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. fernace

    Oh josh, you made me lmao! Life starts at "contraception??" Are you being funny on purpose or just dont know the difference between con-ception & contra-ception! Spellcheck!!

    February 1, 2012 at 10:15 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Pardon me

    Question for banasy on "Lawmakers Attack..." blog

    February 1, 2012 at 10:17 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Jim

    Banasy – my apologies – it was a poor attempt at sarcasm. It seemed apparent when I thought about it, but obviously did not translate into text.

    February 1, 2012 at 10:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy ©

      No harm, no foul, Jim….unfortunately, tone of voice doesn’t come through…

      February 1, 2012 at 10:22 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Danielle

    So far, Out of twenty comments, i see two women who have detected their cancer by the PROFESSIONALS at PP. These are two lives that would have been gone had they not had affordable screening provided by.... wait for it... PLANNED PARENTHOOD. This is the organization that the Komen Foundation will no longer support, and let's face it, there are more women out there if two have voiced their experience on this website. And PP saved my sister with a Pap smear that detected a fast-growing tumor on her cervix. If pap-smears were not mandated for your annual and so affordable, my sister would not be here today. 3 women on a very small forum

    February 1, 2012 at 10:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • patricia

      @ Danielle – Well put.

      February 1, 2012 at 11:12 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Peggy

    Planned Parenthood media campaign is false. Komen will continue to provide the financial backing for breast cancer screening and treatment. It will just be done at alternative service providers who are not under investigation.

    February 1, 2012 at 10:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scottish Mama

      Or under religious or political correctness thumbs?

      February 1, 2012 at 10:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Danielle

      you mean not under an investigation launched by a Republican Senator trying to get more conservative votes in his next election? When the local authorities, or the FBI have something on planned parenthood, let me know. I know it is just smoke and mirrors before the next election, he doesn't even have to find anything, the investigation just has to start, not come up with anything, and he will have his votes. And then, all the mind-warped followers will forget all about this and just say,.... well he investigated them. It is amazing how people will blindly follow one republican's political agenda and actually think it is an investigation

      February 1, 2012 at 10:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scottish Mama

      @Danielle It is an election year.
      @Peggy So not at planned parenthood like they said? So planned parenthood will not recieve the funds because Komen is making a choice and so shall alot of us. The male republicans need to keep their noses out of our bodies.

      February 1, 2012 at 10:36 pm | Report abuse |
  6. brotherseamus

    Just made my first ever donation to Planned Parenthood. Made my last ever donation to Komen.

    February 1, 2012 at 10:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Marnina

      Thank you. I have walked and wheeled through many Komen events. I will also be making a donation to Planned Parenthood.

      February 1, 2012 at 10:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • patricia

      @ brotherseamus – *heart*

      February 1, 2012 at 11:14 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Scottish Mama

    I am the fourth. Planned parenthood, your source for womens issues.

    February 1, 2012 at 10:25 pm | Report abuse |
  8. kay south

    I'm not supporting anymore Komen projects. It is dispicable, to borrow a word from Gingrich, for Komen to bow to pressure from those who endorse political or religious control of women's health. New policy, indeed! I have always admired Komen and thought it was an honest advocate for women's best interest but this action indicates otherwise.

    February 1, 2012 at 10:25 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Emmett

    To hell with Komen. I regret the contributions I made, and the hours I spent running for them in the name of the fallen. May the right wing rot, and slowly.

    February 1, 2012 at 10:28 pm | Report abuse |
  10. captnavenger

    Question: There recently has been much news about a boy who has a parasitic twin in his belly. This thing is nothing but a big ball of skin, hair, and I believe, eyes. The boy's life is uncomfortable, and will only become more so, so the "twin" is being removed.

    The question is, if a simple zygote is a full human being, and abortion is wicked and evil, are all of these anti-abortion groups going to rally outside the hospital to stop this kid from having this great, big parasite removed? Or is it really just a big hunk of flesh, and not really human? And if a thing with hair and eyes is not a fully formed human being, then what is an unconscious, barely-formed lump of zygote tissue?

    February 1, 2012 at 10:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy ©

      Stop. Your logic will make some brains explode.

      February 1, 2012 at 10:35 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Elaine Reeves

    Susan Komen, I will NOT be DONATING to anything with a pink ribbon again. Stop trying to force the world into your Republican/Communist/Tea Party controlling ways.

    February 1, 2012 at 10:31 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Michael T

    My daughter is a breast cancer survivor and I have generously supported Komen in the past. However, I will not longer participate in nor contribute to the Race for the Cure.

    February 1, 2012 at 10:36 pm | Report abuse |
  13. banasy ©

    My best friend, (Hi, Bev!) is also a breast cancer survivor…three guesses where that journey began.

    February 1, 2012 at 10:40 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Scottish Mama

    The race is coming soon, I was thinking maybe since planned parenthood brought it up, maybe Komen was trying to wait till after the race?(to get the money for this year?)

    February 1, 2012 at 10:41 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Ken

    Absolutely outrageous....... chapter one on how right wing, thinking can almost damage two organizations at one. i'll find a way to support Breast Cancer research some other way. My wife and I will up our donation to PP (for which she volunteers as an escort to help shoo away those chauvinistic guys who must exert control over women and harrass visitors to PP clinics. We will drop support for SK foundation until this changes.

    February 1, 2012 at 10:45 pm | Report abuse |
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