Bowing to anti-abortion politics, breast cancer charity cuts funds for screenings at Planned Parenthood

Collateral damage in the abortion wars, and bad news for working class and low-income women who rely on Planned Parenthood clinics for breast cancer and cervical cancer screening services. The Susan G. Komen Foundation, America's largest and best-funded cancer charity, is reportedly cutting funding to Planned Parenthood, in response to pressure from anti-women's health political groups.

Planned Parenthood provides a wide array of women's health services, including mammograms and cancer screening.

Washington Post has the dirty backstory. The short version: Komen hired an anti-choice politician to become the charity's vice-president before announcing this change in policy.

From her 2010 campaign website: "Since I am pro-life, I do not support the mission of Planned Parenthood."

Regarding state funds for the women's health clinics which she acknowledged were used for "breast and cervical cancer screening," she said while campaigning, "I’ll eliminate them as your next Governor."

Lame, lame, lame, lame. Cancer doesn't care if you're pro-choice or not.

The founder and chair of @komenforthecure is Nancy Brinker. Email:

(via, HT:@movinmeat)

PHOTO: A crucifix is held aloft during the "March for Life" in Washington January 23, 2012. Nearly 100,000 protesters marched to the U.S. Supreme Court to mark the 39th anniversary of the Court's landmark Roe v. Wade decision on abortion. (REUTERS)


  1. a lot of people i know, myself included, will never open their wallets or donate time to komen ever again. i hope planned parenthood muscles in and starts doing big visible events komen-style to raise money for women’s health, i’d be more than happy to do my part for them.

    1.  I would rather have PP continue in providing services to the women who need them instead of grandstanding for “awareness” while the money only goes to pay for bureaucracy and not to actual research.

  2. One of the factoids out of the anti-abortion movement is that having an abortion causes breast cancer. In their warped logic, they probably think eliminating abortions will make breast cancer screenings unnecessary.

    “Pro-Life” my ass.

    I am so sick of politics in this country.

    Oh, hell, this isn’t even politics, really; it’s ideological extortion.

      1. Probably a distortion of the fact that nulliparous women have higher rates of breast cancer.

        1. Hmm. According to an article at the beginning of the month, I wonder if it’s even true that women who’ve had an abortion would have an equal rate:

          “Fetal cells show up significantly more often in the breast tissue of women who don’t have breast cancer than in women who do (43 versus 14 percent). […] How many people have left their DNA in us? Any baby we’ve ever conceived, even ones we’ve miscarried unknowingly.”

        2. here is another interesting breast cancer factoid-it has at times, been referred to as the “nun’s disease”, as nuns had a higher rate of breast cx than had the general female population.  AND, conversely, women who had a history of having used the birth control pill a LOWER rate of breast cx.  Why?  Estrogen.  Women who have been pregnant and/or have used oral contraception had a lower exposure to estrogen over a lifetime.  That is for those breast cancers that are estrogen sensitive.

          So, in a weird way, SGK has potentially increased the rate of breast cancer by reducing access to breast examinations/mammograms, as well as oral contraception.  The irony is typical for our current political climate.

    1. At least they’re willing to admit to being cruel and having few ethics, rather then hiding behind religion and fallacious logic.

      1. Exactly! It’s not that they aren’t “ethical” (as tamgoddess says), but that the ethic associated with a certain activity doesn’t agree with them.

  3. Because the anti-abortion crowd is okay with effectively killing women who’d otherwise have had access to screening, just not their fetuses.

    /obvious :(

  4. Birth control is over $20 a pack at a free clinic (PP). What is this? Institutionalized rape?? What about the movie “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”?  Is it right to mandate pregnancy and involve money with that? Hey…

  5. and the nice thing about the ‘pro-life’ people is once the baby is born, they don’t care what happens to it after that.

    1. Well that’s just plain wrong. For example, they care very much about its sexual orientation, and whether it uses pot or contraceptives.

      They just don’t care about its well-being.

      1. Doh!!  Good point, I forget they don’t care as long as the child isn’t gay or lesbian or any of those other ‘immoral’ things.

    2. There is a t-shirt that says on it – “If the fetus you save today, happens to be gay, are you going to fight for it’s rights too?” – I love it. I think it’s really stupid that they don’t seem to care about the millions of children already in the foster system, but forcing women to have babies they do not want to have. 

      1. I have that on a bumper sticker. It sent one of my relatives into conniptions – totally worth having to wash my car to get it to stick.

