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

    Maybe if Planned Parenthood would stop abortions and killing babies..The Susan G.Komen move would give donations again..But again..under this idiot president and democrat controlled senate..They are just liars..They don't care about you !! They just want to control you..C'mon ladies WAKE UP!!! Geesh!!

    February 1, 2012 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  2. Sheila

    As a breast surgeon I am appalled at the lack of foresight and narrowmindedness this decision displays. I will no longer support the Foundation.

    February 1, 2012 12:38 am at 12:38 am |
  3. SafeJourney

    Wow, what an anti-woman thing to do Susan B. Koman. You do know Planned Parenthood supplies cancer screening for Poor Women. DONT YOU???

    February 1, 2012 12:40 am at 12:40 am |
  4. michaelam

    I underwent a breast biopsy a few years ago. Thankfully, my health care providers found nothing serious. Women over forty or those younger who have a familial history of breast disease MUST have a mammogram once a year. I always admired the Susan B. Komen Foundation for encouraging and helping women obtain the care they need. Having said that, I will no longer give one cent to the Foundation and will discourage friends and family members from participating in the Foundation's yearly Race for the Cure until they reconsider their position.

    Planned Parenthood is NOT synonymous with abortion. The organization provides other services, including mammograms, pap smears, and other services to women (AND MEN!!!!) who cannot go to a private doctor. Furthermore, the cost for these services is a fraction of what a private physician or a hospital would charge!

    It is beyond time to take the politics and religious views out of women"s health care!

    February 1, 2012 12:52 am at 12:52 am |
  5. Joshua

    Why would you stop funding Susan G. Komen simply because they no longer fund Planned Parenthood? I am guessing that you did not fund them in the first place because they supported Planned Parenthood? They are still doing the same, great work you say you used to support them for, that is, helping women fight and overcome breast cancer. They have not endorsed the Republicans nor the Democrats nor some Independent party with this move, hence, how can it be seen as political? May you rest well knowing the money you donated still supports the cause you donated it for, FIGHTING BREAST CANCER.

    February 1, 2012 01:00 am at 1:00 am |
  6. Emily

    Newsflash: Planned Parenthood has NEVER provided mammograms.

    And for that reason, I've never donated to Komen...until now.

    I'm happy now that I can race for the cure and other such things without a moral dilemma.

    If Planned Parenthood doesn't provide mammograms or breast cancer services (their screenings are the same kind that can be self-administered) why were they getting money in the first place?

    Way to go Komen. That's a LOVELY dose of logic. 🙂

    February 1, 2012 01:05 am at 1:05 am |
  7. Tammy Lambert, Arizona

    There are many articles about the Komen foundation and how its become a huge money machine. They are linked to the drug companies, research industries, fringe corporations . If a cancer cure is revealed the flow of donations and money will stop. Crooks are benefiting from this Komen pink ribbon SCAM. Looks like the political ties are revealing themselves now as well. This is one of the grandest SCAMS ever.

    February 1, 2012 01:57 am at 1:57 am |
  8. Ky

    I will never buy another pink ribbon.

    February 1, 2012 02:12 am at 2:12 am |
  9. Tati

    Newsflash ladies: You're local family Dr. performs abortions. So, it's ok for them to treat all issues concerning their patients, but Planned Parenthood is not? I think too many people just want a bandwagon to jump on, so they go along believing only part of a story, or a complete and outright lie.

    February 1, 2012 02:55 am at 2:55 am |
  10. Ed

    I'd like to say I'm amazed at the controversy, but I'm not. Poke anywhere near either side of the political spectrum and you'll hear howls whether or not they are logical.

    Susan G. Koman Foundation's mantra mission is "for the cure." Look it up. People donate and participate to help find a cure. They don't donate expecting SGKF will turn around and spend the money on a wide variety of women's health issues; they donate to help find a cure. I'd bet many aren't surprised that the funding to Planned Parenthood is ending - they are (as I am) surprised to find the funding was happening in the first place.

    Planned Parenthood does many wonderful things. But it also does controversial things that are not related to finding a cure for breast cancer. Not only do they perform abortions, they are a major advocate of abortion rights and spend lots of money on that. But, in the end, it really doesn't matter whether you support or don't support those controversial programs - those programs are not focused on finding a cure for breast cancer.

    Now, there are lots of places SGKF could spend the money people donate TO FIND A CURE. Why should they invest the money in an entity that is not spending it for that purpose?

    February 1, 2012 03:00 am at 3:00 am |
  11. patweazle

    I'm sad to announce that effective immediately my family will no longer be able to attend their annual races. I will instead donate the money to Planned Parenthood.

