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."

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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

    I agree, banasy! Men are clueless, but many women are too! I'd have so much more respect for the anti-choice crowd if they'd step up & actually BE those "adoptive" parents they keep wanting to pass these embryos over to! But as always, they don't mean themselves! They are "volunteering" un-named people to do the stepping up! Pathetic!!

    February 1, 2012 at 10:45 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Scottish Mama

    My cousin has it now also. My best to all who have been diagnosed early, felt safe to go to planned parenthood, and are in recovery. Strength to all of you when you feel weak, hope, love and hugs when it gets tough, and peace, remission, and relief at the end of your jouney.

    February 1, 2012 at 10:47 pm | Report abuse |
  3. rt

    Hugely dissapointed in komen. Have been a big donor in time, promotion, media exposure and money. Not another cent untill they reverse this idiotic decision.

    February 1, 2012 at 10:49 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Katherine

    My life was saved seventeen years ago by early detection. I have great insurance which means great medical care. When I heard the news, I wrote two emails – one to Planned Parenthood to volunteer (in addition to the money I give them every year) – the second to Komen asking them to remove my name from all their lists as I would no longer be prancing in pink to raise money for their cause. What a shame that the original intent of an organization has been lost in politics and brand marketing. Ladies – the best protest has to do with your feet and your pocketbooks.

    February 1, 2012 at 10:51 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Ex Komen contributor

    I am so sick of the religious zealots on the right calling the shots...... I no longer will contribute to Komen, nor Lowes ( for puuling their advertising on All American Muslim)

    February 1, 2012 at 10:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Billiam Hillary

      Zealots on the left love to call the shots too and are far more intolerant.

      February 1, 2012 at 10:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Teresa

      I'm with you. Every single product that has that pink ribbon will no longer be going in my cart. Planned Parenthood is so much more than an abortion clinic. The religious zealots should go back to the bible and look at what being a christian is really about. As long as the Komen fund chooses to play politics I choose not to support that fund. There are plenty of other funds that can use my extra cash.

      February 1, 2012 at 11:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • GCoop

      Guess I missed the part in the Bible where being Christian included killing unborn babies. Can you show me that passage again? In the meantime, I'm going to continue to support organizations that oppose murder. It's what Jesus would want.

      February 1, 2012 at 11:23 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Jeepers

    If this all comes down to abortions, then Komen is essentially throwing the baby out with the bathwater...(so to speak.)

    February 1, 2012 at 10:52 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Jonathan

    "Anti-abortion" huh? How about "pro-life" or is that too honest and convicting that to be "pro-choice" on this issue is to be "pro-murder"?

    February 1, 2012 at 11:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Krissie

      Anti-abortion and pro-life are not the same. A pro-life person is anti- war, anti-abortion, and anti-capital punishment. Not too many anti-abortion people fit all three, so yeah, 'anti-abortion' is the correct term here.

      February 1, 2012 at 11:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • bear0402

      Being Pro-Murder is another way of saying being for the death penalty.

      February 1, 2012 at 11:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan

      Pro Life? If pro-lifers are so pro life then why are they celebrating funding cuts for breast cancer screenings that have proven to save lives? I'm willing to bet you also support the death penalty. Pro life? Why don't you call it what it is?

      February 1, 2012 at 11:24 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Patricia in Texas

    When the Komen Foundation hired an anti-abortion woman who campaigned for Georgia governor by promising to de-fund Planned Parenthood, and made her Senior VP for Public Policy, it should have been very obvious which direction they were heading. It's not caving to pressure; it's a conscious policy decision.

    Komen has definitely lost my support.

    February 1, 2012 at 11:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • sparknut

      Yes, it is shameful that Komen has injected right wing politics into the fight against breast cancer. It is sad that many women will suffer due to this decision. I will not contribute to Komen again.

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

    First – get your facts straight. PP does provide low cost gyn screening services for those who need it (paps, contraceptives, STD screening). But their main business, by volume and by $$$, is Abortion. They are the largest abortion provider in the world. You and I pay for this with $330+ MILLION tax dollars every year (yea, it goes to 'non-abortion services', right?). Komen last year gave $560,000+ to PP for breast cancer screening. PP does do breast exams. But NO PP provides mammograms, nor ever has. Some will cover mammos at other clinics. Most people do not know that PP doesn't do mammos. Even fewer people know that there are numerous scientific studies statistically showing that a women having an abortion INCREASES her risk of having breast cancer later in life, whereas a women having the baby instead does not increase her risk. Women, make your choice, but don't make me pay for it. Thanks

    February 1, 2012 at 11:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Patricia in Texas

      That's not true - abortions are under 5% of PP's services.

