatment and access to life saving services for all. Instead, they have become a politically oriented group, making decision based on popularity, controversy and subjective beliefs. Shame on Susan B Komen for forgetting the basic principles of medical ethics, the universal fight against cancer and the emotional toll of losing a loved one to Breast Cancer. Yes, Susan B. Komen foundation, even those living in poverty feel the same grief when they lose a loved one to Breast Cancer. Shame on this group for not asking every single person who has ever donated if it is ok to withdraw life saving funding to the poor based upon where a person seeks care. Breast Cancer does not discriminate, yet the Susan B. Komen foundation now does based solely on a person’s medical point of access for living saving care. The foundation has reported an increase in donation since stopping funding to Planned Parenthood. What type of society do we live in where a people do not understand Planned Parenthood is a point of medical access for many services for the indigent, uninsured and the poor in our country. Susan B. Komen has let this become about a pro-life/pro-choice agenda. This is a issue of Breast Cancer not abortion. Regardless of my personal beliefs, I refuse to donate money to an organization that has no qualms taking donations from the poorest of society and giving them only to the well off. Shame on you.

    February 2, 2012 at 10:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Melissa

      PLEASE... you sound like obama. No one is cut off. NO PP clinics closed today and they won't close tomorrow. People don't won't their money used in ways they don't approve...simple as that. Komen has millions of women who do not support abortion. So, why don't you and the others that are so upset by this – petition PP to stop murdering the unborn and this issue will be resolved! Otherwise, PP will find funding somewhere else. Komen was not intended in its orgins to fund PP but rather to support only the research for a cure. Why can't they take their money and move it to organizations that don't murder – but do provide healthcare for women .... think about that before you throw the baby out with the water.

      February 2, 2012 at 10:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pro Sense

      Nurse B I can tell you are passionate about this but guess what I am one of those "poor people" you refer to and I do get breast exams and paps and the like from a clinic in my community that is not Planned Parenthood and it is free. Are you and everyone out to slam SGK because you are in fact upset that people have a right to go somewhere other than Planned Parenthood? Has anyone even thought that SGK might just direct the funds to other well deserving struggling clinics in communities that provide the same screenings? You in fact are picking sides and making this political by slamming an organization that has helped millions of people. My sister is dying of breast cancer stage 4 she has no insurance and is relying on private charitable organizations for her care not Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood and its constituants shouldn't bite the hand that feeds it and should choose a better business model.

      February 3, 2012 at 12:23 am | Report abuse |
    • Pro Sense

      Sorry Nurse B but I am one of those "poor women" you refer to with no access to medical care and my sister is dying of breast cancer stage 4 had 14 lymphnodes removed a month ago just to give context to what I am about to say.

      I did not go to Planned Parenthood for my routine screenings since I've been left without insurance I went to another fantastic free clinic for my care that scraps for any dime they can get to operate. I chose not to go to PP. R u saying that SGK is an evil doer because it is simply going to redirect funds to other clinics in the communities at large that happen to not be PP that provide the same services??? So if the clinic I went to happens to now get grant funding from SGK that PP lost that helps me and other people in the community get care we need that its irrelevent because it didnt go through PP?? I think you need to look at your arguement and see that it is in fact you who are politicizing this by being suckered into a political maneuver. Care is care and if I or my sister get treatment that is funded from SGK I dont give a damn if it is through PP or not. I will be scrapping what money I can to donate to SGK because now I am pissed that people are too blind to see they are being manipulated by a political agenda. PP shouldnt bite the hands that feed them.

      February 3, 2012 at 12:49 am | Report abuse |
    • SafeJourney

      In the rural areas of the mid-west were I live, there are NOT free clinics (other than planned parenthood) in MANY towns. So you will see that Susan B Komen will reverse their decision to fund breast cancer screenings

      February 5, 2012 at 9:23 am | Report abuse |
  4. Nick

    So correct me if I'm wrong, but by the logic of the Pro-Life groups, God chooses you to get pregnant, and it is against his plan to interfere. And by that logic, doesn't He also give you breast cancer, illness, and death? Therefore they should also be against cancer cures, and all healthcare in general because it is against the order set forth by God. If it is in the "divine plan" that you have a child every nine months, should you not also refuse life prolonging efforts because you are being called back to the "kingdom"??

    February 2, 2012 at 11:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Denny

      I haven't heard any pro-lifers say any thing like that. Many people do not base their pro-life stance on their religious beliefs. Some do, but not all. Some just think that the unborn are living human children and should be protected by the constitution. That thought would be consistant with finding a cure for cancer. I'm not saying they are right or wrong. But it doesn't necessarily make them bad people.

