(Brandi Korte: Flickr)
(Brandi Korte: Flickr)

Reaction has been swift since the AP broke the news yesterday that the breast cancer charity, Susan G. Komen for the Cure is withdrawing future funding of any Planned Parenthood affiliates.

The Planned Parenthood Federation of America said pressure from anti-abortion groups sparked the Komen decision. The Komen Foundation counters that its guidelines do not permit funding if any organization is under a governmental investigation.

But those guidelines appear to be recent and have political underpinnings. As Jezebel reports:

Interestingly, this brand new rule that suddenly appeared in the books of the Komen Foundation just so happened to coincide with a Congressional investigation launched by a Republican legislator, who himself was pressured by the pro-life group Americans United for Life. And last year’s assault on Planned Parenthood also coincided with the addition of a vocally anti-abortion ex-politician to the ranks of Susan G Komen For the Cure.

Karen Handel, who was endorsed by Sarah Palin during her unsuccessful bid for governor of Georgia in 2010, has been the Foundation’s Senior Vice President for Public Policy since April 2011. During her gubernatorial candidacy, she ran on an anti-choice platform, vowing that if elected, she’d defund Planned Parenthood.

Planned Parenthood now has a banner on its homepage announcing the end of Komen funding and asking viewers to “Help Us Continue Lifesaving Breast Cancer Screenings.”

“We are alarmed and saddened that the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation appears to have succumbed to political pressure,” said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America in a statement. “Our greatest desire is for Komen to reconsider this policy and recommit to the partnership on which so many women count.”

The clinic serving Orange and San Bernardino Counties appears to be the only Planned Parenthood affiliate in California to receive funds from Komen. That funding has been significant. For the last seven years, Komen has helped to fund breast cancer screening this affiliate does annually for 15-20,000 women, Stephanie Kight, Sr. Vice President of the affiliate told State of Health.

Last year, 400 women needed diagnostic services and Komen covered a little over half of those. “Komen was also a key funder in education and screening in marginalized communities, especially the Vietnamese community, which has so little information about health care and breast cancer,” Kight said.  “Women’s health care and breast cancer care are way too important, and way too important to women all over this country, to be used as a political football. It’s just tragic.”

Meanwhile public comments on Twitter and Facebook have been heated. A non-scientific sampling showed sentiment running against Komen, even on its own message board, as this post demonstrates:

I am with all of you. I will return any Komen solicitations from friends with an explanation that i will no longer donate to Breast Cancer research through this organization. What a shame! It’s outrageous that this organization, like so many others, is allowing itself to be bullied by the virulently anti-woman minority in Congress. Shame, shame, shame

Those who support Komen’s move echo this tweet:

“Awesome news broke today!” tweeted @LilaGraceRose, “Susan G. Komen has finally stopped funding Planned Parenthood!”

Many other tweets show people responding with their wallets. “I just donated to Planned Parenthood to make up shortfall from shameful abandonment by Susan G. #Komen Fdn,” tweeted @KTKeith.

Susan G. Komen Vs. Planned Parenthood 3 February,2012Lisa Aliferis

  • Anonymous

    The fact that the Susan G. Komen charity spends more than a million dollars of its donations per year enforcing its copyright of the phrase “For The Cure” pretty much tells you all you need to know about them.

    • Anonymous

      Trademark, not copyright. As such they are obligated to if they wish to hold on to it and many non-profits hold trademarks to protect their identity.

  • Redcanyonink

    My money and support will go directly to Planned Parenthood. The Susan G Komen just got polical and changed the face of charity. They will not have my support going forward.

  • M. Farrell

    SGK actions show deceit and conniving instead of honesty. It also shows lack of concern for the millions of Planned Parenthood patients. I believe this kind of action starts when an organizations management looses touch with the people they are supposed to be helping. I want to know all about the compensation of the managers and directors as well as the retirement and health benefits of the upper level SGK managers. I want to know how much of each dollar contributed actually goes to woman’s health instead of an overhead cost. They may no longer be able to identify with the people they are hurting
    MGF Redmond WA

  • M. Farrell

    This Komen blowup distresses me, the corporate and politically stated reasons seem to be false.

    There are underlying questions that SHOULD be the focus of the story but aren’t.
    * Assuming the Republican Senator’s investigation is real. What’s the truth. Were Federal funds misused?
    * Is the investigation a political abuse of authority? If so, punishment is needed, the public should be warned about the Senator. Abuse of power is a horrible action and is intolerable. Junior Joseph McCarthys should be resisted and exposed.

    Our political and social behavior has devolved to the philosophy “THE ENDS JUSTIFY THE MEANS”. You must be willing to use ANY MEANS to achieve what YOU consider the proper ENDS.
    * Political Lies funded by endless money. (It’s ok, ends justify means. The electorate isn’t smart enough decide correctly anyway.)
    * Killing abortion providers. (Its ok, ends justify means)
    * Political ploys to falsely deny legal service. (It’s ok ends justify means. We can’t change women’s minds so we’ll connive to deny the service.)

    The philosophy, while morally bankrupt, seems to work, but there’s a resulting increase in hatred and intolerance.


Lisa Aliferis

Lisa Aliferis is the founding editor of KQED’s State of Health blog. Since 2011, she’s been writing and editing stories for the site. Before taking up blogging, she toiled for many years (more than we can count) producing health stories for television, including Dateline NBC and San Francisco’s CBS affiliate, KPIX-TV. She also wrote up a handy guide to the Affordable Care Act, especially for Californians. Her work has been honored for many awards. Most recently she was a finalist for “Best Topical Reporting” from the Online News Association. You can follow her on Twitter: @laliferis

State of Health Sponsored by

Become a KQED sponsor