Susan G. Komen drops funding for Planned Parenthood
January 31st, 2012
10:38 PM ET
2 years ago

Susan G. Komen drops funding for Planned Parenthood

(CNN) – The Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation revealed Tuesday it was cutting funds to Planned Parenthood, sparking an outcry from abortion rights advocates blaming “political pressure” and praise from an anti-abortion group.

The major breast cancer research group cut funds to the prominent family planning organization after Planned Parenthood has come under increasing scrutiny from Congress over how it provides abortion services. The Komen Foundation gave few details on the reasons behind the decision, attributing the announcement to "changes in priorities and policies" and the need to "most fully advance [its] mission."

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"It is critical to underscore that the women we serve in communities remain our priority. We are working directly with Komen Affiliates to ensure there is no interruption or gaps in services for women who need breast health screening and services,” the group said in a statement.

The Komen Foundation did not respond to repeated requests for more information about the decision.

Nancy Brinker, the founder and CEO of the Komen Foundation, was a political appointee of the George W. Bush Administration, in which she served as U.S. Ambassador to Hungary and as Chief of Protocol. Susan G. Komen was Brinker's sister.

Planned Parenthood, meanwhile, was clearly disappointed with the foundation's decision.

"We are alarmed and saddened that the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation appears to have succumbed to political pressure. Our greatest desire is for Komen to reconsider this policy and recommit to the partnership on which so many women count," Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood, said in a statement.

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.

The family planning organization announced a recent "emergency fund" from a different group, the Amy and Lee Fikes' Foundation, that will go towards making up for lost funds from Komen. The gift totaled $250,000.

Planned Parenthood said Komen began notifying local affiliates recently that their breast cancer initiatives would not be eligible for new grants. In a statement, the group said the foundation's leadership did not respond to requests to meet with Planned Parenthood officials about the decision.

In September, the House Committee on Energy and Commerce began an investigation of Planned Parenthood over the organization's "compliance with federal restrictions on funding abortions."

In a letter sent to Planed Parenthood, the committee asked the group to provide information on how it segregates family planning from abortion services, as well as its policies on reporting cases of sexual abuse, rape and sex trafficking.

The committee, chaired by Republican Rep. Cliff Stearns, also asked for all internal audit reports from 1998 to 2010.

Funding for Planned Parenthood came under the spotlight in April, when a GOP push to strip $317 million in federal funding for the group failed in an eleventh hour budget deal to avoid a government shutdown.

Reacting to the news Tuesday, Democratic Sen. Patty Murray of Washington pointed to the House investigation as the cause behind Komen's decision, saying in a statement she was "extremely disappointed that politics is once again coming between women and their health care needs."

Democratic Rep. Mike Honda of California also sharply criticized the moved and called on the Komen foundation to reconsider its decision.

"This is just the latest casualty in a misguided and harmful campaign started by House Republicans to demonize the life-saving health services delivered by Planned Parenthood health centers," Honda said in a statement.

But the decision was applauded by some in the anti-abortion community, which has long called for the dismantling of Planned Parenthood.

Tony Perkins, a major social conservative leader who heads the Family Research Council, quickly praised the Komen Foundation's decision Tuesday as “good news” for women seeking help with breast cancer, as well as for the “lives of many unborn babies.”

"Susan G. Komen can chose to stop subsidizing the abortion giant, surely Congress can redirect its resources to those helping women, not making a profit off the lives of unborn children," Perkins said in a statement.

– CNN’s Sara Pratley, Ashley Killough and Dan Merica contributed to this report.


Filed under: Abortion • Congress • Planned Parenthood
soundoff (154 Responses)
  1. Larry Motsinger

    This was a good move that protects women's health from a predator organization

    January 31, 2012 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  2. Shannon

    women across America stop supporting Komen, they don't support all women why should we support them. There are other wonderful organizations that help women with breast cancer, organizations that don't turn their charities into political groups. I'm done giving to this group, and so are other friends and family I called. I wish I could get the money back I alreayd gave. I didn't know I was giving to a right wing political group when I made the donations.

    January 31, 2012 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  3. Debbie

    Time to sink the pink since they represent a religion and not women.

    January 31, 2012 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  4. dootise

    the Susan G. Komen bunch..bursting with hot pink faux optimism..was founded by for-profit cancer centers...Takes money from companies that actually cause breast cancer, and cons gullible women into thinking that more ionizing radiation is good for them. The Susan G. Komen con has never cured any breast cancer ..but it has given lots of money to drug companies like Astra Zeneca..and for-profit mammography businesss. .say the word "cause" to the susan g. komen types and they'll give you the death eye...why? Don't give them a red cent.

    January 31, 2012 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  5. deborah

    I won't support Susan Komen Foundation–my contribution will go to Planned Parenthood. What a cowardly thing to do–and one that penalizes women!

    January 31, 2012 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  6. Betty in VA

    Denying breast cancer screening to poor women is NOT a pro-life decision.

    January 31, 2012 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  7. DoneBroke

    Interesting- I always thought they were for cancer research. How many people in the past donated without realizing they supported abortions also. I think more would be offended by that then they are for not stopping support of abortions.