      2. I suspect that avoiding this bit of cognitive dissonance is part of the reason they push the “being gay is a choice” nonsense.

      3. That’s clever and everything, but “pro-lifers” defend a fetus’ right to not be killed.  They also support he right of adults to not be killed, gay or not.  They just don’t value women’s bodily autonomy in the case of abortion.

          1. Yeah, you’re right, not all of them.  Many pro-life people are anti-death penalty, though.

          2. “Many pro-life people are anti-death penalty, though.”

            And a much smaller percentage of them are anti-war.

        1. Note that they also don’t support the right of a pregnant woman with a dangerous pregnancy to have an abortion. Privileging the fetus over the woman also messes with an adult’s right not to be killed.

    3. One of the infuriating things about the debate for me is that there is so little common ground between the two groups, people just feel free to demonize each other and come out with BS like that statement.

      1. I don’t think it’s BS.  The anti choice crowd really don’t seem to care about any fully-fledged human beings.  Case in point: working to prevent PP from doing cancer screenings.  If they cared about women why would they do that?

      2. I’m not going to defend this particular action, it seems pretty cynical and if the background is correct, it looks like Komen wasn’t just too weak to defend their support of PP, but also to be honest about the reasons. But you are firstly equating stopping funding with PP to be the same as actively preventing them from doing screenings, which supposedly makes them  a sort of anti-humanitarian organisation. Komen spent 13% of its funding on screenings in 2009-10, only part of that went to PP. To be honest, if your statement that pro life groups ‘don’t seem to care about any fully-fledged human beings’ were true, they wouldn’t stop at PP, they would be campaigning to shut down Komen, which is kind of dedicated to helping fully fledged human beings. Next, you are not only tarring all of the pro-life organisations/lobby groups, but all the pro-life “people” with the same brush, based on decisions like this. Of course, “pro-life” groups need to be a lot more than just opponents of abortion to come close to deserving that name, but there are many, many examples of pro-life people dedicating huge amounts of time and resources to support the mother and baby (as CLamb has commented) as well as other work. Case in point: in our city in China, there is an international clinic run by mainly American and Chinese doctors. The doctors spend a third of their time actually running the clinic, a third running a separate free clinic for foster families and poorer people, and a third supporting the orphanages, hospices and HIV patients in the city. They also dedicate a proportion of their income to the work, and actively find families for orphans as well as fostering and adopting children themselves. They’re also definitely pro-life.

        There’s definitely a lot of criticism that can be leveled at pro life groups, but by at least keeping it accurate and recognizing the positive things that are being done by both sides, even if (obviously) they don’t come from the same ideology, we could maybe move on from the ‘baby-killing mothers vs. woman hating lobby groups’ argument.

  6. So, SGK defunded Planned Parenthood. Let’s defund SGK. From now on, only donate to breast cancer charities that don’t have their heads up their own asses. 

    1. Can we?  Do enough people care and are enough people willing to look up alternatives and go out of their way to avoid the glut of pink-branded merchandise that supports SGK? Will it be enough people for anyone to notice?

    2. I hope everyone who currently supports SGK is writing to the founder/chair to ask them to reconsider. I sent an email before I started reading the comments. I supported PP long before I supported any breast cancer charity. I currently support both charities and am not sure if I would cut off SGK altogether or just readjust the amounts.

      Does anyone have good suggestions for worthy charities to support instead of SGK? I switched to SGK after my mom was diagnosed because I found useful information on SGK’s website and the charity I supported before (Avon Foundation) was useless unless my mother had been a medically under served woman or looking for a research grant.

      1. “I hope everyone who currently supports SGK is writing to the founder/chair to ask them to reconsider”

        Hahahaha, like they’re going to fire their VP.

        They’re rubbing their hands thinking about all that Tea Party loot. Like you’re going to stop buying pink goods and wearing ribbons, etc.

        1. Hahahaha, like they’re going to fire their VP.

          Executives get fired for aggravated assholism and incompetence all the time. The problem is that they usually leave with millions of dollars in don’t-sue-us money.

        1. Not for this topic, specifically, but to put abortion and breast cancer (healthcare) into the sphere of debate. note that komen has not commented yet.

  7. Planned Parenthood saves lives and destroys lives, in the eyes of pro-life people. Of course we must refuse to support Planned Parenthood and any organization that funds PP, even if we acknowledge the good work PP does alongside providing abortion. To all those who are now calling for a boycott of the SGK Foundation, how is your call different from what the SGK Foundation did? I wrote to SGK to thank them for this decision and will be more inclined to support them in the future.