    February 1, 2012 03:34 am at 3:34 am |
  12. house

    komen's contribution to relieve population control

    February 1, 2012 03:39 am at 3:39 am |
  13. dd

    time to stop supporting komen. not one more dime.

    February 1, 2012 03:47 am at 3:47 am |
  14. SB

    @DoneBroke, and anyone else who didn't actually read the article:

    "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. "

    Planned Parenthood provides all manner of women's health services.

    February 1, 2012 03:52 am at 3:52 am |
  15. Andrew Noronha

    To think the founding fathers took all the trouble of ensuring that religion and politics were kept apart, just for the next generations to come along and muck it up. Do you remember when this nation was great? I came here chasing the American Dream, and now realized that it was just that- a dream. Religion is bringing this country down, fast.

    February 1, 2012 03:52 am at 3:52 am |
  16. Dennis

    Politics in medicine is almost always bad. PP is a worthy organization. The republican establishment does not care about the poor who rely on the services offered by PP. I will double my support of PP. Let the Dr. & the woman make the decision–not the politican! The "right to lifers" will cause more harm to the poor & working poor women as they gain politcal power. Sad.

    February 1, 2012 03:53 am at 3:53 am |
  17. Daguz

    Planned Parenthood offers many great services to women....that is why Komen supported and donated to Planned Parenthood.
    Anyone talking about how Planned Parenthood kills children should find the tallest cliff. Or once in their life should work hard and get their facts.

    February 1, 2012 03:54 am at 3:54 am |
  18. paulbark

    As the article points out, losing the funding from the Komen Foundation means Planned Parenthood will not be able to provide low-cost (or free) breast exams for women who can't afford it. People who want Planned Parenthood to continue to be able to subsidize that care should donate money directly to Planned Parenthood instead of to the Komen Foundation.

    February 1, 2012 04:03 am at 4:03 am |
  19. Mike H.

    So we again choose to turn women's health into a singular pro-life/pro-choice issue. Great. I wish those who fight so hard opposing abortion rights would labor just has hard for the benefit of those babies living among us who are in dire need of food, shelter and love. Instead - and I'll call out Republicans on this - they wish to curb food programs, healthcare, education and whatever else they can think of.

    Republicans are pro-life? Think again!

    February 1, 2012 04:08 am at 4:08 am |
  20. Steph

    I've been laid of for a while. If it weren't for planned parent hood i would not be able to afford my yearly exam or birth control. I have never had an abortion. But i have recieved services and medicine and health care for free from caring people. Whenever people automaticly say planned parent hood= abortion it makes me angry. They do so much more than that vital health screenings and medicines and education that some women ( and men ) would not be able to afford otherwise. Shame on the Koman foundation. I don't agree with abortion either, but i won't stop some woman with no where to go or who was assaulted from being able to make a choice. And i an beyond grateful for the service planned parenthood provides.

    February 1, 2012 04:12 am at 4:12 am |
  21. Phil

    Then I stop supporting Komen.

    February 1, 2012 04:15 am at 4:15 am |
  22. RC

    I stopped giving to Komen due to their support of Planned Parenthood. I can now start donating again.
    It is sad that some women may have a problem getting health care due to this decision but it would be best to separate funding of routine health screenings from funding abortions if PP is really concerned about that issue.

    February 1, 2012 04:23 am at 4:23 am |
  23. stan

    if planned parenthood was truly interested in providing health care women NEED, women who cant afford it, then they could very simply spin off the abortion mill branch and provide health care services to those who need it. there is no logical reason why the two need to stay bundled – other than to finance abortion on the sly.

    February 1, 2012 04:35 am at 4:35 am |
  24. KomenSchmomen

    Oh I stopped giving to Komen when I found out they were suing all other cancer awareness/research/support groups using the words "run for the cure" or "for the cure" whenever they had an event. This includes small little towns that are just trying to raise awareness and the runners are all cancer survivors and family. Well, if these runs are for a cure what the heck else wording are they supposed to use? It's a run, and it's for a cure.
    Komen has become a business, a greedy business, rather than a foundation. Interesting to see they are using donated money to fund their lawsuits.

    February 1, 2012 04:36 am at 4:36 am |
  25. nick

    Reproduction and especially abortion are nobody's business but that of the people involved. Anyone who tries to make political capital of moral issues is a cynic and opportunist of the worst kind. Unfortunately, the conflation of the moral, social, political and monetary is the America we've made for ourselves, and individual women's rights are the rope in the tug-of-war between the misanthropes making the decisions.

    February 1, 2012 04:37 am at 4:37 am |
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