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. mmi16

    Komen will no longer get my support.

    February 1, 2012 04:41 am at 4:41 am |
  2. yeap

    Religion has no place in Politics...period. To all my Christians out there who adamantly support this ridiculous decision, please just ask yourself a question: When Jehovah's Witnesses or the Mormons come knocking at your door, what do you say to them? 'I'm not interested', or, 'sorry I don't agree with you', or perhaps a little ruder, ' get the hell off my property'? In fact, you don't even want to why should the rest of us bow down to you? Or agree with your stance? Get out of don't belong there. Women who choose to have abortions are doing so because they can. Its called free will – if there truly is a God like you say, then he/she will judge them accordingly. It is not your place. Besides, Planned Parenthood is NOT just about abortion...but I am pretty sure you already knew that.

    February 1, 2012 04:48 am at 4:48 am |
  3. Motley

    So people donate to Komen for breast cancer,.. and not other things,... some groups that get funding from Komen use it for other things,.. and when Komen says no more funding for other reasons than breast cancer,... some people are now going to hate this worthwhile cause???

    Some cannot see past their own bias,...

    February 1, 2012 05:08 am at 5:08 am |
  4. JAKe

    I wonder how many of the babies who were aborted in the time it took me to write this would have grown up to be women. Who is penalizing woman?

    February 1, 2012 05:17 am at 5:17 am |
  5. debbie

    On both sides of the coin, many contributors for/against abortions probably didn't realize where their contributions went. So you who support abortion would stop supporting Komen simply because some of their money was no longer accessible for abortions? That's a very childish stance. You're going to withhold your donations just because someone disagreed with your pro abortion views? You ladies sound so self-righteous but your own words and actions are chipping away at your pedestals.

    February 1, 2012 05:19 am at 5:19 am |
  6. MDAnby

    Who knew that "Race for the cure" means not only funding for breast cancer research but also unpublicized funding of abortions. I never did like Komen foundation much and now I detest it. Not because I'm anti-abortion, but because they are misrepresenting what they do with the donations. Sounds like the organization is guilty of fraudulent use of charitable funds.

    February 1, 2012 05:22 am at 5:22 am |
  7. Mary

    My sister died of breast cancer. I support at least 3 Komen walks each year in her memory. The Komen Foundation cut funding to one of the top women's health providers in the country? I will no longer support Komen. I will be supporting Planned Parenthood instead.

    February 1, 2012 05:23 am at 5:23 am |
  8. gqbq73

    I cant believe that anyone would believe that any company or organization, profit pr not-for-profit, tells the truth about anything. Especially in this day-in-age. Come on Adults, start acting adult.

    February 1, 2012 05:33 am at 5:33 am |
  9. J R Brown

    Exactly what is wrong with making Planned Parenthood demonstrate how they keep their books so that they prove that none of the billion dollars over the last 3 years goes toward paying for abortions? Komen is right for disassociating themselves from Planned Parenthood...Planned Parenthood is the implementation of eugenics in America.
    More importantly, The Komen Foundation has a responsibility to raise as much money for its cause as possible...being seen as contributing to funding abortion precludes hundreds of millions of conservatives from donating. Breaking ties with PP will open up a vast, untapped resource for donations for THEIR cause. It's not Komen's problem to be Planned Parenthood's golden goose.

    I think it's purely a business decision...while I'm quite certain that irrational pro-abortion hysterics will try to make this about Komen is weak and caves to right wing extremism, which is ridiculous.

    This is Planned Parenthood's fault for not being transparent about how they use revenues for providing abortions vs. health services.

    February 1, 2012 05:35 am at 5:35 am |
  10. Md

    Now i can go back to donating to Komen again

    February 1, 2012 05:37 am at 5:37 am |
  11. Gedwards

    @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!"
    You don't see that your 2nd sentence is also a statement about your 1st?

