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. Gimmeabreak

    Please let me know when Planned Parenthood will be sponsoring a walk so I can sign up! The Susan G. Komen Foundation can take a hike...by themselves.

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

    Men did not allow the Equal Rights Amendment to pass in the 1970s. Men are allowed to walk out on their wives and families, and women cannot earn enough to feed a family. Women know this; if they think for one second that a man will not support his children in the future, she might consider an abortion. I am personally against abortion, but I would never tell another woman what to do if she faces a choice between starvation of her future children and abortion.

    Now about breast cancer: Cancer is often not diagnosed in poor people, because the poor in America do not have wellness exams. Those "$25" co-pays are too much if your monthly budget is tight. Men may not realize just how tight a budget can get. We do not have universal health care; the new health care bill was written by and for insurance companies. Some people have the nerve to call it "Obamacare," but President Obama was visiting Russia during the healthcare hearings in Congress, and it was Congress who "wrote" the bill with lots of "help" from the insurance lobbyists. There was little publicity into what the bill would do or wouldn't do; for example, what will happen to Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security? I'm asking because it is relevant to any woman that needs healthcare, now or in the future. Men live in the now; women must plan for the future because it takes eighteen years for a child to grow up. So, what will happen because of this healthcare bill? Will poor women be treated? I don't think so; this is only another form of health insurance, and the poor still won't be able to pay for it. So we still will need Planned Parenthood.

    February 2, 2012 at 12:01 am | Report abuse |
  3. fernace

    @Josh in Fl. Until the child grows in your body , you're just gonna have to suck it up! Don't talk to women about unfairness! It's unfair that the man can just walk away w/out a 2nd thought about the child he's created, it's unfair that a man Expects the woman to provide birthcontrol because he "hates" con.doms, it's unfair that the government is constantly trying to legislate womens uterine rights! You seem like a responsible individual, who genuinely cares about your part in the conception process! Your gripes must go to the government, they're the 1s putting snowtires on only 1 side of the car! But be careful what you wish for lest your balls become even more legislative fodder!!

    February 2, 2012 at 12:09 am | Report abuse |
  4. Marilyn

    I am very disappointed with the Susan G Komen decision! So I contacted the Susan G komen and left a message, nothing nasty just stated how disappointed I am that there organization is being influence by politics. I also donated $25 dollars on there website and signed up for a petition. Please sign up also http://womenarewatching.org/

    February 2, 2012 at 12:10 am | Report abuse |
  5. John

    What a ridiculous decision. If they are responding to pressure from the Right to Life extremists they shouldn't be using the excuse that they did it because of an phony "investigation" by a right wing congressman..

    February 2, 2012 at 12:13 am | Report abuse |
  6. Tom

    Finally a group whose cause I can support. I am signing up for their next fundraiser.

    February 2, 2012 at 12:13 am | Report abuse |
  7. Will

    SGC is a charity, but a business too. Imagine how much those national audience television commercials cost. So they take your donations and spend millions on a tv campaign. Charities only have to give a small percentage to where they say it is going. There will never be a cure for cancer anyway. The cure is in preventing it.

    February 2, 2012 at 12:14 am | Report abuse |
  8. fernace

    @ Scottish Mama, Word g-friend!!

    February 2, 2012 at 12:16 am | Report abuse |
  9. banasy ©

    What I find hypocritical are the people who are so against a woman having an abortion are the same people who b!tch about a welfare mama...

    February 2, 2012 at 12:19 am | Report abuse |
    • Shane

      Maybe people should make better decisions to start with!!!

      February 2, 2012 at 1:17 am | Report abuse |
    • Jj

      Yea I remember this. they posed as pimps. And wanted to get their hose abortions! Advocating abortions as a way of eliminating life as a result of prostitution?!They purposely tried to skirt a number of laws and now were just supposed to forget about it? Mama i believe in making the right dicisions in the first place. Why make excuses for bad decisions. Personal accountability is out of the realm of thought now a days apparently

      February 2, 2012 at 1:31 am | Report abuse |
    • NorCalMojo

      What I find hypocritical is the people who support a woman's right to choose don't support the same right for men.

      They support choice for women, but DNA tests and court ordered child support for men.

      February 2, 2012 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
  10. Bullard

    I will say this: niether me nor any of my friends will give 5 cents to the Komen Foundation after this. What we would have given to support "The Race for the Cure" will now go to Planned Parenthood.

    February 2, 2012 at 12:20 am | Report abuse |
    • Jean Q

      WIth you on this one. No more money to the pink ribbon. Have lately been overwhelmed with the pink ribbon on all sorts of products known to cause obesity that can lead to cancer. And, now, this? The pink ribbon has become a marketing tool, it's a brand. And have been done with never ending requests for this pink ribbon walk or run or whatever funding for awhile. Time to give some attention to other social issues – like education, poverty. lack of general health care. I think we've given enough to this subject for awhile.

      February 2, 2012 at 1:12 am | Report abuse |
    • NorCalMojo

      Key word here is "would". The people who are pressuring organizations to drop PP "do" make donations.

