The Susan G. Komen Foundation has decided to cut funding for Planned Parenthood. The funds had been earmarked for …One of the nation's largest breast-cancer charities, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, has cut off its grants to Planned Parenthood, saying that it will no longer give money to the organization because it's under investigation by Congress.
The grants, which totaled about $680,000 in 2011 and $580,000 in 2010, were earmarked for breast-cancer screenings at Planned Parenthood clinics. The women's health organization, which also provides abortion counseling and services at some of their nearly 800 health centers, is the focus of an investigation launched by Republican Representative Cliff Stearns of Florida at the urging of anti-abortion groups, who insist that Planned Parenthood has violated Title X by using public money to pay for abortion services. Planned Parenthood representatives have repeatedly denied the allegations.
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The investigation began in September but has no official time table, which means that Komen may suspend its grants indefinitely. Stearns told the Associated Press that "he is looking into possible violations of state and local reporting requirements, as well as allegations of financial abuse" and may or may not hold a hearing at some point.
According to Planned Parenthood, the grants from the Komen Foundation have paid for nearly 170,000 of the 4 million breast exams they've conducted over the past five years, as well as 6,400 of the 70,000 mammogram referrals it made during that time. Cancer screening and prevention make up 16 percent of the services provided by Planned Parenthood; abortion services make up 3 percent.
"We're kind of reeling," Patrick Hurd, CEO of Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Virginia, told The Associated Press. His wife, Betsi, has breast cancer and has participated in several of Komen's fundraisers. "It sounds almost trite, going through this with Betsi, but cancer doesn't care if you're pro-choice, anti-choice, progressive, conservative. Victims of cancer could care less about people's politics."
Anti-abortion groups welcomed the news of the funding cuts. "For too long, many people of good will gave money to this foundation to help stop the scourge of breast cancer, not realizing that their money was going to help subsidize the nation's largest abortion provider," Family Research Council President Tony Perkins said in a statement. "If Susan G. Komen can chose to stop subsidizing the abortion giant, surely Congress can redirect its resources to those helping women, not making a profit off the lives of unborn children."
Americans United for Life, which provided Sterns with the information he used to launch his investigation, sent out an email to its membership. "Join us in thanking the Komen Foundation!" the email said. "Let's keep the pressure on until Planned Parenthood is completely exposed as the corrupt and pro-abortion organization that it is."
Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, has called Sterns' investigation "politically motivated" and says that the Komen Foundation "succumbed to political pressure" in making its decision.
"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," she told The Associated Press. "It's really hurtful."
Komen Foundation spokesperson Leslie Aun told the Associated Press that Sterns investigation was the key reason they decided to cut funding, but Komen is not accusing Planned Parenthood of having done anything wrong.
"While it is regrettable when changes in priorities and policies affect any of our grantees, such as a long-standing partner like Planned Parenthood, we must continue to evolve to best meet the needs of the women we serve and most fully advance our mission," the foundation said in a statement.
"We want to maintain a positive relationship with them," Aun said. "We're not making any judgment."
On the Komen Foundation's message boards, members were divided about Komen's decision.
"I have donated more than $10,000 to the SGK Foundation over the past three years. I have also walked countless miles to raise money and awareness for breast cancer research. I am appalled at SGK decision to stop funding Planned Parenthood," wrote member "Kfla." " Planned Parenthood provides screening services that save lives. I am disappointed that SGK Foundation bowed to pressure from extremist organizations and turned its back on women…. My financial support will no longer go to SGK unless you reverse your decision to defund Planned Parenthood."
New member "OneDot618" wrote: "I created an account tonight to deeply thank the Komen organization for ending their support of that ghastly organization, Planned Parenthood. For years I have avoided and boycotted Komen events because of their association with PP, and tonight I can enthusiastically say that I will support Komen events with no hesitation."
Another member quickly countered with a long list of other companies that support Planned Parenthood, and suggested that those who agree with Komen's decision boycott those organizations as well. The list includes AOL, Darden Restaurants, Hilton, Staples, Wells Fargo, Nike, Boys & Girls Clubs, and the March of Dimes. "Boy, are you going to have a tough time shopping, banking, vacationing, shampooing your hair, swimming, scouting, running, buying gas, etc. etc. etc.," wrote "Locker."
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