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."

Read more

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Filed under: Abortion • Health • Health Care • Politics • The Reads You Need
soundoff (1,014 Responses)
  1. RAMBLE3144

    Casey Anthony believed in "planned parenthood".

    February 1, 2012 at 9:25 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Standing Ovation

    Was it not ironic that Komen gave money to PP which in turn distributes birth control that then causes breast cancer? I don't understand how this causes such an uproar. The money will go to another women's health clinic that does not perform abortions. How can the clinic that will now receive the money be worse than PP when you don't yet know what clinic it will go to?

    February 1, 2012 at 9:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Innocentbystander

      Standing Ovation, those other clinics you describe don't exist every place a PP facility is located. Very shortsighted remark you made. Don't reply, your argument means nothing to me since your ignorance has already been displayed. Also, I won't read it.

      February 1, 2012 at 9:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Blank

      I guess he did not care to comment on the distribution of birth control . . .

      February 1, 2012 at 9:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Theend

      If a young woman is diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer during pregnancy, especially a hormonal type, often she must abort the fetus to undergo chemotherapy or radiation treatment to save her life. Chemotherapy/radiation is very toxic to the unborn and/or causes extreme birth defects. And delaying oncology treatment for months until after the child is born often means a poor prognosis, even death, for the mother.

      February 2, 2012 at 12:41 am | Report abuse |
    • @Theend

      . . . a swing and a miss . . . you somehow managed to completely miss the boat . . .

      February 2, 2012 at 9:45 am | Report abuse |
  3. JoAnn B

    planned parenthood SAVED MY LIFE!!!
    by INSISTING i get yearly checkups (paps, mammograms) if i continued to go to them for birth-control, they are responsible for the mammogram that detected my breast cancer (HER-2, very agressive) of which i am now a SIX year survivor.
    on a side note about planned parenthood and abortions... when my daughter was 16, she got pregnant. she went to planned parenthood (alone) to find out for sure. when confirmed, they asked her what she planned to do, my daughter told them she was keeping it and they NEVER mentioned any other options. NEVER!!! she was given a ton of pamphlets, nutrition, insurance, parenting classes, not ONE mentioned termination. not even a phone number where you could go (the local planned parenthood offices around here don't perform "abortions", but there is a women's services nearby)..
    i am SOOO tired of planned parenthood taking a bad rap.

    February 1, 2012 at 9:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Danielle

      I can't even figure out who Komen has helped (have they cured breast cancer yet?), but Planned Parenthood helps women every day with testing, screening, birth control, AND information, it is a choice, and they will not lead ANYONE in ANY direction. THAT IS PROFESSIONAL, And it is unprofessional for Komen to turn breast cancer into a political issue. ANd now hundreds of women will not be able to for life-saving preventive screening. I am glad you got your chance at life, and I am glad to hear that it was from Planned Parenthood, an organization I will always support because I see and hear from the women it helps every day. Stay well JoAnn

      February 1, 2012 at 9:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Shanna

      Planned Parenthood found my cancer almost 15 years ago. Had it not been for the affordable services (I was in my early 20s and working poor) I might not be alive today.

      Shame on you Komen Foundation, you are acting against your own goals. Wearing a pink ribbon doesn't fight cancer, but getting exams and early diagnosis does.

      February 1, 2012 at 10:01 pm | Report abuse |
  4. **cosmicVox *

    ... UNplanned Parenthood is sooooo much better than planned parenthood... Uh huh...

    February 1, 2012 at 9:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • SherwoodOR

      That's not really the topic here.

      February 1, 2012 at 9:33 pm | Report abuse |
  5. ufullpj

    Let's put it this way – it's a decision that Fred Phelps and The Westboro Baptist Church absolutely applaud.

    They've found their demographic.

    February 1, 2012 at 9:30 pm | Report abuse |
  6. jack johnson

    Now that Komen has taken a political stand THEY SHOULD LOSE their tax exenpt standing. Everyone that donates to them would still have to pay taxes on their donations. This would encorage people to donate to PLANNED PARENTHOOD. This fondation was setup to stop canser, noyt to chose who would get canser. Are they God?

    February 1, 2012 at 9:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • SherwoodOR

      What political stand is that, that they don't want to be associated with organizations that are under investigation for corruption?

      February 1, 2012 at 9:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • bwhitten

      SherwoodOR: PP is under investigation by a very questionable probe by a single congressman. What to guess his political afflilation? Also, the charges are old and have been proven to be groundless.

      February 1, 2012 at 9:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • josh

      Abortion is a moral issue and until we start voting with our morals our country will never be great again.

      February 1, 2012 at 9:42 pm | Report abuse |
  7. SherwoodOR

    Mr. bspurloc says, "... just an arm of the christian taliban..."

    Generally, the first party in a debate to resort to name-calling (especially when the name coopts such an emotionally-charged word as "taliban") instantly reveals himself to have the weaker position. In the old days, we used to use the rule-of-thumb that the first party to call the other a nazi lost the debate; today, the key word is taliban.

    Let's see, please, if we can conduct this debate as intelligent adults and without resorting to the childish tactic of calling each other names.

    February 1, 2012 at 9:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • mjj

      In the old days rule of thumb meant a male could legally beat his wife and children with a stick no larger than the diameter of his thumb. Didn't matter if he permanently maimed them or killed them because it was legal.