      February 2, 2012 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Jennifer

    I for one thank Susan G Komen. This decision has done for Planned Parenthood what they never could afford to do for themselves. They put SGK's flashy $100 million marketing budget to work. Now, every woman in America knows about Planned Parenthood. They may not sponsor races, and you may not see their logo on a plastic yogurt cup, but now you know that besides providing the constitutional right to choice, they also provide breast cancer screenings for women that cannot afford it. Thank you Susan G Komen. Thank you for masterfully spinning your marketing prowess, and gracefully and selflessly directing our charitable dollars to Planned Parenthood. Since you obviously have more than enough money and political leverage, you've helped open our eyes to those that don't. My check reads: Planned Parenthood.

    February 2, 2012 at 12:30 am | Report abuse |
  12. Sam

    "My body, my decision!" Apparently anyone who has ever uttered this line hasn't heard about laws preventing the use of illegal drugs, wearing seatbelts, and assisted suicides. Just because you can do it, doesn't make it right.

    February 2, 2012 at 12:34 am | Report abuse |
    • Alison

      BUT I can control my own body if it's not hurting me or adding to the drug trade where people are getting killed. Give money to Planned Parenthood, support school programs that aren't abstinence-only, teach girls and boys about the evils of rape, and allow all women to have affordable or free contraception and the need for abortions will plummet! Yaaayyyyy!!!

      February 2, 2012 at 12:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Alison

      While I do believe in wearing seatbelts, don't believe in suicide, and would never support the drug trade not only for the effects on my body but because of the people who are killed every day for it, I still think abortion will be necessary until we change our culture. Don't want abortion? Support Planned Parenthood, support school programs that AREN'T abstinence-only, create a culture that is against violence and rape against any gender, and support a woman's right to birth control. Smart, eh?

      February 2, 2012 at 12:50 am | Report abuse |
    • Robin

      Drugs, not wearing seatbelts, and assisted suicide is ILLEGAL. Abortion is LEGAL. Your argument makes absolutely NO SENSE.

      February 2, 2012 at 12:55 am | Report abuse |
    • BambooGirl

      Hey Sam...could you tell that to the right-wing GUN and HUNTING enthusiasts? They never got the memo.

      February 2, 2012 at 1:14 am | Report abuse |
    • Shane

      His arguement makes total sence. There are law that keep you from hurting your self, so "my body, my decision" makes is kinda retarted

      February 2, 2012 at 1:20 am | Report abuse |
    • banasy ©

      Why not, Nate? That’s EXACTLY what happens with pro-choicers…

      February 2, 2012 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Patricia

    Such cowardice in the face of uninformed rant by the religious rightwing. Heat is not light and noise is not leadership. Shame!

    February 2, 2012 at 12:35 am | Report abuse |
  14. Betty

    I don't support S.G. Komen. I will pass up the items that have the little pink ribbon as I am sick of all the support for breast cancer and lack of support for other cancers. We need to put more money into prolonging the lives of those with less treatable cancers. I won't support an organization that murders, regardless of any other "good" things they may do. Murder is murder!!! I am happy to hear that Susan G. Komen is taking a stance against an organization that hides their murders behind "helping women"

    February 2, 2012 at 12:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Alison

      Murders? Really? Heaven forbid you should ever have a loved one who needs an abortion to save their life. What craziness you posses!

      February 2, 2012 at 12:48 am | Report abuse |
    • BambooGirl

      Funny how all you pro-"life" advocates didn't do anything but cheer during the rev-up for the Iraq invasion, you're completely absent from the death penalty debate, and you don't utter a SOUND when the 2nd amendment crazies who rant to protect guns but never all the KIDS in this country who are killed by them. Pro-life...lol garbage.

      February 2, 2012 at 1:20 am | Report abuse |
    • John

      Save their life? In that case, I could accept.it, as could a lot of pro-life people. But let's be honest: most of them are to save lifestyles. The woman isn't done clubbing yet or wants a career first and so she gets an abortion. The whole argument of "right to choose" annoys me because, in all cases but rape and incest, a woman did choose. She chose to take the risk of a baby and it backfired. And the "It's my body, so it's my choice" argument is fallacious by definition because it says, in essence, you have no right to tell me what to do with my body, yet fails to take into account that the woman making it is destroying the body of someone else. One of my friends just found out he'll be a father for the first time. At six weeks, there's a heartbeat, brain waves, and a distinct human shape. That's a little person in there, not some inconvenience to be destroyed.

      February 2, 2012 at 1:31 am | Report abuse |
    • Nate

      Allison – The vast majority of abortions in this country are elective – abortions to save the life of the mother are actually pretty rare. Moreover, most lifesaving abortions are performed in hospitals, not at Planned Parenthood. I find it completely reasonable that Komen foundation doesn't find it consistent with it's mission to help fund elective abortions (and yes, money is completely fungible, so money given to PP for breast exams does indirectly fund the provision of abortions)

      BambooGirl – I agree that's it's complete hypocrisy to be "pro-life" on the issue of abortion while simultaneously being pro-war, pro-death penalty, etc. However, there are also millions of people in this country (probably the majority of Catholics, for instance) who are consistently pro-life: anti-abortion, anti-war, anti-death penalty, anti-poverty, etc. Please don't lump all pro-life individuals together.

      February 2, 2012 at 1:36 am | Report abuse |
  15. Bob

    Komen foundation was never about breast cancer, it was always about high-paid administrators. They'd be screwed if a cure for breast cancer was discovered. That's the LAST thing they want.

    February 2, 2012 at 12:39 am | Report abuse |
    • Gayle

      Thank you Bob well said

      February 2, 2012 at 1:19 am | Report abuse |
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