    1. When you justify harming lives with your ideology, I think you have to stop calling yourself pro-life.  Anti-choice, sure!  Scorched earth tactics have long been part of the anti-choice arsenal.  Pro-life, not so much, not if you cave on wedge issues & the collateral damage is actual, provable human people.

        1. As a teen I developed a response for the likes of you: “I used to have human rights once, for about 9 months, and then a funny thing happened on the way to the delivery room….”

          I have never met an anti-choicer who was willing to apologize to me for the torture (and multiple murder attempts) I suffered as a child.  Or even listen to me.  All that matters is that I — a very much unwanted fetus — was born.

          You have no moral ground to stand on.

        2. “I suppose we just disagree on what counts as a life”

          We definitely disagree on the value of a human life, yes.

    2. Oh yeah, you’re the guy who took over a thread to complain about us being mean to the Catholic Church by talking about the rapist priest scandals.  I believe that I may see a pattern here.

    3. Seriously? This is.. well this is fucked, I’m sorry. I can’t bring myself to fledge out a proper response – all I can articulate is that I believe something is deeply concerning with applying this tit for tat logic to critical services and it should be addressed before it leads to tangible harm.

      1. Having read SGK’s 2009 statement defending their funding of PP (which has been deleted from the SGK website) I’m less sure a pro-life person would be ethically obligated to refrain from supporting SGK. I suppose it is possible, as they claimed, that they were able to make sure their funding did not materially support PP’s abortion activities. But I don’t know what you mean about tit-for-tat logic. I believe a pro-life person should avoid collateral damage in all situations, whether it’s war, or (hypothetically) paying a company that manufactures lethal injections  to also manufacture vaccines, or paying an abortion provider to do breast cancer screenings. If you are saying pro-life people should not use the threat withholding breast cancer funding as a tool to coerce others into complying with their anti-abortion stance, I agree, that is offensive and wrong. But wouldn’t you agree that you personally are obligated to refuse to support an organization that you think is committing or paying for murder, even if they do other things you strongly agree with?

        1. But wouldn’t you agree that you personally are obligated to refuse to support an organization that you think is committing or paying for murder, even if they do other things you strongly agree with?

          I guess that means that you’ve been refusing to pay your taxes.

          1. They scream they can’t have any of their dollars going to murdering babies and get listened to.
            But if a pacifist were to demand their tax dollars not fun war, they would be the first ones screaming how unamaerican the pacifist is.
            Why is it their moral outrage is more important than anyone elses?

            If you hate abortion, don’t have one. 
            Do not think however you have the right to decide what other people get to do.
            Because then I’ll demand the right to force you to have gay sex, because its an important part of my beliefs.
            My imaginary freind is cooler than yours, we get a beer volcano and strippers.

          2. I’m not sure  that any of us from any ideology would give money to the government as part of their charitable giving. What’s your point?

          3. Antinous;
            Um… taxes aren’t voluntary?
            You know, I’m glad that BoingBoing posted this article, because I WILL send a letter to Komen explaining why I won’t be sending them money this year, but that answer was just lame. I would expect better from a BoingBoing moderator.

          4. What? He’s saying that he won’t send money to an organization that commits what he considers to be violence because it’s a matter of life and death. It’s perfectly reasonable to ask why his principle doesn’t extend to supporting the military or the death penalty or various other government-sponsored devivification programs.

          5. “It’s perfectly reasonable to ask why his principle doesn’t extend to supporting the military or the death penalty or various other government-sponsored devivification programs.”

            Um, what part of the word “voluntary” do you not understand?
            We ALL choose what charities we give our VOLUNTARY donations to.

            They don’t put you in jail for refusing to give to Planned Parenthood, or Komen, or any other charity.
            They DO put you in jail for refusing to pay your taxes, unless you’re rich enough to afford rather expensive attorneys.

            I just hate seeing moderators trolling.

          6. Can I gather then from your response that you refuse to support the military, death penalty etc. and don’t pay your taxes? Or are you in league with the murderers too?

        2. The public campaigns against vaccine manufacturers who also manufacter lethal injections don’t seem to be garnering quite as much attention though, do they. Can you point me to some? Are ‘lethal injections’ even a distinct product?