    February 1, 2012 05:41 am at 5:41 am |
  12. HM

    Stop supporting Komen. Besides, heart disease kills more women than breast cancer every month. Think red, drop pink. Give charitably to causes that really support all women, no matter their religious or political policies. It's too bad that all of the good that Planned Parenthood does is overshadowed by the anti-choicers and their narrow minds. Many of the women who need to go to PP couldn't have yearly cancer screenings or healthcare for routine infections (like UTI's). They provide a great service!

    February 1, 2012 05:41 am at 5:41 am |
  13. JP

    Great to Komen looking out for ALL women even those that haven't been born yet.

    February 1, 2012 05:44 am at 5:44 am |
  14. delmasa

    Gee, I thought Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council was pro-life. Oh, now I remember, his organization is pro-life for the unborn, but anti-life for women already born. I'm extremely disappointed in the Komen Foundation to whom I contributed both time and money. Going forward, my time and money will be moved to Planned Parenthood.

    February 1, 2012 05:57 am at 5:57 am |
  15. cosmicsnoop

    It is entirely clear to me that anti abortion people, (sorry, you are NOT anymore "pro-life" than any one else. What a crock.) are not the most intelligent people walking around on this planet. The ones here that are praising the loss of funds have zero reading comprehension skills. Those funds are not used for abortion, as was clearly stated, but for breast exams. I have found it completely true in my experiences that these people lack all critical thinking skills and just parrot what they are told. My wife is an OB nurse who regularly refers women to Planned Parenthood for all sorts of issues. The office in our town does not do abortions, but there are old, misinformed, sad people out there protesting all the time. I just laugh at these hypocrites whenever I see them.

    February 1, 2012 05:57 am at 5:57 am |
  16. JR

    I guess PP will have to find someone else, maybe Obama, to take up the slack for the lost funds to keep their murdering going.

    February 1, 2012 05:57 am at 5:57 am |
  17. Debbie

    I can't stand the Komen Foundation for other reasons. It is a shameful organization that tried to copyright the color pink and sues any other cancer-fighting organization that uses pink or uses the words "for the cure." Komen is just about making money, not about helping anybody.

    February 1, 2012 05:59 am at 5:59 am |
  18. JR

    Being given a chance to live and MAYBE later die of breast cancer is better than never being given a chance to live.

    February 1, 2012 06:00 am at 6:00 am |
  19. East Coast Stompin'

    Dear Komen – Please reconsider. I understand that with this gov't you must bow to political pressure or get obliterated, but this is a poor decision. No more of my donations will go to Komen!

    February 1, 2012 06:01 am at 6:01 am |
  20. Debbie

    If Planned Parenthood wishes to push the fact that it provides pap smears and other health care for women, it needs to separate its abortion services from its health care services. Abortion is no more health care than boob jobs are. Just because the pro-abortion forces are defining the terms, that doesn't mean their definitions are correct. Abortion is NOT health care.

    February 1, 2012 06:01 am at 6:01 am |
  21. Chach

    There are other great organizzations that provide health care and testing for Women, other than Planned Parenthood in every state. While I understand PP is not just an abortion factory, that is a large part of their business. If they failed to provide the requested information, shame on them. All charitable funding and tax exemptions for groups do require certain audit information and requires info to be provided when requested. If PP failed to provide this info, then they need to take some responsiblity for losing their funding.

    February 1, 2012 06:03 am at 6:03 am |
  22. ckerst

    ISince the Komen foundation has choosen to become political I will no longer donate to them.

    February 1, 2012 06:07 am at 6:07 am |
  23. Jt_flyer

    Good! Mw decided this issue in the 70's. It's decided move on.

    February 1, 2012 06:09 am at 6:09 am |
  24. Karen Shellenberger

    I am a breast cancer survivor- this foundation will get no more contributions from "little ole me."

    February 1, 2012 06:11 am at 6:11 am |
  25. dianebarth

    I am pro-choice, but why is a breast cancer fund supporting a family-planning organization?

    February 1, 2012 06:13 am at 6:13 am |
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