      February 1, 2012 at 11:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Teresa

      Mark, exactly when was it you needed abortion services? Do you also realize that PP does so many because Private physicians are killed by Pro-Life fanatics. You know nothing about PP and really would never have used there services.

      February 1, 2012 at 11:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • sparknut

      Facts Mark? No lies. But the right wing cannot tell the difference.

      February 1, 2012 at 11:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • FactsStraight

      Mark – laughable. How about get YOUR facts straight. If you would so much as read any report on where Planned Parenthood funding goes, you would know that abortion is a very small fraction of what they do. And you would also know that Planned Parenthood is all about promoting abstinence, sex education, and birth control to AVOID any need for abortions. No one that supports Planned Parenthood is Pro-Abortion, they are simply Pro-Women's rights and access to quality, safe healthcare and education.

      February 1, 2012 at 11:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mark

      in 2009/20 fiscal year, Abortion brought in 48% of PP income. They had a net 'profit' of over $18 – not bad for a non-profit entity that received more than $330 million from taxpayers that year.

      February 1, 2012 at 11:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pat

      The abortion – breast cancer link is not true, although it sure makes a good talking point for those who want it to be.

      February 1, 2012 at 11:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • dwech

      Mark, get YOUR facts straight. It's well-documented that a small percentage of PP's total services are performing abortions. PP provides family planning (contraception, education), disease education (STDs including HIV, birth defects, etc.) and preventative care (pap smear, gyno exams, mammograms and cancer screenings) far more than abortions performed. You may not want that to be true, but it is.

      February 1, 2012 at 11:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • femfilly

      Where are you getting your info? Abortions are only 3% of PPH's services. Breast screenings and mammograms have a prominent place on the Women's Health section of the PPH website.

      February 1, 2012 at 11:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mark

      Sorry Teresa, but I know a lot more about PP that you think I do. I have seen what abortion does to women – how it destroys their mental state. It crushes their inner being – even years later they are left so vulnerable. I have encountered innumerable women who have unfortunately been subjected to the horrors of abortion, many times because they do not know or have not been told of the wretched aftermath that awaits them. It is tragic. If you haven't ever experienced it, I pray you don't ever find yourself in that situation. If you have, my deepest sympathy to you and hope you find peace.

      February 1, 2012 at 11:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • drnight

      You are wrong on so many levels I don't know where to begin. No surprise though.

      February 1, 2012 at 11:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mark

      Pat – The abortion – breast cancer link is unfortunately very true. Look it up. There are numerous journal articles in the scientific world that demonstrate it. As a gynecologist, I am very up to date with the latest data in the literature regarding this issue. I also know what PP offers and doesn't offer because they unfortunately have been deceptive into making many believe they offer mammograms, when in fact, they don't. Here is a link to an article that exposes the truth. http://liveaction.org/blog/planned-parenthood-ceos-false-mammogram-claim-exposed/

      February 1, 2012 at 11:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • KellyinCA

      Really, Mark? You've seen the effects of abortion on so many women? Did it ever occur to you to offer even ONE of those women to adopt the child or to look after her and her child until she could get back on her feet? Have you ever bothered to advocate on a woman's behalf when the rapist who fathered their baby decided he was going to keep himself in that woman's life by demanding visitation rights? Have you ever done a thing for those women that would convince them that the choice to bring that child to term would prove a happier and better decision _for them_ than to terminate the pregnancy? If you're like most anti-abortion d*cks, you probably called these women sluts in your mind because they'd had sex outside of wedlock, you might have blocked every means by which they might have been able to bring that child to term – opposed welfare, WIC programs, legal aid for family court so that they could arrange adoptions – blocked, undermined or opposed any early-intervention or other school-based programs to help these families through the early school years – as well as blocking access to women's health services such as though provided by Planned Parenthood so that those fetuses you claim to love so much can be born healthy and their mothers can bear them without risk. No. You are a d*ck who might have read a bunch of pamphlets, seen the photos of dead fetuses that some of you sick and perverted b*stards love to masturbate to at your anti-abortion rallies, tormenting the poor women and girls your intolerance and chauvinism drove into the abortion clinic you'd bomb if you could find someone who knew the recipe for C4.

