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. fintastic

    Again, religion rears it's ugly head...

    February 1, 2012 07:35 am at 7:35 am |
  2. CanisPitbull

    Mammograms are good. Pre-conception family planning serves a need. But you can't deny that Planned Parenthood is significantly involved in referring and providing abortions. If a group or individual has a moral, ethical and/or faith based objection to abortion, that is their right. If Susan G. Komen for the Cure has qualms about Planned Parenthood, then it is their decision to evaluate what their level of support should be.

    You have to look at the whole picture. For example, Adolf Hitler re-industrialized Germany, pulling it out of its depression and created jobs. But then again, there was that whole thing about the Nazis and starting World War II...

    February 1, 2012 07:35 am at 7:35 am |
  3. LEE

    Please look up the direct correlation between abortion and increased risk of breast cancer. There is a 66% increase in breast cancer rates in women who have had an abortion. (based on 2009 statistics) So, this means Susan G. Komen was funding Planned Parenthood which performs 27.6% of abortions nationally. (based on 2007 statistics) Also, Planned Parenthood has been criticized for not disclosing the increased risk of breast cancer associated with abortions. There are lawsuits pending related to this failure to disclose this fact. It sounds like Susan G. Komen was ensuring future contributions by funding abortions that, in turn, increase the number of breast cancer victims. More breast cancer victims, more money for Susan G. Komen. I am glad that the Komen foundation severed this tie with Planned Parenthood. I can only hope they did it because of the compelling evidence that abortions increase the risk of breast cancer.

    February 1, 2012 07:35 am at 7:35 am |
  4. Greg

    Truly horrible, but not expected. As our goverment grows ever closer to a theological state and not a democracy, this and other former freedoms will quickly be stripped from the populace. Enjoy the future created by our failure to stop conservatism while we still had a chance...

    February 1, 2012 07:37 am at 7:37 am |
  5. scott

    I've sent my last donation to Komen then, been a faithful supporter sending $100 twice a year for years. It'll now be sent to Planned Parenthood. And I'll alert my friends to cease funding as well.

    February 1, 2012 07:37 am at 7:37 am |
  6. Abe

    Sadly I donated to Komen every year,

    I will do so no longer.

    February 1, 2012 07:37 am at 7:37 am |
  7. bg

    Not manypeople know this, but the SGK org doesn't provide health insurance to the majority of its employees. I'm so glag this farce of a "charity" is starting to be exposed in a truer light.

    February 1, 2012 07:38 am at 7:38 am |
  8. Alicia

    One word for Komen..."done". My donation to planned parenthood just doubled. It is a sad state of affairs when the most celebrated charity for WOMEN denies health screenings for WOMEN by bowing to the religious right. It's not about abortion folks, it's about the health and wellness of your sisters, mothers, wives and friends. Shame on you Komen.

    February 1, 2012 07:39 am at 7:39 am |
  9. jenny

    Why not just go to a doctor for a breast cancer screening- why go to an abortion provider? Planned Parenthood seems to want to distract from what they really do. I wouldn't feel comfortable going to an abortion clinic for a breast cancer screening. What's next- they'll offer dental exams and braces? It's an abortion clinic. Nothing will change what Planned Parenthood is.

    February 1, 2012 07:39 am at 7:39 am |
  10. Ace

    I'm crossing out Komen on my check and filling in Planned Parenthood.

    February 1, 2012 07:40 am at 7:40 am |
  11. ODAWG


    Read the article before posting.

    It clearly states that the majority of their donations went to breast screenings.

    February 1, 2012 07:41 am at 7:41 am |
  12. Just my opinion

    For all of you who have stated you are going to quit contributing to the Susan Komen Foundation, I don't think they will miss your $20 donation. Grow up and quit being babies.

    February 1, 2012 07:43 am at 7:43 am |
  13. klucas5150

    I'm so glad to read this news. I had quit giving to Komen because of their affiliation with Planned Parenthood. Komen is a great cause that shouldn't be assoicated with an organization that provides abortions. Save one and kill the other. That doesn't make sense.

    February 1, 2012 07:44 am at 7:44 am |
  14. Chicka

    It's stuff like this that boils my blood. Planned Parenthood does so much more for young women than pro-lifers realize. As a poor, young, female PP gave me free medical care, access to birth control, free screenings and education. They do amazing work and are the reason I didn't get pregnant with my first child until well into my 30's and married. Stop demonizing them. They prevent more abortions than they perform.

    February 1, 2012 07:45 am at 7:45 am |
  15. K

    Do you think other organizations can not or do not provide the same screenings, etc. that Planned Parenthood does? Why so critical of a group that chooses to redirect its funding to go to pay for the services that save lives rather than have their money mixed up to provide abortions. The money is being spent on the Foundation's purpose – and that helps women. You probably never gave to the Foundation anyway. I will increase my donations because of this gutsy and morally responsible move.

