Social Question

Aethelflaed's avatar

Do you agree with the Susan G. Komen Foundation's decision to defund Planned Parenthood?

Asked by Aethelflaed (13687 points ) February 1st, 2012

The Susan G. Komen Foundation, the leading breast-cancer charity in the United States, has decided to stop funding Planned Parenthood. The AP says this new move will mean “a cutoff of hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants, mainly for breast exams.” Komen said this decision was because they have adopted a new rule that prevents them from funding organizations under congressional investigation. However, many note that Komen has been under pressure from pro-life groups to defund Planned Parenthood, and that it recently hired a new pro-life vice president who advocated for defunding Planned Parenthood when she ran for governor of Georgia. (Read more)

Was Komen right to defund Planned Parenthood? Other thoughts?

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36 Answers

JilltheTooth's avatar

I am horrified by this. It will do enormous damage to the lives of countless young women, as well as promoting the entirely false idea that Planned Parenthood is primarily about abortion. What a stunning display of ignorance.

jca's avatar

I am going to charitynav.org now to find out how much their CEO makes. I bet it’s a ton of money.

CWOTUS's avatar

Okay, I’m confused. What does Planned Parenthood have to do with breast exams? Talk about mission creep…

JilltheTooth's avatar

@CWOTUS : Planned Parenthood is full-service Womens health care.

CWOTUS's avatar

Oh, okay then. Just a confusing name, then. It should probably be “Planned Womanhood”?

Why blame the Komen organization? If they have a rule that prohibits them from funding organizations “under Congressional investigation” (which seems like a pretty simple and self-evident rule, after all), then it wouldn’t be prudent to say that they’re going to make case-by-case assessments of the validity of the investigation. Why have the rule, in that case?

Could it be Planned Womanhood that is being the bad actor here? Or is Congress simply overreaching again, as they often do? I’m happy to blame Congress; I’m used to it by now.

SpatzieLover's avatar

@CWOTUS Men regularly go to PP for condoms & testing. It’s not a confusing name at all. The provider allows patients to plan their parenting decisions.

As for the Komen foundation’s decision: It’s disappointing. Breast exams have nothing to do with abortion. Abortion is one of the services PP provides.

lonelydragon's avatar

I suppose if they have that rule, then they have to follow it. But it’s still disappointing. Planned Parenthood offers vital services to uninsured women who otherwise couldn’t afford breast exams.

SpatzieLover's avatar

@lonelydragon Even for those of us with insurance, their services are easier to access and less expensive.

One more way to screw with the middle to lower income population.

JilltheTooth's avatar

No, @CWOTUS , I was just expanding on what they do for women, whom comprise the lion’s share of their client base. As @SpatzieLover says, they deal with all.

GoldieAV16's avatar

I support their right to spend their money anywhere they like. And I support all the many people who will no longer give money to the Komen Foundation (of which I am one). I will just make that donation directly to Planned Parenthood.

Perhaps their motivation was to shine a light on the Congressional investigation? Otherwise, I’m baffled.

syz's avatar

Oh, yes, let’s let more women suffer from undiagnosed breast cancer to save lives. Fuck it. Guess I’ll be giving more money to Planned Parenthood.

augustlan's avatar

[mod says] This is our Question of the Day!

sinscriven's avatar

The Komen foundation is run like a corporation, complete with lawyers who bully small charities because they think they own the phrase “the cure”. It wouldn’t surprise me if this was purely a PR move to try to curry favor with the rich conservatives who attack anything remotely liberal. Now their branding is going to lose a ton of goodwill because while they claim to want to maintain a positive relationship with PP, they made them pariahs.

Screw them. There are other more deserving charities.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

They have the right to give to anyone they like, I suppose. I’ve given to SGK before but not because I was aware they had anything to do with PP. I give to PP separately and agree with others who wrote above that even with insurance PP offers middle-lower income people needed services, more affordable than with their insured providers.

