Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation Breaks Partnership with Planned Parenthood

In a piece of very good news, the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation has announced that they are breaking the partnership they have maintained for some years with Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood is miffed, calling the decision "deeply disturbing and disappointing." From The Hill (linked above):
The Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation has broken off a partnership through which it provided cancer screenings at Planned Parenthood clinics, the Associated Press reported Tuesday. Planned Parenthood blamed the political controversy over abortion.

“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,” said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

Planned Parenthood said its clinics provided about 4 million screenings for breast cancer over the past five years, roughly 170,000 of which were supported by Komen grants.

Planned Parenthood said it has established an emergency fund to offset the loss of the Komen funds.

Komen told the AP that it ended its partnership with Planned Parenthood because of a congressional investigation into the organization. Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce committee have requested detailed financial records from Planned Parenthood.

This seems like an utterly obvious thing for Komen to do, and frankly it's surprising it's taken so long. Planned Parenthood is radioactive for a significant and vocal minority of the US population. There is no reason for an organization whose sole purpose is to promote cancer awareness and research to associate them with an organization so polarizing.

The Associated Press story features Planned Parenthood officials whining a good deal about the decision:
“We’re kind of reeling,” said Patrick Hurd, who is CEO of Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Virginia — recipient of a 2010 grant from Komen — and whose wife, Betsi, is a veteran of several Komen fundraising races and is currently battling breast cancer.

“It sounds almost trite, going through this with Betsi, but cancer doesn’t care if you’re pro-choice, anti-choice, progressive, conservative,” Hurd said. “Victims of cancer could care less about people’s politics.”

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.

Komen spokeswoman Leslie Aun said the cutoff results from the charity’s newly adopted criteria barring grants to organizations that are under investigation by local, state or federal authorities. According to Komen, this applies to Planned Parenthood because it’s the focus of an inquiry launched by Rep. Cliff Stearns, R-Fla., seeking to determine whether public money was improperly spent on abortions.

Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, has depicted Stearns’ probe as politically motivated and said she was dismayed that it had contributed to Komen’s decision to halt the grants to PPFA affiliates.

“It’s hard to understand how an organization with whom we share a mission of saving women’s lives could have bowed to this kind of bullying,” Richards told The Associated Press. “It’s really hurtful.”
It's unfortunate that it took a technicality such as Planned Parenthood being under Federal investigation in order to get this partnership broken off. One would hope that if the Komen Foundation is truly focused on cancer advocacy they would understand it can only hurt their cause to ally with a group involved in such incredibly controversial behavior as Planned Parenthood.

However, regardless of the inciting incident, one hopes that the Komen foundation will realize that Planned Parenthood is a group they should absolutely not get back into bed with.


Chad Toney said...

Cool, maybe I'll run their 5k this year! Was a blast my first time, before I learned they were giving grants to PP.

Melanie B said...

That is good news indeed.

Foxfier said...

Were they doing the ESCR through PP, too?

As much as I dislike "awareness raising," I'd at least be able to buy stuff with their logo on it....

Anonymous said...

You know that the other side will portray this, perhaps accurately, as the Komen Foundation buckling to pressure being applied by that "vocal minority of the US population" and one of their lapdogs in Congress. PP is by far the largest organization in the US that focuses on women's health issues and is the obvious best place to provide screenings for breast cancer for a huge number of women.

NOTE: In spite of being lefty on most other issues, I am actually against abortion (though not against contraception). But I'm having a hard time seeing how this situation is any sort of victory for the anti-abortion cause. Why do we want PP to stop doing breast cancer screenings?


Darwin said...


Yes, some people on the other side are howling and insisting that they'll never support the Komen Foundation again -- whether the number of hard core pro-aborts offended is larger than the number of pro-lifers pleased.

The reason I would consider it a positive for Komen to stop working with PP (and why I think it was really, really dumb of them to start working with them in the first place) is that as a fundraising and awareness organization Komen is focused on a single issue (breast cancer) and relies on goodwill (to get donations). There's no reason for it to acquire public relations liabilities (loss of good will) by developing an association that doesn't relate closely to their cause (breast cancer). Yes, Planned Parenthood operates a huge network of clinics (the real portion of "women's health care" the provide is very small, it's just that they're a large, centralized organization which does something with some relevance to women) but it's core mission is to provide birth control and abortions. Birth control provides a lot of foot traffic, but abortion is highly profitable for them. They make a lot of their revenue from abortions and they perform a significant percentage of all abortions nationally.

Now, from the news stories, only 5% of the "screenings" that Planned Parenthood performs are paid for by the Komen Foundation. (And it should be noted, these are basically non-medical "gee, do feel any lumps or see any weird spots" kind of exams, their facilities don't provide mammograms or other clinical screening exams.) Similarly, the $500k/yr of funding that Komen had been giving to Planned Parenthood for screenings represents only about 1% of the $47mil which Komen spend funding screenings in 2010 according to their annual report. So clearly neither one is essential to the other's efforts in this regard.

Given this, it seems to me as completely rational that Komen would avoid association with PP since working with PP will taint their image more than it will materially help their work. As given that I myself consider Planned Parenthood's work to be just as reprehensible as that of the KKK, I obviously rejoice to see anyone stop working with them for just about any reason. To my mind, PP should be treated as a pariah.

Olivia D {The Road to Poland} said...

I just wanted to add that I also find it poor business sense to give donations to an organization (PP) whose main purpose is to provide drugs (contraception) which increase the risk of breast cancer. This seems illogical and at least poor business sense. Sort of like Johnson and Johnson providing funds to PP. Johnson and Johnson makes money off of BABY products (and other products, but a lot of baby products) and PP kills babies. Poor business sense.

My hope is that Komen will seek out other clinics for the poor and provide them with this funding. I wouldn't be surprised if they did just that.