          1. I said “hypothetical” because I don’t know that any lethal injection manufacturer also makes vaccines. However, the politics of lethal injection cocktail drugs is one of the end run tactics death penalty opponents have used. I know because I used to lead a Catholic peace and justice activism group and the death penalty was our main cause. Second was opposing sanctions in Iraq and then the run up to the war. Although we were anti-abortion and would say so, be never did any activism about it. I’ve only been to one anti-abortion protest and carried a sign reading, “pro-life means no war, no death penalty, no abortion.” I got only positive comments from all the protesters carrying stock signs. Today I would add “universal health care” to that. Certainly anyone who doesn’t want Planned Parenthood screenings is obligated to advocate some other way of providing them, and my answer is Medicare/Medicaid. By the way, I. That group I lead we spent time as a group studying war tax resistance, and while I have chosen not to do it yet, others in the group did.

      2. “applying this tit for tat logic to critical services”

        Awareness > critical services.

        That’s all they’re concerned with.

    4. Here’s an interesting idea.  What if instead of working to make abortions illegal you just encouraged women not to have them, perhaps by advocating for giving pregnant women more support and more choices.  Like Obama said, “safe, legal, and rare.”  I doubt there are many “pro abortion” activists out there so the question really comes down to whether there are any situations in which abortion is justified (obviously there are) and what they are.

      Your conclusion that abortion is a form of murder is a metaphysical one clearly based on your belief in a soul.  Not everyone believes as you do and it’s not your place to try to make their behavior conform to your beliefs.  Work to convince people they don’t need to have abortions, fine, but working to make them illegal and to defund PP makes you seem like just another authoritarian Christian trying to force everyone else to conform to his beliefs.

      1. I don’t see why it matters why anyone thinks any particular act of killing is murder; all moral judgments rest on metaphysical premises. I honestly don’t know how to disentangle my beliefs about soul from my beliefs about murder; for me it is about the inherent value of human life, and that value rests on the ability or potential to witness existence and to will to love. That’s why I oppose all killing of human beings, including war, death penalty, deprivation, and abortion. I think I would maintain that position even if I didn’t believe in an immaterial soul, but I would still be basing my beliefs on metaphysical assumptions, as you must be if you believe any particular act of killing is murder. 

        Anyway it seems natural to me that all people would want to use all ethical means to prevent what they think is murder, and would want to refrain from supporting what they think is murder by refusing to fund it. Morality is a social institution and in a democracy it is the place of ever citizen to assert his political will, so I do think it is the place of every person to try to make others’ behavior conform to their own moral beliefs using the moral and political tools, at least when that behavior seriously impacts third parties such as fetuses.

         However, I agree that anti-abortion people (and everyone else, actually) have a responsibility to give pregnant women more support and choices. I am ambivalent about the effectiveness and ethics of attempting to criminalize abortion, so I do not support that strategy. I think it is probably more effective and certainly more loving to provide services and education that will lead women to not want an abortions when they have unwanted pregnancies.

        1. I don’t see why it matters why anyone thinks any particular act of killing is murder; all moral judgments rest on metaphysical premises.   I honestly don’t know how to disentangle my beliefs about soul from my beliefs about murder; for me it is about the inherent value of human life, and that value rests on the ability or potential to witness existence and to will to love.

          Yes, the point is that you don’t have any justification in forcing your metaphysics on other people.  As for how to disentangle your religious beliefs from your moral ones, consider the notion that it’s not some immaterial soul that gives human life its value — I and many other people are perfectly capable of valuing human life without imagining everyone is animated by spirits.  It starts with asking what it is that actually makes human life valuable. 

          You should also acknowledge that even among people with notions of a soul similar to your own your viewpoint on abortion being murder is hardly universal.  The Massachusetts Bay congregationalists of all people performed first trimester abortions — they believed life started at the “quickening,” the first beating of the foetal heart about six weeks into pregnancy.  This was rather typical prior to the twentieth century and modern medical knowledge about foetal development.

          But to me the moral issue is mostly besides the point.  The pragmatic issues are much more important.  Making abortions inaccessible doesn’t decrease the number of abortions performed but it does decrease the safety of the abortions performed and increases the number of women who die in the process.     The social institutions that administrate adoption, foster homes, and the state homes for parentless children are terribly underfunded to the point where there is little oversight.  I don’t even want to go into the specific problems because it will make me incredibly depressed. Planned Parenthood doesn’t only provide abortions, they provide a whole range of family planning services including information on and prescriptions for birth control — these services decrease the number of abortions performed by helping to prevent women from being in a situation where they might need one in the first place.