JLeslie's avatar

I think it totally sucks. But, if Komen felt their own funds would be cut, maybe it was simply a business decision. But, sometimes we need to take a stand even if it costs money. Komen started her foundation because her sister died of breast cancer when no one could talk about breast cancer, could not say breast, lived in shame because the breast is considered a sexual part of a woman’s body. If anything Komen should be standing up for women to be able to be honest, educated, and open about sexual health. Women continue to get sick and die because woman’s health is not discussed openly all too often, especially sexual health. And, planning pregnancy is very important in western society unless you have a lot of money and can handle bunches of unplanned kids, but still it is generally more ideal to plan to some extent.

If they do have a policy for not being able to fund organizations being investigated I guess they need to follow their rule, but there seems to be more to it than that.

Aethelflaed's avatar

@jca There’s a good article on the CEO’s salary here, mostly debunking(ish) a tweet saying the CEO made almost as much as PP.

@CWOTUS It’s a new rule that was created after a new and radically pro-life VP came to the organization that only effects Planned Parenthood. It seems like they wanted to cut ties with Planned Parenthood and created a rule to do just that, not had a rule and found out Planned Parenthood would be effected. All of the money Komen gives to PP goes to breast cancer screenings and treatment, so it’s not like they were actually funding abortions in any way. Only 3% of PP’s services are abortions, while 16% are breast cancer screenings. It basically makes it look like Komen isn’t so much pro-woman, as pro-rich, white, conservative woman. And, there’s something on a really basic level that’s effed up when you’re just so pro-life that you have to let tons and tons of people die (in this case, of breast cancer).

lonelydragon's avatar

@SpatzieLover Hadn’t thought of that, but good point!

marinelife's avatar

I can’t believe that a major charity has become so politicized. I hate this decision. I will never give to Susan G Komen anything ever again.

Brian1946's avatar

Hell no!

Even if “their” decision wasn’t due to anti-choice political pressure as “they” claim, I don’t agree with it because some of that funding goes to breast exams for women who might not be able to otherwise afford them.

Also, I fully support whatever abortion services PP provides anyway, in spite of the war on reproductive rights being partly waged in the form of the “Congressional investigation”.

BTW, here’s an article on the SGK decision, which includes an image of their hacked site.

Brian1946's avatar

I’ve never donated to SGK, so I just donated to PP as my way of saying FY to SGK’s (especially Karen Handel’s) decision.

JLeslie's avatar

As a side comment, last year my father gave money to planned parenthood for the first tme in his life because they had become such a target of the right wing. Hopefully a bunch of people are feeling that way. By the way my dad was a Republican from his early 20’s until his early 60’s (he is 68 now).

Aethelflaed's avatar

A bit of an update:

There has been a rather substantial backlash to Komen’s decision. Within 24 hours, donors had helped Planned Parenthood raise $400k (well over half of the $680k Planned Parenthood got last year from Komen). Komen’s website was hacked to read “Help us run over poor women on our way to the bank”. Social networking sites, including Komen’s Facebook page, have exploded with anger from commentors, with others expressed their outrage with e-cards (we now measure PR disasters by how quickly they reach “meme status”). And American Association of University Women has decided to pull Komen’s spot at the upcoming National Conference for College Women Student Leaders, stating that they were “disappointed that some are playing politics with women’s health and jeopardizing care for the most vulnerable among us”.

