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. cracker

    Finding a cure isn't as profitable as continuall­y looking for one, remember that one...... it's so odd to me, planned parent hood is an answer to abortion, why people miss this i don't know. .....The horrid Truth, abortions won't stop, even if it's made illegal, they get driven back underground, more dangerous, more inhumane, it's medieval. It is medieval.

    February 1, 2012 at 11:13 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Scottish Mama

    Republican Cliff Stearns of Florida has called for the investigation of PP. I guess I will not be going to Florida for vacation.

    February 1, 2012 at 11:19 pm | Report abuse |
  3. GCoop

    Guess who else took lives by the millions?

    Hitler.

    But we're proving to be more efficient at it.

    February 1, 2012 at 11:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy ©

      Ridiculous anaglogy, but not surprised you brought it up.
      People always throw out the Hitler card when they haven't a valid argument.

      February 1, 2012 at 11:33 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Komen right to question

    i was pleased at this announcement and will continue to support Komen. The fact that they pulled support for Planned Parenthood only shows that they are committed and are responsible with the funding entrusted to them. If Planned parenthood is misusing federal funds, continued association would only tarnish their effectiveness and hinder future breast cancer support, education, and research.

    February 1, 2012 at 11:22 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Bob

    If the Komen foundation wants to step into the political kitchen, better be ready for the heat. I for one will never donate another dime to their cause, but I just tripled my donation to Planned Parenthood.

    February 1, 2012 at 11:22 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Scottish Mama

    St. Louis had a scandal with the accountant embezzling money some years back. St. Louis SGC walk says it does not give to PP anyway. Last week it was the girlscouts were under the gun in St. Louis they were saying the girlscouts cookie funds were going to PP. I think someone got ahold of the list of PP donation list and is outing all the donors. HMMMMMMMMMMMMM ya think it is a republican?

    February 1, 2012 at 11:25 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Chris

    I will no longer support the Komen Foundation in any way due to their decision to pull funds from Planned Parenthood. What, exactly, has the Komen Foundation done to help women? Has breast cancer been cured and I missed the announcement? I have always been pro-choice and believe abortion is a very private matter – between a woman and her doctor, NO one else. It truly amazes me when a male starts talking about the evils of abortion – he will never be faced with the challenges of pregnancy at the same level a woman is. Planned Parenthood does so much more then provide abortions – funded by private donations, NOT with taxpayer dollars – that has saved countless lives. Poor women depend on PP for the only medical care many of them receive. Birth control is also a private matter.

    What is really pitiful are the number of people who believe PP operates as an abortion assembly line. Contrary to the belief of many pro-lifers, abortion is a medical procedure allowed by LAW and not undertaken lightly. More importantly, none of these pro-lifers have any right to restrict this procedure to anyone. The solution is actually quite simple – if you don't believe in abortion than don't get one!

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

      Wow. Stupidity comes in all sizes, shapes, and colors!!

      February 1, 2012 at 11:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • kathy hayes

      I totallt agree that I also will not be supporting The Komen foundation in the future for their cowardly act toward Planned Parenthood. Many financially needy women of many ages depend on Planned Parenthood for a wide variety of health care. Many of us appreciate and support them for providing this service to humanity. If a man could get pregmant he would have a right to decide to continue or end a pregnancy-his! But since this is not possible he does not have the right to tell me or any other woman what to do with our bodies and our lives!

      February 1, 2012 at 11:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy ©

      Spare, you just proved that with your post....

      February 1, 2012 at 11:47 pm | Report abuse |
  8. LWJR

    Democratic Party push to delegitimize this group. Pure POLITICS. Planned Parenthood is Auschwitz for birth control.

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

      Um....Auschwitz? What?

      February 1, 2012 at 11:45 pm | Report abuse |
  9. KD from Seattle

    I have always supprted the Komen 3 day, whether through participation, volunteering, donations or cheering the walkers. Not anymore! It is hard to believe that politics didn't play a role in this. I am really disappointed in this decision! What is this country coming to when freedom of choice does not matter anymore!
    Sincerely- Dissapointed in Seattle

    February 1, 2012 at 11:37 pm | Report abuse |
  10. fernace

    Here's a fact that seems to escape alot of the pro-life crowd! Birthcontrol & abortion has been in place since time began! It has, until last century, involved many dangerous & deadly methods, but was all women of those times had available to them! Another fact is that men of church & government (often tantamount to the same thing) always want to control womens s.e.x.uality in ways too numerous to list! That is what's going on here! Our good ol' boys are trying to dismantle legal abortion & are willing to sacrifice womens health to do so! It's an obvious control issue! 1 more fact:My body, my pregnancy, My Decision based on my life & what's right for me & mine!!! Every1 else needs to butt out!!