          Then there’s the fact that some very acerbic anti-choice advocates have themselves has abortions or encouraged their daughters to do so while maintaining an anti-choice stance.  The “My abortion is different crowd.”  I refuse to engage in moral arguments with moral hypocrites.

          1. My point was that I don’t see how my belief in souls relates to my beliefs about murder, and that I value human life because of “the ability or potential to witness existence and to will to love,” not because I because of the soul. I don’t see why naturalists couldn’t value human life for the same reason. Certainly there are pro-life atheists. My other point was that I don’t see how anyone involved in moral discourse or politics avoids imposing his metaphysics on others, or why a person who wants to be good would even try to do so. I though agree that the best way to be pro-life is to improve the outlook for women who choose to carry their pregnancy to birth, and that criminalization is the worst way. I’d like to find out more about the affects of making abortion inaccessible. I still think it is an unavoidable conclusion that anyone who thinks abortion is murder must refuse to pay for it, and so defunding is a legitimate response.

          2. Certainly there are pro-life atheists. My other point was that I don’t see how anyone involved in moral discourse or politics avoids imposing his metaphysics on others, or why a person who wants to be good would even try to do so.

            I bet if you did a poll on views on abortion the number of pro-life atheists would fail any test for statistical significance.  Haven’t met or talked to one yet.  And I don’t understand why all discourse on politics and morality involves imposing metaphysics on other people — I just don’t see it.  When I support the legality and accessibility of abortions that does not impose any metaphysics on you whatsoever.  You’re still free not to have an abortion.  I’m not sure what you mean with that “wants to be good” crap either but it smells a lot like the whole “atheists are immoral baby eaters trope.”  Just consider that humans are social animals that just naturally like to engage in healthy social behaviors with other humans, and that what we call “good” basically means “healthy social behaviors.” 

            Your “witness existence and will to love” notion is fine for naturalists but it doesn’t apply (IMHO) since foetuses do neither of those things.  And see below about your “unavoidable conclusion.”

          3. “I bet if you did a poll on views on abortion the number of pro-life atheists would fail any test for statistical significance.  Haven’t met or talked to one yet. ”

            Wasn’t Christopher Hitchens pro-life?

            There are plenty of South Park Republican types, angry skeptics but manage to internalize Social Conservative mores in their own smug sarcastic manner.

          4. I would consider myself a pro-life atheist, and I quite like Obama’s statement about making them ‘safe, legal and rare’. If the Wikipedia article on Hitchens is accurate, I would probably have similar views to him on that point (and only a few others – I imagine it would be very difficult for anyone to be completely in agreement with him). To be honest, I don’t have a huge amount of experience of the debate, but growing up in a conservative Christian environment I found the sort of squeamishness about sex to be counterproductive, while attending a number of events in university to raise awareness, I found almost the mirror image in a sort of  ‘condom only sex education’, where there was a squeamishness about discussing safe social practices regarding sex. I’d say it’s a dangerous precedent to frame the decision too much in terms of choice, as while there are questions of viability and so on, pregnancy is one time where a strict individualistic argument is too simplistic. We are dealing with a lot more than a ‘tumor’ or ‘appendix’ (I did hear these terms being used when discussing the issue with people) and the fact that the woman is needed for the baby’s survival doesn’t seem to be a particularly strong argument – the woman is still needed to a large extent after birth, while machines can keep a premature baby alive without the mother. 

            In my city in China, while abortion is very common, a number of people wait for the baby to reach full term, then leave them in a forest outside the city to die of exposure or be picked up (if you give a child directly to an orphanage you have to pay a fine, which many can’t afford). This is especially true if the baby is disabled in some way, as they probably won’t be able to support the parents later. The police  go to the forest every week to pick up the living ones and bring them to the main orphanage, while the dead ones are disposed of. We’ve been looking after a boy from the orphanage for the last year and a half and are hoping to adopt him, while we’re not sure of his history it’s relatively likely he comes from that background. 

        2. Anyway it seems natural to me that all people would want to use all ethical means to prevent what they think is murder, and would want to refrain from supporting what they think is murder by refusing to fund it.

          If I agreed to this I would have to refuse to pay taxes or participate in the industrial economy.  The fact that you’re on the internet right now instead of in jail or a homeless shelter suggests to me that you don’t quite live up to this either.

