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. Josh

    I don't know anyone personally who's received a breast cancer screening directly from Susan G. Komen, though they're constantly hitting me up for money. Show of hands? On the other hand, I do know dozens of people, male and female, who received cancer screenings from Planned Parenthood. I guess my donation is now going directly to to PP.

    February 1, 2012 07:05 am at 7:05 am |
  2. Jim

    Only about 3% of Planned Parenthood's budget has anything to do with abortion and 90% of their clients aren't seeking abortions. The provide all sorts of women's health and reproductive services. Komen was supporting their breast cancer screening programs, which last I checked was Komen's mission. I think it might be best for those of us who support the mission of both organizations, to direct at least some of the money we would have given to a Komen event to Planned Parenthood directly. I admit I have never given a dime to Planned Parenthood before, but I just wrote them my first check!

    February 1, 2012 07:06 am at 7:06 am |
  3. LJ

    I know this is REALLY hard for some of you to understand, but Planned Parenthood does more than abortions. Kinda like how your Wal-Mart is a one-stop shop, that's what Planned Parenthood is for women's health.

    February 1, 2012 07:08 am at 7:08 am |
  4. Tom Legare

    Duh, if a Breast Cancer awareness organization does not provide funds for breast exams and potentially life saving procedures what good are they?? Oh I guess they donate it to right wing political campaigns who want to go back to the stone age!!

    February 1, 2012 07:08 am at 7:08 am |
  5. crabman

    this is what happens when government controls your life ---- ENJOY

    February 1, 2012 07:08 am at 7:08 am |
  6. Tom Legare

    Also, there goes my support for the Susan Komen foundation!! It will go straight to Planned Parenthood now!

    February 1, 2012 07:09 am at 7:09 am |
  7. Callie

    My support will go to Planned Parenthood. I know politics plays into all of this and I am disappointed but not surprised that some people place the health and choice of women well below the value of their own political future.

    February 1, 2012 07:11 am at 7:11 am |
  8. Jules

    As someone who has participated in the Koman 3 Day Walk for the Cure and raised a considerable amount of money for them, I will have to rethink my contributions if they cannot support GYN exams, including mammograms for the poor women of this country. They are bending to the will of a few and they are not doing the right thing by the women of America.

    February 1, 2012 07:11 am at 7:11 am |
  9. Follow the money

    While stopping individual donations is a start, the key is to pressure all of the corporations who support Komen thinking they were supporting womens health. Starting with breast exams is a very good first step to reducing breast cancer. Follow the money and pick on the corporations, airlines, etc that have been duped into supporting this.

    February 1, 2012 07:17 am at 7:17 am |
  10. urouttolunch

    Some 25 years ago, our local United Way was taken over by the radical right and they threw Planned Parenthood out of the organization. I haven't given another dime to United Way since then – the money they would have gotten goes straight to Planned Parenthood. Looks like Susan G. Komen is joining my list of "stealth" supporters of Planned Parenthood.

    February 1, 2012 07:18 am at 7:18 am |
  11. Jacquie

    I won't be sending Komen any money either. It now goes to Planned Parenthood. This is the reason we nee to vote out the Teavangel-aban.

    February 1, 2012 07:19 am at 7:19 am |
  12. Stacy Robin

    Planned Parenthood provides health services to women. It doesn't pick and choose what it provides based on the beliefs of the people running it. It provides all legally available services. Isn't that the kind of organization that should be supported? Why should the beliefs of some dictate what is available to all? Shame on Komen.

    February 1, 2012 07:20 am at 7:20 am |
  13. Steve

    We as a nation should be afraid. Religious ideology from the right is holding sway over our every lives; we seem more than ever to be going backwards in time in ways which the majority of Americans are going to quickly find is counter to the freedoms we've worked so hard toward and for for so many decades. All of this is brought to you courtesy of extremist members of the GOP whose efforts are impacting organizations like Komen and and the great things they do or have done to advance women's health and their right to choice.

    2012 needs to be the time when the apathetic voters in America awaken. Our inability to pay attention led to the GOP takeover of Congress and their victory in elections nationwide. These four years of obstructionist governing might be okay if there was balance and the needs of the majority truly was in mind but as we've seen that is not the case. The agenda is radical; the interest is not in the majority of Americans instead, lining the pockets of the rich, implementing conservative ideals and not allowing the President to do his job are highlights of this Congress. We must all vote for change in 2012 – change to a Congress gone terribly awry.

