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. Deborah

    The Komen Foundation has gotten the last dime from me that they are going to see as long as they persist in rolling over to the anti-choice thuglicans. Shame on them for being such wusses and putting politics ahead of women's health.

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

    I see the Komen Foundation has finally come up w/a "reason" why it can no longer support Planned Parenthood! A government investigation ( & transparent agenda) by House Republicans! So we can then draw a conclusion that the Komen Foundation is partisan & puts the life of an embryo before that of a woman needing affordable healthcare & breastcancer screening! That is unconscionable for a group that has done so much for breastcancer awareness & its victims! Basically they are allowing a political agenda to make them lose sight of their true purpose! They are a cancer awareness, education, research & support group! To now suddenly decide that they are also pro-life & can't support orgs that provide birthcontrol & yes, abortions, is a falsification of that purpose! Are they now saying that unless a woman is pro-life she can't get & doesn't deserve their services & support!? Slippery slope, Susan G. Komen Foundation!!

    February 1, 2012 at 9:43 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Bob

    Science flies you to the moon.

    Religion flies you into buildings.

    This whole abortion argument is nothing more than the American Taliban imposing its religious views on heretics. What's next burkas?

    February 1, 2012 at 9:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mikey

      Somebody have Bob stoned for Sorcery

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

      Beautifully said.

      February 1, 2012 at 9:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • fedupwithchristianconservatives

      Bob; people don't want to hear the facts. They just want to live in denial. Christian conservatives hate the Constitution, freedom, truth, science and Planned Parenthood. They LOVE the 1%, Amway and telling other people how they must live their lives. They think Freedom is "god-given" which is code for "god will taketh away your freedoms" in the name of their phony idea of what this Country is all about.

      February 1, 2012 at 9:57 pm | Report abuse |
  4. **cosmicVox *


    February 1, 2012 at 9:44 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Jim

    Pro-lifers only care about children before they're born.

    February 1, 2012 at 9:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • KellyinCA

      George Carlin said it best about the pro-life groups' position: "If you're pre-born, you're fine; if you're pre-school, you're f%*&ed!"

      February 1, 2012 at 11:25 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Lydia

    Planned Parenthood serves any women regardless of their religious beliefs and/or political affiliations. Komen & company should do likewise.

    Am sorry to say I will not be donating to their organization. If they discriminate against this wonderful organization who serve women from all walks of life, what next?

    February 1, 2012 at 9:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • dlinden55

      As a registered nurse breast cancer navigator, I can tell you for sure that this decision is terrible for poor women.It is shocking that SGK is making women's health a political issue.Every day I see patients in great need of breast health services.
      Please support PPH in their efforts to reach low income women needing breast health services.Let the national Komen folks know this decision is WRONG and they should reverse it immediatly. Hold your donations to SGK until this matter is addressed!!
      PPH does NOT use SGK funds for abortions !! EVER !!

      February 1, 2012 at 10:08 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Sandy

    SherwoodOR, you need to be honest about the facts. That so-called federal investigation is nothing more than a right-wing senator convening an investigation, just as any congress member can do. Planned Parenthood is under constant (bogus) attacks by the anti-choice crowd. That is reality. That is how they wish to wage the war. Komen has chosen a side and now they can live with a tarnished reputation. You shall be known by your friends and your enemies. BOYCOTT KOMEN.

    February 1, 2012 at 9:48 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Mary

    Komen can deny that this was political, but everything about the mess says otherwise, including this photo of Komen VP Karen Hendel's re-tweet. http://yfrog.com/kkzyuyp

    February 1, 2012 at 9:48 pm | Report abuse |
  9. descarado

    The Planned Parenthood Holocaust machine has exterminated three times as many human being than the Nazi gas chambers.

    20 million American have been exterminated in the for profit, Planned Parenthood abortion chambers.

    2o million Americans and counting...and counting...and counting...

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

      Thank God for Planned Parenthood

      February 1, 2012 at 9:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Robin

      This would be amusing if it wasn't so poorly spelled and wildly inaccurate. Instead, it's just tragic.

      February 1, 2012 at 9:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy ©

      Don’t believe in abortion?
      Don’t get one.