  8. My email to Ms. Brinker:

    My mother is a two-time survivor of breast cancer, and I have had several instances of abnormal cervical cells. When I was without insurance in my 20’s Planned Parenthood was the only place I could afford to get care. They found the abnormal cells and made sure I got treated. They saved my life as far as I’m concerned. Without them I would never have found those cells, and they could have turned into cervical cancer.

    My mother’s first cancer was found during her very first mammogram. I had to go to Planned Parenthood to get my first mammogram because I was laid off from my job and had no insurance. Thankfully it was just fine, but if Planned Parenthood wasn’t there I likely wouldn’t have been able to get screened.

    Planned Parenthood is a huge resource for those of us who have been without insurance and who have limited funds. They have the infrastructure to reach hundreds of thousands of women. To defund them due to 3% of their services and under political pressure is disgusting. You can’t play politics with women’s lives. I am absolutely appalled and disgusted by the decision.

    I am incredibly disappointed that you would do such a thing. The money I would have given to Komen I’ll now give to Planned Parenthood.

    1. Ms. Brinker,

      I was ashamed to learn that the Susan G. Komen Foundation had bowed to the anti-women’s health movement and withdrawn support from Planned Parenthood.  Planned Parenthood provides vital services for women’s health, especially in low-income areas where those services are difficult to obtain.  I stand with Planned Parenthood, and if the Foundation does not, then I cannot support it.  I desperately hope that your organization comes to its senses and puts women’s health ahead of anti-abortion politics.


  9. A member of my extended family has breast cancer, and really dislikes the Komen foundation. She explained to me that Komen is all about “raising awareness” and they don’t contribute to research at all. She finds the idea kind of insulting that people might not “be aware” or something. Enough with the awareness, we need more science!  

    1. I don’t remember where but I could swear in the travels I came across an article showing that several of the breast cancer walk events barely made enough money to pay for the event, and nothing or next to nothing actually went into stopping breast cancer.
      100 internets to someone who can find it.

  10. Again, I am reminded of a question I have had for a while now.  If the soul is the central theme of a christian religion, if the soul only inhabits the body before moving along to somewhere else, and if the soul can not be created by man & implicitly could not be destroyed by man – then how does the abortion of a physical body equate to the abortion of a soul? For certainly the soul will just begin it’s journey in another body. Or is all this pro-life nonsense based on the worship of the physical body?

  11. This is disgusting.

    Xeni, maybe it’s time to start a larger and better-funded cancer charity than the Komen Foundation that doesn’t discriminate?

  12. Any money that the pro-choice group pulls for their cutting funding will now be sent in by the pro-life group for their cutting funding.

    1. And you say this because? Because Christians claim to give “the most” to charity (through their tithes)?

  13. As I’ve read more into this, the Komen foundation have only been spending 17-20% (reports vary) on ‘the cure’, about 50% to ‘awareness’, and the remainder on fundraising and salaries.  the ‘awareness’ bit irks me.

    I’m really disgusted by this. Cancer doesn’t discriminate, neither should the cures. 

    It would be really great if BoingBoing could use its celebrity/traffic to push donations into either 1) an existing – more responsible – foundation or 2) a new one.  With the powers of the internet and our new social presences, it would be very easy to push awareness out…. consistently – and publicly – telling people who are doing a Komen fundraiser that they should work with another charity.

    1. I guess it depends on what “awareness” encompasses. I switched from supporting the Avon Breast Cancer Foundation to SGK because when my mother was diagnosed Avon was useless and I found helpful information for her on the SGK website.

    2. I stopped supporting SGK when I found out that they were also using donor funds to initiate legal action against other research entities and fundraising efforts who said “________ for the cure.”

  14. Plus, they like suing people after all, if you use the word “cure” in your charity’s name, you must be trying to fool people into thinking you are them.

  15. I guess I get why people are mad, but how many people gave money to Komen so it would go to Planned Parenthood? None. They gave money to Komen to “race for a cure” or whatever the hell they think that group does. If you want money to go to Planned Parenthood, then give money to Planned Parenthood.

    And, low income women in every state have access to the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program. There is a program out there for this already, how much money could Komen really be giving, and was any of it actually needed since the Feds already pay?

    1. The money went to Planned Parenthood with specific restrictions about its use, and those were honored.
      Because Federal Programs are so well funded and have no waiting times.
      How many people paid their taxes with the intent of having a 12 yr old rape victim thrown in GITMO, none… but we all funded his detention and abuse.