    February 1, 2012 07:20 am at 7:20 am |
  14. Proud

    "unborn babies" and "unborn children" are only potential life. Actual life begins at birth. Of course, registered Republicans probably think that Aristotle is the guy who runs the Greek diner in the next town.

    Support abortion rights and cut off funding to Komen until they realize that pink is more important than red.

    February 1, 2012 07:23 am at 7:23 am |
  15. Frank!

    Well, I guess the Susan Komen Foundation is off my list for donations for a while.

    February 1, 2012 07:24 am at 7:24 am |
  16. mag

    I support The Susan G. Komen more than ever .

    February 1, 2012 07:24 am at 7:24 am |
  17. MarkinFL

    What do you expect when almost a third of this country supports the idea that women should be required to have children with any man that can overpower her.

    February 1, 2012 07:26 am at 7:26 am |
  18. Doctah

    Figures a Republican is heading this up. Abortion is legal, not going to change. Planned Parenthood is an excellent organization. If everyone who is against abortion adopt all of the foster and unwanted children being born, then I will agree with them.

    @Karrie: They probably provide supplies and costs for people who can't afford breast cancer screenings.

    February 1, 2012 07:27 am at 7:27 am |
  19. Amy

    When I was in my late teens and early 20's (in college), I went to Planned Parenthood for my annual exam. I couldn't afford to go to an Ob-Gyn practice. I had my breast exams, pap smears, and birth control prescription from PP. I graduated college, met my husband a few years later, and have been married (happily?) for over 20 years. My daughter is a freshman in college and my son a jr. in h.s. My life wouldn't be what it is had I not had the resources of PP. I likely would've ended up pregnant, college drop-out, and on welfare. BTW – I NEVER had an abortion. Their name should tell anyone with half a brain what their objective is: PLANNED parenthood.

    February 1, 2012 07:27 am at 7:27 am |
  20. Mary

    Great decision SGK! Now you are really supporting women! You will get my money now.

    February 1, 2012 07:27 am at 7:27 am |
  21. ckelley116

    @DoneBroke – you're aware that Planned Parenthood does more than perform abortions, right? Or are you one of those poor brainwashed little people who actually believed Paul Ryan and his ilk when they claimed that 97% of what Planned Parenthood does is abortion, when the actual number is around 3%? They do breast cancer screenings – at least I know I get one every year when I go there for my annual exam. (If, of course, I read your comment correctly – it's so poorly written that I wasn't positive WHAT you were saying, but I think I got it after reading it 11 times.)

    February 1, 2012 07:29 am at 7:29 am |
  22. GAK

    Isn't interesting that most of the conservative groups that are calling for funding to stop going to Palnned Parent Hood are headed by MEN!! That the one's calling for(witch hunt) investigations in Congress are MEN, but you don't hear about women from Congress asking for investigations?? Why is that?? Is it because women such as Brinker allow them selves to be subservient to men??? When are you all going to tell these conservative hacks to back off and mind their own business?? perhaps what needs to be done is investigate those who continually call for Planned Parent Hood's demise and find out WHO is bankrolling them..

    February 1, 2012 07:30 am at 7:30 am |
  23. landed

    Moral majority? The goal is to save lives! How can blocking life saving information from reaching the vulnerable, be considered moral and christian? How moral is politicizing a woman's right to control her own body? Leave it to the right wing christian zealots to push civilization further and further into the past. They are beginning to sound like the Taliban.

    February 1, 2012 07:31 am at 7:31 am |
  24. NEOhio

    I, for one, will finally start supporting the pink campaign because now my money is more likely to actually help treat and cure breast cancer than kill unborn children.

    February 1, 2012 07:34 am at 7:34 am |
  25. pat

    Planned parenthood provides a lot of health services!!...vast majority of their funds go to things like breast screenings, yearly exams, birth control to women who otherwise could not afford this critical health needs. It is so disappointing that Komen has cut off funding due to political pressure. I used planned parenthood in my 20's for those exact services because I had no health care and could not afford otherwise-preventative health care is a must. I wish politics would stay out of women's private lives. I will not donate to Komen again and I will continue to support planned parenthood for all the important services they provide.

    February 1, 2012 07:34 am at 7:34 am |
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