      February 1, 2012 at 9:54 pm | Report abuse |
  10. fedupwithchristianconservatives

    The right wing conservative zealots are flexing their muscles. It was a 100% political decision, they are lying. WHAT WOULD SUSNA SAY ABOUT THIS NONSENSE? Her organization has been hijacked by the right wing christians that will also strip you of your health insurance and raise your taxes so that the rich can dominate us even more. FIGHT THE POWER!

    February 1, 2012 at 9:49 pm | Report abuse |
  11. jack johnson

    I read the Susan Brinkner bio. ,and the Komen fondations web site , (and nowhere did it say it was against abortions) The only thnig Susan said the woman had right to deside her medical issuses.

    February 1, 2012 at 9:50 pm | Report abuse |
  12. History Major

    Under investigation. Like all the poor people who were blacklisted because of tail gunner Joe? What happened to innocent until proven guilty? A Congressional Investigation is always a political move. To base a funding decision on such a flimsy basis shows poor judgment by Komen. Instead, Komen should be throwing its support behind the groups that are trying to get Congress out of the abortion issue by repealing the ban on funding abortions. They are legal under Federal law because the court, and the majority of Americans, say they are. To ban the use of Federal funds to perform a legal medical procedure is the worst kind of Theocratic politics. Get your churches out of my life. More people have been killed in the name of religion than for any other reason. It is time we stopped supporting such religions with our tax exemptions. Besides, the biggest anti-abortion advocates are the ones who really want more little kids to molest behind the closed doors of their sanctuaries.

    February 1, 2012 at 9:50 pm | Report abuse |
  13. narniagirl55

    Dont understand what the uproar is all about! If PP gives "inexpensive cost effective manual exams" (that you can do yourself in your own home or in a doctor's office) what on earth do they need money from SGK for?! PP has NEVER done mammograms...now I am sure that a few of them have detected a tumor and sent someone on for a referral for a mammogram, but most of their money goes for abortions. They ARE the largest abortion provider in the US and they keep those abortions coming by giving "low dose" birth control that any woman can get pregnant taking. Thus, PP's real goal is giving abortions over and over again. Komen did the right thing here. Plus, more medical studies are coming out showing that abortions cause the halt of immature breast cells during pregnancy from maturing. and those immature cells.have been known to become cancer cells...Thus abortion is a direct catalyst for some cases of breast cancer. Make no mistake about it. Komen is learning that they want to be known for saving lives...and they don't want to be known for hurting women, babies. (the also severed ties for embryonic stem cell research as well!) Yeah. I am proud of their stand. There are many other organizations that can help women besides Planned Parenthoodl Gez, women who support PP think that they are the only organization that can help women, they aren't. They are just the "brand name" for it..but once the Congressional investigation gets going, the world is going to find out what PP really does....is leave women's lives hanging in the balance while women get hurt getting abortions.

    February 1, 2012 at 9:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy ©

      Because it was through PP that I got my mammograms when I didn’t have insurance.
      Methinks you are not in touch with PP, but with the RR.

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

      @Narnia... actually, my planned parenthood has low cost mammograms and DOES NOT perform abortions, they in no way, shape or form try to coerce women into having an abortion. That is up to the individual and her opinions and beliefs. the are a class act. The know the laws and stay well within them. they have provided inexpensive cervical cancer screening, and low cost birth control bringing the numbers down for abortions, if i were you, i wouldn't hate something you, obviously, know so little about

      February 1, 2012 at 10:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Danielle

      AND this is a congressional investigation from ONE Republican senator... why doesn't this lead you to believe he has an upcoming election and wants the conservative vote? If PP was investigated by the proper authorities who had nothing to gain, like local law enforcement or the FBI, THEN these allegations would have some merit

      February 1, 2012 at 10:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Boytjie

      @narnia. Keep repeating the Sen. Jon Kyl's non-a factual statement (aka a lie) Congress that 90% of PP's services are to to provide abortions. Eventually Kyl admitted he wasn't being truthful.

      February 2, 2012 at 12:15 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Jim

    To bad Komen doesn't believe in American justice.

    You know, innocent until proven guilty.

    So all the neanderthals need to do to ki l l something is make an unfounded accusation, and then take then next 40 years to investigate?

    February 1, 2012 at 9:51 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Zoeysmom92081

    The pink kimono has finally been lifted. They no longer support embryonic stem cell research either. AND only 10 cents of your dollar goes to research.

    February 1, 2012 at 9:53 pm | Report abuse |
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