      You are right on one thing, Mark: a woman does not make the decision to terminate her pregnancy lightly. If you give her any positive reason to bring her child to term – by supporting her directly or maintaining the community supports that make parenting a child easier for someone in her circumstances – you may be able to convince her. All the anti-abortion movement has done now is to drive more of those women away from community supports and into abortion clinics, thanks to your attitudes combined with a political philosophy that's half-Dickensian, half-Darwinian in its vision. You, and those in that circle, have done more to cause the deaths of those unborn babies than anything Planned Parenthood did. And, thanks to this bit of politicking, your movement will have killed the Susan G. Komen Foundation. Enjoy your cake, Mark.

      February 2, 2012 at 12:09 am | Report abuse |
    • Boytjie

      @Mark Even Sen Jon Kyl admitted that he wasn't making a factual statement about what percentage of PP's services are abortions. Hie lied saying it was 90%, it is actually 3 %. Keep repeating the lies.

      February 2, 2012 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Scottish Mama

    @Jeepers since 78% of abortions to women are on women who claim religious affiliation.(and they think it is higher they just do not want to say which religion.)

    February 1, 2012 at 11:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeepers

      That doesn't surprise me. Planned Parenthood provides many, many other services to women who need them...besides just abortions...including breast cancer screenings. It's a shame they've gone down this path. It's misguided.

      February 1, 2012 at 11:09 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Ad Nauseam

    PP performs 400X more abortions than adoptions. Its soul purpose is to abort babies using lots and lots of federal funding. SGK never said they wouldn't provide the funding to other companies who provide equal breast prevention services, just not to PP. The problem with PP supporters is they forget there are alternatives....or do you just wish every pregnant girl who walks through their doors will scoop their little baby out and toss it in the trash? Because if PP has their way, that's what they will do 399 out of every 400 times.

    February 1, 2012 at 11:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Soups On

      Wow I really hope that is sarcasm. Scary thing is I don't detect sarcasm but I do smell a Faux News talking head.

      February 1, 2012 at 11:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy ©

      What part of no federal funding goes toward abortion services in PP do you not get? What part of the abortion services that comprise only 5% of PP's TOTAL services are financed by private donations don't you understand? I will repeat it again: no taypayer money goes towards abortions...NONE! Ad nauseum, indeed.

      February 1, 2012 at 11:25 pm | Report abuse |
  12. d

    So sad. I thought that SGK supported healthy women. I thought that SGK would not roll over to political sway when low income women need basic healthcare services more than ever. This decision will cost women their lives. Real lives. Real people. People who have been living and breathing for years. People. People who no one can argue is not a person. Way to go, SGK. I will never support you again.

    February 1, 2012 at 11:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • GCoop

      I don't care what your income level is, murder is still murder, and Komen has gained my support by standing up for the rights and safety of unborn lives.

      February 1, 2012 at 11:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy ©

      GCoop, where are you in the adoption process? Oh yeah, someone else's problem, right? Want to speak for the unwanted unborn? Adopt them all.

      February 1, 2012 at 11:29 pm | Report abuse |
  13. RichardSRussell

    Somewhere, Joe McCarthy is smiling. The idea that an INVESTIGATION (no charges, no evidence, no basis in law) can ruin somebody's career was thrown out in disgust back in the 1950s, and here it is being resurrected against an entire nation-wide organization.

    February 1, 2012 at 11:04 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Soups On

    Surprised? Not really. The foundation hasn't been funding anything for the last decade other than cash walks and commercials. Yes, we are aware there is breast cancer, now how about funding some research. Where there is money there will be exploiters and they just showed their hand.

    February 1, 2012 at 11:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • sparknut

      And Komen pays its right wing CEO almost half a million dollars a year. Try getting people to walk to raise money to pay the CEO!

      February 1, 2012 at 11:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mark

      And PP just spent $35 million on a condo in Manhattan for their new US HQ!! And you want to help pay for that?

      February 1, 2012 at 11:52 pm | Report abuse |
  15. fernace

    Hey Jim, I guess I'm the only 1 who saw your post for the perfect sarcasm that you meant it to be! I really liked it! "Sacrifice womens health & lives, but don't touch the embryos"! But as some people have pointed out, there are those who actually belive this craziness! My question is, if we take it to that level, who will carry the sacred embryo!?? Hmmm! Ok, I'm being a bit sarcastic myself now, hope you got it! No more appologies, you're good!!

    February 1, 2012 at 11:08 pm | Report abuse |
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