    January 31, 2012 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  8. DoneBroke

    **for stopping support of abortions.

    January 31, 2012 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  9. Karrie

    wow, really why would an organization that is suppost to be using donations to fght breast cancer donate to planned parenthood in the first place?

    January 31, 2012 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
  10. Katie B from NC

    Well, I just dropped my support for the Susan G. Komen organization. I won't send them another dime as long as they hold this position.

    January 31, 2012 11:17 pm at 11:17 pm |
  11. Lynn

    Komen just lost my support and money. Just adding this to a growing list.

    January 31, 2012 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  12. Dctempleton

    Im so happy to be able to start supporting this cause to save lives without having to worry that my money will be used to end lives.

    January 31, 2012 11:31 pm at 11:31 pm |
  13. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    I wish they would reconsider. The idea that Planned Parenthood only does abortions is just a falicy. Sometimes it is the only health care some women can get. Why cut that off? Because these crazy conservatives don't look at the whole picture and only see what they want.

    January 31, 2012 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
  14. Wvazoe

    I agree with and support all you ladies that wrote these posts.

    January 31, 2012 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  15. Nick

    @Karrie

    Because Planned Parenthood provides a lot of health services for women, including breast cancer screenings.

    January 31, 2012 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
  16. CC

    Planned Parenthood provides health services for women–pap smears, mamograms, other cancer screenings–to women who can't afford it otherwise. Karrie, are you opposed to that?

    January 31, 2012 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  17. Michelle

    Planned Parenthood is much more than abortions, through the screenings offered at Planned Parenthood I know two women that were diagnosed with cancer-young women 32 and 35 years old. Had they not have been screened the cancer would not have been caught at stage one!

    I know I used Planned Parenthood when I was in college and did not have the funds to see a private doctor for my annual checkups.

    January 31, 2012 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  18. Ari

    People who are against abortions obviously don't know how hard it is on teenage girls to raise a child.... I made the decision with the help of planned parenthood to have mine and it was the best decision I ever made. I was able to graduate from high school and now I'm on track to graduate from sac state to become an educator. People say that abortions are wrong and that you should give a child up for adoption instead. Giving birth to a child and giving them away is far worse then not bringing them into this world at all, not everyone adopts, and not everyone has stability to raise a child at all. If people are so concerned about children why bring them into this world to suffer. Women should have a choice teens should have a choice. Susan g koman is making a mistake by not supporting planned parenthood...

    January 31, 2012 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  19. Mern

    Have always supported Koman...no more!

    February 1, 2012 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  20. Marconi314

    How awesome is this! Way to go Komen!
    Planned Parenthood is an organization of ill repute that helped put to death 330,000 children JUST LAST YEAR! During Obama's term they have helped (and have profited from) putting to death over 1 MILLION children. You don't travel to other places around the world to see horrific genocide taking place. It's taking place at every Planned Parenthood fascility around the country. It's so, so sad. So many innocent children have died from this plague we call abortion.

    February 1, 2012 12:06 am at 12:06 am |
  21. PS

    I hope no one ever has another abortion – however – I believe that this issue and the fight against cancer are separate issues and should not be confused. Unfortunately the issues are being confused. I believe that all life is of value. Denying care needed to catch cancers at a treatable stage is in effect the senseless murder of women. No one knows when life actually begins but I do know that a WOMAN seeking medical attention is ALIVE without question. I hope that no one ever has another abortion but I also hope no who could have been saved dies for lack of timely treatment.

    February 1, 2012 12:07 am at 12:07 am |
  22. pb

    I would never donate to the Susan Komen "Charity". It has become a political pawn. To see how much of actual donations go to cancer research, etc., one should research their history and filings. They have races everywhere and all the time across the country. They are totally commercial and political now and people will hopefully, stop subsidizing them and their outrageous luxurious salaries and administrative fees.

    February 1, 2012 12:08 am at 12:08 am |
  23. Verap

    Planned Parenthood needs over 700K to make up the shortfall for health services (like breast cancer screening) for poor women! Do remember them when considering your donations. Also, an organization that is a wonderful alternative to Komen is Breast Cancer Action: http://bcaction.org/ They don't waste time covering bridges with pink lights or getting the Energizer Bunny's endorsement; they fund research. They fund research on environmental carcinogens (including some produced by SGK's biggest donors) and also on how to manage cancer when it occurs in order to reduce fatality.

    February 1, 2012 12:09 am at 12:09 am |
  24. Joy

    I guess the Susan Komen Foundation is only concerned with fighting breast cancer for rich women. Speaking as a woman currently in treatment for breast cancer who didn't have health insurance, it was a low income clinic -supported in part through Planned Parenthood -that did my screening. Planned Parenthood does NOT provide abortions – so prolife or not, this is just a political grandstand. I WILL be telling all the people who love me, and want to do those races etc, to NOT PARTICIPATE in things they sponsor. They only care about the rich.

    February 1, 2012 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  25. fernace

    Once again Republican rhetoric show us what they think about womens healthcare! It's clear that affordable healthcare for women is not now or ever going to be an important issue, let alone priority! I will never again wear the pink ribbon or think of the Komen organisation as helpful to women! Cutting off funding to those who need it most is unconscionable!!

    February 1, 2012 12:19 am at 12:19 am |
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