    February 1, 2012 at 11:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scottish Mama

      @fernace Thank goodness we can vote.

      February 2, 2012 at 12:03 am | Report abuse |
  11. Pat in IL

    Shame on SGK for making a political decision, rather than a compassionate decision. With their high administration costs and decisions based on some kind of anti-female, conservative twisted agenda, I'm sure their donations will go way down over the next couple of years. My $$ are going to the American Cancer Society.....just makes sense.

    February 1, 2012 at 11:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scottish Mama

      Pat I thought that too. Then I collected for them and found out how much overhead they had and how much went to cancer. Be careful and ask how much out of a dollar goes to cancer research or cancer patients.

      February 2, 2012 at 12:01 am | Report abuse |
  12. Debra - Phx, AZ

    My first race was a Komen 5K and I have contributed to many of their pink campaigns. Years of Komen donations ended with this decision. I have been skeptical of their size and administrative costs. Now I have no doubt of their values – the decision is easy. No more money for Komen.

    February 1, 2012 at 11:43 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Josh

    Good, I don't want my donations or tax dollars funding abortion until fathers have equal say in whether a fetus can be aborted. It's not fair that a woman can choose to carry and deliver the baby even though the father wanted the abortion, and then force the father to pay child support. It's not fair that the woman can abort the fetus when the father is ready, willing, and able to take the child once it is born.

    Although it takes 2 to make a baby, the rights of the father, the co-creator, are totally disregarded.

    February 1, 2012 at 11:47 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Josh in FL

    Good, I don't want my donations or tax dollars funding abortion until fathers have equal say in whether a fetus can be aborted. It's not fair that a woman can choose to carry and deliver the baby even though the father wanted the abortion, and then force the father to pay child support. It's not fair that the woman can abort the fetus when the father is ready, willing, and able to take the child once it is born.

    Although it takes 2 to make a baby, the rights of the father, the co-creator, are totally disregarded.

    February 1, 2012 at 11:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gimmeabreak

      Life isn't fair, dude. If a guy doesn't want to be a father he can wear a condom. If he doesn't wear one and a child is conceived, it's a free for all – child support or abortion. You play, you pay...one way or another. A woman should also share the responsibility as far as birth control. If not, and she becomes pregnant, it is ultimately her right to do what she pleases, as it is HER body. Until men have the ability to carry a child, they get no sympathy from me and don't deserve any.

      February 2, 2012 at 12:01 am | Report abuse |
    • Josh in FL

      Wrong, it isn't just her right to abort a life. The father should have equal say. When women can create life on their own, then they can claim supreme rights to whether or not the baby is born.

      February 2, 2012 at 12:04 am | Report abuse |
    • Elizabeth

      Oh my, how dare you call yourself a creator, it's blasphemy!
      If your girlfriend did not want to be pregnant, and you got her pregnant, you raped her.
      End of story. Go to jail, do not pass go...

      February 2, 2012 at 12:07 am | Report abuse |
    • banasy ©

      You are to be commended for your willingness to step up to the plate, and you have many valid points.
      One that is totally wrong is that your tax dollars are going towards funding abortions through PP. They are not. Nobody's tax dollars are, and it's this kind of erroneous information that anti-choice folks dearly love to stir up PP de-funding completely.

      February 2, 2012 at 12:11 am | Report abuse |
    • nothing new here

      Yes, it does take 2 to tango....
      All the more reason for PP to stay operational.
      BIRTH CONTROL – use it!!

      February 2, 2012 at 1:29 am | Report abuse |
  15. fernace

    To those complaining that PPH doesn't perform Mammograms! NO healthprovider has an in office mammography machine! It's nearly always a referral & usually a woman has to go to a hospital that has those services! What was provided by the funds now cut off, is a mammogram for the woman who could not afford it! Healthcare is still a luxury in this nation & until now the Komen Foundation has funded many of those very necessary services! Thank you to all those who stand w/the Women of this nation, regardless of ethnicity or socioeconomic background, & to those who support PPH!!

    February 1, 2012 at 11:54 pm | Report abuse |
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