      February 2, 2012 at 11:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • electricgrendel

      Anti-choice positions are always about punishing women for having sex. Because nothing says "life is precious" like making babies into punishment.

      February 3, 2012 at 2:25 am | Report abuse |
  5. Walk Away

    it is shameful , i have donated directly to Planned Parenthood today. Sorry walkers, i support your cause but not your foundation any more

    February 2, 2012 at 11:38 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Elizabeth

    It's sad. I will just have to stop funding the Komen Foundation entirely and send my total contributions to Planned Parenthood instead. I tried to spread my charitable contributions around, especially in these tough times. I am on SSDI as I have MS and suffer from many health problems related to the disease and other issues. Nonetheless, I GIVE because it is so critical to the survival of the groups that support the sick, poor, and hungry in our country. Our government is shamefully absent in this regard. Planned Parenthood has become a pariah because of ignorance and the false accusations of those who would destroy access to health care to poor women in the name of Christianity. Jesus would be appalled. My "widow's mite" will go to Planned Parenthood because it is the right thing to do.

    February 3, 2012 at 12:07 am | Report abuse |
  7. vet2640

    Hi everyone,
    Whatever opinions out there about the Komen Foundation, and I know there are millions, it is absolutely despicable that one "republican" is able to dictate the outcome of much needed health care for women. Women are not "second class" citizens and should not be treated as such. Watched the news tonight, and they predict this "foundation" won't last the year or will be greatly diminished and eventually be non-existant. Planned Parenthood is greatly needed and will survive this latest attack by the "extreme right wing" in this country.

    February 3, 2012 at 12:25 am | Report abuse |
  8. wOT

    why do peoples always like to play God by what the do to babies. Man can not make a tree or a baby!

    February 3, 2012 at 12:46 am | Report abuse |
  9. Sirned

    It's so sad to cut funding for life saving treatment for many for a political ideology that is about life.....especially when only 3% is going to what you oppose.

    February 3, 2012 at 1:44 am | Report abuse |
  10. Schmoogalicious

    Yet more evidence that Republicans and other anti-abortion groups couldn't care less about women's lives.

    February 3, 2012 at 2:09 am | Report abuse |
  11. electricgrendel

    This instant destruction of the Komen brand will be studied in marketing and PR courses for years to come. They have long been shady, but people have overlooked it. And yes- they have long had a hard right lean. I think that while the decision to politicize their grants is disastrous, it is nothing compared to what will come when people start really looking into this organization. Their overhead is more expensive than there entire research funding. They spend more on "awareness" (as if everyone in America doesn't know how deadly breast cancer is, and that early detection is key) than on trying to find a cure. Yet, they were too quick to sure smaller charities into oblivion if they tried to use the phrase "for the cure." This organization has long been diseased, but its grave marketing error over the last 48 hours will be the stuff of legend.

    February 3, 2012 at 2:24 am | Report abuse |
  12. Scottish Mama

    This article is about funding of breast cancer. Komen will not fund the breast cancer screenings. When the investigation is over we will see what the real reason is. Time does tell.
    The top 5 executives at Komen make $87,000. – $92,000. a year. NOn profits are profitable. I rather give my money to a breast cancer patient to pay their bills.

    February 3, 2012 at 7:07 am | Report abuse |
  13. Maria

    My husband, two daughters and I have participated in Race for the Cure for years in Raleigh, NC, and we have gone out of our way to purchase products supporting this cause. I have also valued the services of Planned Parenthood for years. The recent move on the part of the Komen Foundation is a SLAP IN THE FACE TO ALL WOMEN. All future donations on the part of my family will go directly to Planned Parenthood. And, no more Race for the Cure for us! We will donate to other cancer prevention organizations. Shame on you Ms. Brinker for bending to political pressure and sacrificing the rights of ALL WOMEN, and that includes your own rights, Ms. Brinker!

    February 3, 2012 at 10:47 am | Report abuse |
  14. Rainbo

    When I became pregnant more than 30 years ago, my family turned their back on me and the only hand extended to me was Planned Parenthood. They helped me make a decision that was right for me.... and then throughout my pregnancy they supported me by being there, and made sure that I had what I needed once the baby was born. It isn't ALL about abortion.... Abortion is a small portion of what they do, yet seemingly intelligent people want to make it ALL about abortion and ignore the wonderful things they do for women everyday. SHAME ON YOU!

    February 3, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Sarah

    Kudos to Komen for backing down today on their ill advised decision. I's like data about how many of the breast cancer screenings they do result in positive readings. My guess is that it would be higher than the general population, since this is a higher risk population. If that is true, it makes continuing this work essential.

    February 3, 2012 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
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