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. DB

    Komen has certainly lost my support. I'll be directing the money I used to donate to Komen directly to Planned Parenthood and other worthy organizations instead.

    It's amazing how uninformed some people commenting here are. How can they not know about all the health services Planned Parenthood provides to women who otherwise would not be able to have annual gyn exams, Pap tests, birth control and breast exams? Those who think that Planned Parenthood is primarily an abortion provider are sadly getting their information from sources with a political/religious agenda.

    February 1, 2012 06:15 am at 6:15 am |
  2. lotus_65

    it's terrible that this organization has chosen to *change* their policy in order to support a loud and socially judgmental position that represents less than 20% of america.
    it's complete nonsense, and can not be supported by anyone who has the conscience to accept another's circumstances (not to mention the law of the land) that might draw them to the unfortunate and difficult decisions about their own life and health.
    they changed their policy in response to political pressure... that says a lot about their ethos!

    February 1, 2012 06:17 am at 6:17 am |
  3. mojcrt

    Well, Susan G. Komen just lost my funding and support.

    February 1, 2012 06:21 am at 6:21 am |
  4. Mike1949

    Planned Parenthood has always gotten support money from us when we could afford it. Problem is what the Republicans are doing to this country, charity is at the bottom of my financial priorities.

    February 1, 2012 06:24 am at 6:24 am |
  5. hoosierjulie

    I'm on board with most of these comments, too – have already written the Susan G. Komen organization to withdraw all future support. It was already kind of a racket (pink hand tools, really?) but having had breast cancer, I saw it as an effective and open-hearted endeavor, worthy of support and respect. This decision is a bad misstep, and should result in a public relations catastrophe.

    February 1, 2012 06:24 am at 6:24 am |
  6. L Myers

    I 've walked since the inception. No More. I'll donate the money to Planned parenthood,w here it will be used for ALL women. I am no longer a donor. What a stupid political decision from an organization that claims to be pro women.

    February 1, 2012 06:25 am at 6:25 am |
  7. not_Republican_anymore

    Anyone who calls themselves "pro-life" and then makes a decision that deliberately stops women from getting needed cancer screenings has just proven to me that they are pro-life mostly for the baby-to-be and care more about women as vessels for pregnancies than they do for any woman's health. Shocked, disappointed, and will never donate to another pink ribbon campaign.

    February 1, 2012 06:25 am at 6:25 am |
  8. Tr1Xen

    Give me a small break here, please, FRC. Planned Parenthood is NOT "making a profit off the lives of unborn children." They are a nonprofit organization that offers, among other reproductive health services, opportunities for young women to make the perfectly legal decision to have an abortion professionally carried out by a doctor when they might not have otherwise been able to afford it. Rent a clue.

    February 1, 2012 06:31 am at 6:31 am |
  9. Terry

    Bad move. We will not be donating anything to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation this year, or in the future. My wife will be on the phone shortly, planning to pull her group's support and participation from local and national events. This was a poor decision that will cost the foundation millions going forward.

    February 1, 2012 06:34 am at 6:34 am |
  10. Truth

    Planned Parenthood may have used the money for screenings but then they had more money for abortions...let them get private money from those who are for abortions. Susan's money is TO FIND A CURE.....let the money go for that.

    February 1, 2012 06:34 am at 6:34 am |
  11. Me

    Doesn't mean jack if Planned Parenthood does all kinds of other services. They still support the murdering of babies to protect the social lives of women. Great choice Komen, I support you 100%..

    February 1, 2012 06:36 am at 6:36 am |
  12. Ando

    Why would Komen give money to planned parenthood in the first place? Sure, planned parenthood does stuff besides abort babies, but so do a lot of other organizations that don't abort babies at all. Komen's money is better served by going to an organization that isn't so morally "liberal."

    February 1, 2012 06:39 am at 6:39 am |
  13. Ando

    Why we are at it, why not cut off the half billion the Feds give to PP seeing as how we are aready a trillion in the hole for the 2012 budget?

    February 1, 2012 06:42 am at 6:42 am |
  14. jane doe

    Susan G. Komen foundation will no longer receive any donations from me. That includes participating in any "race for the cure" events or "relay for life"'. Planned Parenthood provides many health services to women that may not be able to afford it. What is sad is that now many women will go without pap smears, which is one of the earliest ways to detect ovarian cancer. Kinda seems backwards to me.

    February 1, 2012 06:44 am at 6:44 am |
  15. T'sah From Virginia

    The "death penalty" is murder and the majority of Republicans believe in it wholeheartedly!!! Keep your hands off of my body and allow me to make my own decisions about it. I truly do not believe in abortions, but I do not have the RIGHT to force others to follow my beliefs; it's their bodies.

    Just like RELIGION – keep my privacy and my personal rights out of politics!!! It's about the economy and Jobs, stupid!!

    Obama 2012!!

    February 1, 2012 06:44 am at 6:44 am |
  16. Mike D

    One more step toward back-alley abortions with wire hangers. Oh! You people thought you were stopping "abortions"? No, your just stopping the kind that don't kill or permanently scare the mother.

    February 1, 2012 06:47 am at 6:47 am |
  17. Athur

    Planned Parenthood does other things but throws the baby out with the bathwater. Considering that breastfeeding is associated with reduced risk of breast cancer, it seems appropriate. I'll don't to the Komen foundations now.

    February 1, 2012 06:52 am at 6:52 am |
  18. Troy

    You got to love how people defend PP for the "saving life" work they do all while taking life in another room down the hall. Susan G. Komen will gain far more in donations than they lose.

    February 1, 2012 06:53 am at 6:53 am |
  19. Patricia

    What cowardice to cave to the pressures of the right wing, a group more apparent than real, whose heat does not equal light and noise does not equal leadership

    February 1, 2012 06:55 am at 6:55 am |
  20. Andy

    We will support the Koman Foundation all the more, now. This was a very good move.

    February 1, 2012 06:56 am at 6:56 am |
  21. Jeff

    Susan G. Komen for the Cure – a shill for the Republican party. Such a shame that women's health care is still a political football. There are many other cancer research groups (American Cancer Society for one) that one can send their contributions to for cancer research.

    February 1, 2012 06:58 am at 6:58 am |
  22. SS

    I will no longer support this charity. Planned Parenthood was a lifesaver for me when I needed regular pap smears and couldn't afford them. I imagine the same is true for women who need mammograms. Shame on them.

    February 1, 2012 07:01 am at 7:01 am |
  23. Nvakathy

    PP is an abortion mill. Women do not go there for mammograms or other preventative medical needs. You get birth control and abortions there. Someone tell me the name of one person they know that has had a mammo there? Other health centers provide services to women who need them, not pp. it's a big fat lie.

    February 1, 2012 07:01 am at 7:01 am |
  24. Truth

    use the government money for abortions and Susan G. Koman's money to find a cure. I donate to Susan heavily every year and didn't know that some of my money went for Planned Parenthood...I was not happy to hear that.

    February 1, 2012 07:03 am at 7:03 am |
  25. Sashatree

    I will no longer support Komen. Instead, I'll be adding what I used to donate to them and giving it directly to Planned Parenthood – one of the most vital and respected organizations there is. SHAME on the cowards at Komen. Really BAD decision that they will suffer for with drastic decreases in their fund raising efforts.

    February 1, 2012 07:03 am at 7:03 am |
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