      The money was given to Komen so it would be used in programs to help educate and stop breast cancer, is there something about PP that makes them impossible of fulfilling that role?  Nope.  Is Komen opening their own centers for free/low cost screening to under-served women? No because reinventing the wheel when someone else has a perfectly good wheel is wasteful and stupid.

      I’m sorry that Komen deciding to actually use any of the huge amounts of cash to pull in to help actual real people got your panties in a bunch, but this cute little stunt is going to hurt all kinds of women now… so a bunch of people can feel they “won” the war on abortion.  These same people who bitch about birth control, welfare, medicaid, and a bunch of other social services that are required because they refuse to accept that if you force women to have children someone has to support them.

      We have children waiting for homes and someone to love them, abused in a system meant to warehouse them to the age of 18 because these same people want the right to make the decisions about who can care for and nurture a child.  But they will fight tooth and nail to avoid paying one penny to make sure the system is properly funded.

      People gave money to Komen to use in their fight against breast cancer, now they are pissed that they did just that.

      I wonder how many people are giving to their Churches and have no idea their money is being used to fund lobbying to block removing time limits on prosecuting rapists.  I don’t see many people protesting the idea that some Churches are using their money to support letting rapists go free because it took an 8 yr old 11 years to come forward instead of 10.

    2. “They gave money to Komen to “race for a cure” or whatever the hell they think that group does.”

      They should also be mad about that.

  16. A close friend of mine possibly has breast cancer — she has a lump, and she has no medical insurance. PP would have been a good option for at least a screening. Komen has now taken that meager option away from her and others in her position.

    As an aside, I think it’s amazing how fervent Repubs are about “Obamacare” — it certainly hasn’t given everyone free or even affordable medical coverage. The wife of another friend of mine in the Netherlands is currently undergoing breast cancer treatment (mastectomy, unfortunately) with the help of their national health care system. I wish both friends lived there right about now.

    1. That’s not true. There is no reason your friend couldn’t still go to Planned Parenthood. Less than 10% of all the mammograms Planned Parenthood did were paid for with Komen dollars in the last five years. And there is a Federal program to pay, which I’m sure Planned Parenthood can tell your friend all about.

  17. Every time I read or hear someone telling me they are “pro-life” I want to punch them in the mouth as hard as I can, which is only appropriate, since I am apparently “pro-death” anyway.

    1.  Well now you can say oh your “pro-life and pro-cancer” because every woman who can’t get screened now, who ends up with this horrible disease is directly your fault.  It often amazes me how their definition of life seems to rate the health and well being of a woman lower than every other concern.

    2. The terms should reflect the stance on the subject matter- ‘Pro-Abortion’ and ‘Anti-Abortion’.   Obviously both side like the broad words ‘choice’ and ‘life’ because they have nice positive associations.  Not sure which side switched their terminology first, but I’m sure it was becuase it polled better and then the other side would’ve done the same for the same reason. It’s only playing politics and it’s a joke.  Shame on both.

      1. WRONG. No one is “pro-abortion”. No one promotes abortions, no one goes up to teenaged girls and says “You have no other option than to abort”. No one likes the idea of abortion better than not having unwanted pregnancies at all.
        Shame on both? Pro-choice is the best way to illustrate the movement.

  18. SGK’s mission is to raise awareness about breast cancer and I think they are fulfilling that admirably.

    1) The internet is more aware now that Planned Parenthood do breast screenings and that people can donate directly to them and cut out the middle(wo)man.

    2) SGK’s apparently high administrative overhead compared to what they dole out for “awareness” suggests that other, similar charities might be better fit for purpose (this may not have been their intent but it could be a collateral result).

    3) Available data suggest that the “pink ribbon” brand may be lately problematic. The Dutch affiliate of Pink Ribbon was the subject last fall of an investigative TV program that found it, like SGK, also had a high overhead and its directors seemed to be more interested in schmoozing with celebs and burnishing Estee Lauder’s image than in actually raising breast cancer awareness. (They also stupidly tried to pick a fight with a fairly well-known Dutch writer who had lost a breast to cancer and has faced down bigger assholes, like Scientology.)

    1. “SGK’s mission is to raise awareness about breast cancer and I think they are fulfilling that admirably. ”

      Who isn’t aware of Cancer? The only people who benefit from “awareness” campaigns are Komen, Corporations, and ribbon manufacturers.

