Susan G. Komen and Planned Parenthood

The nation’s leading breast-cancer charity, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, is halting its partnerships with Planned Parenthood affiliates — creating a bitter rift, linked to the abortion debate, between two iconic organizations that have assisted millions of women.
The change will mean a cutoff of hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants, mainly for breast exams.
Planned Parenthood says the move results from Komen bowing to pressure from anti-abortion activists. Komen says the key reason is that Congress is investigating Planned Parenthood (an inquiry launched by a conservative Republican who was urged to act by anti-abortion groups).
Planned Parenthood said the Komen grants totaled roughly $680.000 last year and $580.000 the year before, going to at least 19 of its affiliates for breast-cancer screening and other breast-health services.
Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest receives two Komen grants for breast-cancer outreach and screening for two groups of vulnerable women, said spokeswoman Kristen Glundberg-Prossor.
In Clallam County, she said, a $52.492 Komen grant funded outreach to Native-American, Latina, underinsured and isolated women, including a mobile unit that screened and administered mammograms for more than 400 women last year. That grant runs through midyear.
“We won’t be applying for that money next year” – Glundberg-Prossor added.
In Idaho, a $23.544 grant helped bring screening to about 400 refugee women in the Boise-Twin Falls area last year. Glundberg-Prossor said the Idaho Komen affiliate told Planned Parenthood at the end of the year that the grant wouldn’t be renewed “because we were being investigated.”

Susan G. Komen and Planned Parenthood
Susan G. Komen.

One of the most prominent charities working to prevent and cure breast cancer, the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation, has cut its ties with the women’s health organization Planned Parenthood, that organization confirmed on Tuesday. Reacting to the news, Planned Parenthood decried Komen for having “succumbed to political pressure” related to abortion politics.
Planned Parenthood said representatives for Komen have been notifying Planned Parenthood divisions throughout the country that it will stop providing funding for breast cancer screenings and prevention.
“We are alarmed and saddened that the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation appears to have succumbed to political pressure” – Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America said in a statement. “Our greatest desire is for Komen to reconsider this policy and recommit to the partnership on which so many women count.”
Planned Parenthood said Komen did not respond to requests to meet about the termination of the partnership, the support of which has directly enabled 170.000 women to receive breast cancer exams in the past five years.
Planned Parenthood is the subject of investigations by Republican members of Congress for allegedly using federal dollars toward providing abortions. Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.), chair of the House Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee of the Energy and Commerce Committee, opened an investigation into the matter in 2011 but nothing has yet come of it.
A statement by Komen to CBS News denied that the charity was politically pressured. “Grant making decisions are not about politics” – Komen wrote. The statement also said the organization did make changes to its grant-making process and “implemented more stringent eligibility and performance criteria.”
Leslie Aun, a spokesperson for Komen, told the Associated Press that Komen crafted new guidelines that prohibits organizations under investigation from the government from receiving financial support.
Anti-abortion groups have in recent months been targeting Komen, an organization that raised more than $400 million to fight breast cancer in 2010, for its relationship with Planned Parenthood. The anti-abortion organization Life Issues Institute launched a campaign to persuade Komen to halt its partnership with Planned Parenthood, which, according to the Associated Press, granted $650.000 to Planned Parenthood last year.

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.

Comments are closed.