      Hey – let's go back to that rule! Anybody willing? Buehler?

      February 2, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Will

    I never understood why some people get so obsessed and upset over something as silly as fetuses, especially considering that there are real, actual children in the world who could use their focus and concern instead.

    February 1, 2012 at 9:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • josh

      Will......fyi science states that life begins at contraception. If you believe in science, than you know that destroying life is murder. So if it's ok to murder babies, why is it not ok to murder you? At least the law needs to be consistent. Either no murder should be allowed or everyone one should have a choice to murder.

      February 1, 2012 at 9:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lisa

      Hey Josh, just an FYI for you... it's conception not contraception. Contraception solves the problem of conception.

      February 2, 2012 at 1:07 am | Report abuse |
  9. Allen

    Komen can direct their monies towards screenings at other places that aren't as controversial and still provide necessary services. This is nothing more than the abortion crowd up in arms that someone has stood up to them.

    February 1, 2012 at 9:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • SherwoodOR

      It's not even a matter of "controversial."

      Komen can - and I'm sure they will - redirect their monies towards screenings at other places that aren't under federal investigation for corruption.

      There's an old adage about "the company you keep" that comes to mind.

      February 1, 2012 at 9:35 pm | Report abuse |
  10. bwhitten

    I will never, ever give a single cent to Susan Koman Foundation. I will also urge my friends and co-workers to do the same.

    February 1, 2012 at 9:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • SherwoodOR

      I take it then that you are no longer concerned about breast cancer.

      February 1, 2012 at 9:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • KellyinCA

      I take then, SherwoodOR, that you are nothing more than a d*ck with ten fingers? See how assumptions go there?

      The pink ribbon campaign will die on this issue. Planned Parenthood has been on the frontline of women's health care for decades. All that the "pink ribbon" organizations have done is to "raise awareness", while allowing manufacturers to jack up prices on consumer goods simply by coloring them pink or slapping a logo on it, and then "pinkwash" their businesses by having YOU pay extra so that they can donate 1/10 of that premium to these organizations and get the tax break on it. Meanwhile, the treatments for breast cancer have not radically changed since the 1950s, and neither have the survival rates.

      Donate to Planned Parenthood and to any public health clinic that helps women regardless of income, so that at least they will get the support they need. Donate to your nearest teaching hospital or medical school, so that cancer research can continue. Don't bother with any "foundation" that'll take your money and make you feel like you're doing something when you are really just supporting Pink Ribbon, Inc.

      February 1, 2012 at 11:21 pm | Report abuse |
  11. SteveCHNC

    If Komen had made an exception to their general policy and kept giving money to Planned Parenthood, wouldn't that have been egregious? Komen has given tons of money to Planned Parenthood in the past. I think not making an exception for Planned Parenthood shows that they are reasonably apolitical, and people attacking them for halting funding sound ungrateful. The fact that the people who are attacking Komen for cutting funding to Planned Parenthood are abortion advocates only makes the perception that funds given to Planned Parenthood were illegally used to fund abortions seem even more likely to be the truth, as they seem to see it as a threat to their cause.

    February 1, 2012 at 9:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • SherwoodOR

      Mr. SteveCHNC says, "I think not making an exception for Planned Parenthood shows that they are reasonably apolitical, and people attacking them for halting funding sound ungrateful."

      I think the people attacking Komen sound as if they have other motives.

      February 1, 2012 at 9:37 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Joy B

    Not sure what all the uproar is about. In my city, Komen never has given PP money.

    February 1, 2012 at 9:38 pm | Report abuse |
  13. SamM

    Let me get this straight, a non profit company wants to decide where it spends its money and people go crazy about it? So what if it doesn't go to planned Parenthood? Its still going to help women. People need to get over themselves

    February 1, 2012 at 9:39 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Gene Cole

    The canard that Planned Parenthood does not fund abortions is trash, simply propaganda put out by PP and their minions. Google "The Wyoming Abortion Fund". One of the first hits that came up (from a sympathetic newspaper):

    "Planned Parenthood’s Wyoming Abortion Fund has provided more than 200 women with financial assistance, paid directly to the provider, since its creation in October 2004. "

    There are many others. So, lets stop repeating the lie that PP does not fund abortions.

    February 1, 2012 at 9:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy ©

      What we said is that YOUR TAXPAYER MONEY does not go for the funding of abortions, but they are funded through private donations.
      Mighty big difference there, sport

      February 1, 2012 at 9:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gene Cole

      banasy ©:

      a. Look at "Katie"'s response to my previous post:

      "Planned Parenthood spends so little on abortions it would be the same thing as not spending anything on breast exams."

      b. Then, take a refresher course in reading comprehension.

      Thanks for playing, tho. Sport.

      February 1, 2012 at 10:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • mjj

      For a more detailed view of the situation that Gene is refering to read this: http://thecoathangerproject.blogspot.com/2008/08/last-of-old-guard-abortion-providers.html

      Most of us live in the real world of gray areas and consider that whole perspective – instead of what Gene is promoting.

      February 2, 2012 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Tim Shinn

    I guess a lot of people will be taking those checks they send to Komen directly to Planned Parenthood. I always wondered why their HQ was in Dallas and now I know why.

    February 1, 2012 at 9:41 pm | Report abuse |
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