Jeffery Goldberg over at The Atlantic points out that “three sources with direct knowledge of the Komen decision-making process told [Goldberg] that the rule was adopted in order to create an excuse to cut off Planned Parenthood. (Komen gives out grants to roughly 2,000 organizations, and the new “no investigations” rule applies to only one so far)...the organization’s top public-health official, Mollie Williams, resigned in protest immediately following the Komen board’s decision to cut off Planned Parenthood.” Mother Jones points out that under Komen’s new rule, they should really stop giving $7.5 million to fund cancer research at Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, as it is part of Penn State, another organization under federal government investigation (that one’s for the whole child molestation cover-up).

jonsblond's avatar

We don’t even have a Planned Parenthood anywhere near us. There are several locations in our area that offer free mammograms. The local hospital and county health department are two that I can think of without doing any research. I did research a bit to see the different types of grants that are used by SGK to help support poor and under insured women. You all do know Planned Parenthood isn’t the only option for poor women to receive mammograms, right? Even when I did live near a Planned Parenthood my gynecologist had a flier in his office for free mammograms at the hospital, not at Planned Parenthood. To say that many women will now not have an option to receive help and may die because they can’t go to Planned Parenthood is a lie. There are other places to go for help.

I’m not saying I agree with SGK’s decision. I get the reasons why many people are upset, but I think many are forgetting about all the good that SGK does. It’s great many people want to support Planned Parenthood, but by completely withdrawing support (money) for SGK is hurting poor women who go elsewhere for help.

My whole point is that Planned Parenthood is not in every corner of every state and SGK helps the poor and under insured in those areas too!

JLeslie's avatar

@jonsblond Maybe, and I am completely guessing, Planned Parenthood is not in the bible belt all too much, except for maybe very large cities like Atlanta? I searched TN, 4 centers total. MS had one. Possibly there is too much of a stigma for people to use “abortion centers” since so many of the bible thumpers seem to like to think of Planned Parenthood is only that, or even if they know better a girl might be worried to be seen going in. It isn’t just for the poor, many young girls use Planned Parenthood as a place to get birth control information or seek healthcare outside of their regular doctor for a reasonable price.

JilltheTooth's avatar

@SpatzieLover : Thanks for posting that. The whole thing had mightily distressed me, as SGK had been a huge help to me even though my cancer was cervical, not breast. Nice to know that public opinion really can do some good.

SpatzieLover's avatar

@JilltheTooth It made me smile. For once, all the uproar made a prompt difference.

It probably helped that people sent donations straight to PP. Money talks.

chyna's avatar

Per CNN: Feb 3, 2011 Susan G. Komen for the Cure to restore Planned Parenthood breast screening funds! Public outcry does help in a lot of cases.

jonsblond's avatar

@JLeslie Not sure about Planned Parenthood not being in the bible belt, but they did have two locations in central Illinois (where we lived before we moved to western Illinois). I used PP for birth control and annual exams after I had my sons. I went to them when we didn’t have much money coming in and I also went to them when we did have a comfortable income. Once we had a comfortable income and we planned on having another child PP advised me to go elsewhere. I’m very familiar with the organization and the help they provide. Something did happen once when I was walking into their office to pick up a 3 month supply of birth control pills. A young (teenage) girl in a car driving by yelled out the window to me and called me a slut. I couldn’t believe it! Here I am, a young married mom (mid-20s) going to PP for help to not have any more children and this person called me a slut? unbelievable. You are right, It’s unfortunate PP has such a stigma attached to it.

Aethelflaed's avatar

I wonder how this will end up effecting Komen in the long run. Since this has been an opportunity for other controversial moves by Komen to get publicity (opposing the Accelerating the End of Breast Cancer Act, opposing the Breast & Cervical Cancer Prevention & Treatment Act, opposing the 20009 health care bill, trying to kill the Breast Cancer & Environmental Research Act, partnering with KFC, pinkwashing, etc), I wonder if this will end up having long-lasting consequences for them. Hopefully, if it does, money won’t just go away for breast cancer, but will be redirected towards another breast cancer charity like Breast Cancer Action or the National Breast Cancer Coalition.

SpatzieLover's avatar

I don’t think anyone will forget this move for a long time @Aethelflaed. To me, the donations sent straight to PP sent a strong message: We aren’t standing for any political BS any longer.

jca's avatar

Money talks, and money (or lack of) was very effective in getting them to change their decision.

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