Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Susan G. Komen For the Cure Ends Partnership with Planned Parenthood

2/3/12 UPDATE: Susan G. Komen For the Cure announced today that it will continue funding for Planned Parenthood.

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Breast cancer charity Susan. G. Komen For the Cure has ended its partnership with Planned Parenthood affiliates and halted grants for breast health services at Planned Parenthood clinics. According to NPR, the Komen ended the relationship because Planned Parenthood is currently under investigation, thanks to an inquiry launched by Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Florida) into Planned Parenthood's use of public money.

Commentators have speculated on whether the right-leaning politics of some high-ranking staff at Susan G. Komen For the Cure played any role in recent events. Mother Jones notes that Komen CEO Nancy Brinker has donated money to Republican candidates and the Republican National Committee. RH Reality Check observes that Komen Senior Vice President for Policy Karen Handel is a former anti-abortion gubernatorial candidate, and that Komen Advocacy Alliance Board member Jane Abraham is General Chair of the Susan B. Anthony List.

Not surprisingly, anti-abortion activists were elated at this news, several using it as an opportunity to ridicule Planned Parenthood.

In a press release, Louisiana Senator David Vitter (yes, that Sen. Vitter) wrote that he urged Komen CEO Nancy Brinker to end the organization's relationship with Planned Parenthood.  (See
“This is a welcome, long overdue decision that will make Komen more effective in the fight against breast cancer, which is why I wrote a letter to Komen’s founder and CEO last May urging her to take this step. Komen does tremendous good by supporting education and research to fight breast cancer, and it was clear that their association with Planned Parenthood was unnecessary to advance that core mission."
In a January 31st press release, the Family Research Council applauded the Susan G. Komen For the Cure for ending its funding of Planned Parenthood. FRC president Tony Perkins praised the organization for "putting women's health first rather than fund the nation's largest abortion provider." Perkins accused Planned Parenthood of allegedly covering up cases of statutory rape and committing financial misconduct.

At the blog of anti-abortion group Bound 4 Life, Susan Michelle was pleased with the Komen's decision and urged readers to pray that the decision remains permanent. (Hat tip to Right Wing Watch.)

"Though Komen says these public criticisms are not a factor in their choice to stop funding Planned Parenthood, it’s hard to believe that the pressure didn’t impact the decision ... Pray for this to be permanent; pray the truth behind the abortion industry is exposed in this congressional investigation—and thank Komen, as well. If the public support is higher for cutting support than not, Komen is unlikely to return to it."
The Silent No More Awareness Campaign blog praised the decision while making questionable links between abortion and breast cancer risk. The blog discussed at length efforts by SNMAC and other anti-abortion groups to promote the dubious link between abortion and breast cancer. The blog failed to mention a 2003 National Cancer Institute gathering of over 100 global cancer experts, which concluded that abortion does not increase a woman's risk of breast cancer.

Finally, Americans United for Life CEO Charmaine Yoest approved of the move as well, lambasting Planned Parenthood as a "billion dollar, abortion mega-provider." In a January 31st blog post, she insisted that Susan G. Komen For the Cure should not be "intertwined with an industry dealing in death." The post added that Americans United for Life urged Rep. Stearns to investigate Planned Parenthood. 

For additional commentary, visit the following links.

Brilliant at Breakfast: If you've been donating to the Susan G. Komen Foundation, it's time to stop

Jezebel: Susan G. Komen Foundation Begins Backpedaling for the Cure

Right Wing Watch: 'Pro-Life' Activists Pile Praise Decision to Defund Breast Cancer Screenings at Planned Parenthood with Phony Science

Credo Action: Tell the board of Susan G. Komen for a Cure: Don't throw Planned Parenthood under the bus!


  1. The politics behind this horrible decision are outrageous and disgusting. The only people who will suffer as a result of this purely political move are women suffering from breast cancer who are poor. Just despicable.

    I sent an email to Komen yesterday via Daily Kos letting them know how I feel about it.

  2. Cognitive Dissenter -- I too am disappointed. That grant money could have helped countless women detect breast cancer. I'm glad you wrote to the Komen Foundation.

  3. This is truly upsetting. I did not think that the Komen Foundation would make such a poor decision.

  4. Donna -- Nor did I, not with so many women's health at stake. I hope donors to Planned Parenthood can pick up the slack.

  5. Komen won't get another penny from me, either directly or through all of those "pink ribbon" products that donate a portion of the cost to Komen. Let the RRRW prop up Komen. I'll donate to PP instead.

  6. Buffy -- They won't get money from me either. They've made their right-wing bed, and they can lie in it.

  7. This is so tiresome. Sometimes I think we're sliding back into the dark ages. I hope the Komen jackasses reverse their decision, or suffer the consequences.

  8. Knatolee -- Planned Parenthood has become the whipping boy of the American far-right, which angers me. I doubt that Komen will reverse the decision any time soon, given certain members of its leadership, but it may have alienated some donors.

  9. Knatolee -- I stand corrected! Komen reversed their decision on Friday, thank goodness. Still, the PR damage to them is done.


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