  19. I’m glad everyone is morally outraged, really I am. But there is a far more important question that needs to be answered, either in the post or by someone here. 

    Who should I give my money to? Seriously. I’ve long disliked SGK for their ridiculous trademark lawsuits against other breast cancer charities (because that’s what it’s all about, trademarks, and not raising more money to fight cancer).  But please name a different cancer research charity that needs support. I mean it. Let’s start lavishing our attention on them. I want SGK to realize that this is a bad decision (a morally reprehensible one really), but I also want to make sure that the cause they are supposed to represent continues to move forward and not backward.

    So there it is. Who do I give my  money to now? Is SGK still the best place to funnel these funds through, regardless of this choice? Does this choice reduce their efficacy now (since SKG apparently no longer cares about poor women’s breasts)? Is there another breast cancer foundation out there that does better work, uses it’s donations more effectively or doesn’t engage in the PR shenanigans that SGK has for the last decade? 

    That’s the only comment I’m interested in at this point. Yes, we’re all indignant and angry. Gnash your teeth in unison, oh internet! But I’m much more interested in a solution to a problem right now than I am in the gnashing of teeth. Somebody help me find an answer.

    1. American Cancer Society seems at least more oriented towards funding research and less towards “awareness” than SGK.  Why not just google “cancer charities” and do some shopping?  You don’t even need to get out of your seat.

      1. They do refuse funding from “controversial” groups, Gays, Atheists, that might reduce their other donations, however that at least seems more consistent and less sleazy than the Pinkwashing.


      FWIW, I didn’t read your comment as smug. Plus, I’d been looking for a place to make this recommendation in this thread.

      Last I looked, Livestrong was highly rated in terms of the ratio of donations to productive work. They, of course, aren’t limited to the breast cancer sphere. The America Cancer Society gets poor marks for their high overhead.

  20. Sent (and currently acting upon):

    Dear Ms. Brinker,

    I’ve recently learned that your organization has decided to cease funding for Planned Parenthood, damaging their ability to offer screenings to low-income women for breast and cervical cancer.

    If this proves to be true, I regret to inform you that your organization has lost the direct contributions that my family makes, as well as our sponsorship for individuals participating in Susan B. Komen “Race for the Cure” events. Additionally, I will be advising all my acquaintances who are Race for the Cure participants (I personally know more than 10, and network with numerous others) of your organization’s decision and its likely impacts. Of course, I cannot speak for the mindsets of people I know only from online. But I do know my personal friends and acquaintances quite well, and I expect that a number of them will opt to no longer participate, working instead with organizations that do not place interest-group pressure ahead of women’s health.

    I deeply regret the necessity of this action.


  21. I was a very proud captain of a Komen Race For the Cure team.  I have already emailed my local affiliate to express my dissatisfaction with Komen’s bad decision and have resigned as team captain (and have asked to be taken off all mailing lists). 

    I do, though, still plan to raise money from my team…. for PLANNED PARENTHOOD as this organization provides invaluable healthcare to those otherwise marginalized in our society, including mammogram screenings!  Fight not just with words, but with your checkbook, too!  Every single dollar counts these days.

  22. Why not donate to Planned Parenthood to support their on-going mammogram screenings for the poor and under-served?

  23. wow…..btw-would everyone please stop using the term, “pro-life”, it is truly a misnomer verging on propoganda.  When, indeed, they are in fact nothing more than “ANTI-choice”.

    1.  No no they are all for choice, as long as they are the ones that get to make it for everyone else.

  24. I sent an actual letter to CEO Nancy Brinker of Susan G. Komen, it has me that incensed. I’m hoping they reverse course before it arrives, but if not, I hope I was able to make the case that SGK is going into the toilet over this. My sister-in-law is going through chemo right now. My best friend’s wife just finished chemo a while back and is — so far — clean. My wife had a close associate go under the knife recently for a double-mastectomy. Women are being ravaged by this disease, and the best way to avoid this is early detection. How an organization that promotes such a course can deny women of limited means the ability to avoid the pain and suffering of radiation and chemo and mastectomy is beyond ludicrous. I won’t spend a dime on SGK, won’t attend their events, won’t frequent those companies/organizations that do business with them (where practicable) , and will continue to promote a general boycott of them. To politicize breast cancer by dragging it into the anti-choice realm is reprehensible.

  25. Just wait, “pregnancy crisis centers” are going to open up breast screening so the money goes entirely to fundamentalist pockets.

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