    February 1, 2012 07:46 am at 7:46 am |
  16. James

    Well I just dropped my funding for the Komen fund. Did you know that the Komen fund actually PROMOTES Breast Cancer? Oh look! I guess a deliberate lie DOES make a difference after all! Just like that Senator whose statement that 92% of Planned Parenthood's funding goes to abortions. When he was hit with the TRUTH that it was LESS THAN 3% he replied "that wasn't supposed to be taken as a statement of fact." See? 92% and 3%... what's the difference? Maybe as much as leaving the word "Research" off of my statement about Komen?

    February 1, 2012 07:47 am at 7:47 am |
  17. Thomas

    You people seriously cannot read? SGK is not denying breast cancer screening to poor women. Let's try this again . . .

    "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.

    Besides, if you are poor in this country, you have it made with this president in office:
    subsidized housing
    food stamps
    free cell phone
    subsidized education
    free child care
    FREE MEDICAL (which includes screening!)

    February 1, 2012 07:49 am at 7:49 am |
  18. stacy

    so glad to be able to give to them again and not worry about where the funding is going. good for you Susan B Komen!

    February 1, 2012 07:50 am at 7:50 am |
  19. hae78

    Apparently, the Susan G. Komen Foundation wants poor women to die of breast cancer. That's how I'm reading this. First they try to shut down other charities for using the color pink or the word "cure", now they hate poor women. They will NEVER see a dime of my money.

    February 1, 2012 07:50 am at 7:50 am |
  20. Mishy

    Many of you say you're stopping donations to Komen to pressure them into supporting Planned Parenthood. Why don't we put the pressure on Planned Parenthood to stop offering abortions funded by our tax dollars? PP may have other valuable services for the uninsured, but I don't favor my taxes supporting abortions. According to the Bible, killing is wrong. Politicians on both sides have used this issue to gain votes. While I know abortion is wrong, it is a moral and personal decision. I had one 25 years ago, before I became a Christian and have had to live with many consequences because of it. Of course it brings me great shame when I am reminded, but I know God's grace and forgiveness is real if we just ask for it and I'm so thankful for it. I don't judge anyone for their personal decisions (I have my own faults to worry about). The Bible says 'What you sow, so shall you reap' ... Well I'm convinced that my endometriosis and inability to have children was part of my 'reaping' - and I'm at peace with that because God's love is endless. I'm trying to live a better life before God and that's what everyone should do. Let's just be honest, PP started with their primary mission to provide abortions - they have added other services over the years in order to gain more acceptance in society, so they can continue getting funds. I would support PP in a minute if they stopped providing abortions.

    February 1, 2012 07:54 am at 7:54 am |
  21. Debra

    Just as I thought, many of these foundations, if not all, tied to politics and/or big Pharm. Wont support Komen any more. Let rich white men that run the government support Komen.

    February 1, 2012 07:54 am at 7:54 am |
  22. Jenna

    Let me get this straight, because the Susan G. Komen foundation is anti-abortion or at least on the fence about it, they withdraw support from an organization that is renowned for providing abortion options...and people are upset why?

    February 1, 2012 07:56 am at 7:56 am |
  23. cj

    It's pretty simple, if you want to have an abortion, pay for it yourself! Everyone needs to look at the statistics and realize abortion is just a form of birth control and happens primarily because of irresponsible behavior. Rape & incest is less than 1% As an American, I don't want my tax dollars paying for abortion in the U.S. and overseas, which the U.S. helps to provide. Breast exams? What a joke! Planned Parenthood makes all it's money from abortions, not women's health. Planned Parenthood is just another big business, look at where they are located, low income areas. How come you won't find a Planned Parenthood in Beverly Hills or Greenwich, Ct? because they prey on the poor and weak to make their money.

    February 1, 2012 07:57 am at 7:57 am |
  24. Beth

    When I was young and newly out of college I didn't have a job yet and needed my yearly GYN exam and Planned Parenthood did that for me for FREE. I have been giving back to them ever since I got that first job not that long afterward. I will give a bit extra this year. Shame on the Komen group's decision. if they want to help low income women get breast exams this is the exact opposite way to do it.

    February 1, 2012 07:57 am at 7:57 am |
  25. ChrisCintheD

    I've heard for a while the Komen was really in the pocket of for-profit folks. I turned a blind eye because the do seem to do a lot of good. However, I cannot support them if they do not support women...poor women on top of that.

    Of all the services Planned Parenthood provides, abortion accounts for about 3%. Most clinics don't even provide abortion. All clinics, however, provide health screenings and prevention services on a sliding scale. And money donation for prevention services can't be used to fund abortion.

    So, all Komen and anti-choicers have done is take cancer prevention services away from poor women. How "pro-life".

    February 1, 2012 07:58 am at 7:58 am |
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