Susan G. Komen charity halts grants to Planned Parenthood


WASHINGTON, D.C. — The nation's leading force in the battle for breast cancer, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, has ended funding grants to Planned Parenthood.

Pro-life advocates, who had urged Komen to take such action for years, applauded the news, which was reported Jan. 31 by the Associated Press. Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) confirmed the report in a release the same day.

Komen's decision appears to be an important — though largely symbolic — one in what is an ongoing effort by pro-lifers inside and outside Congress to publicize Planned Parenthood's abortion business and reduce public funding for the organization. It would not appear to inflict much financial damage on PPFA and its affiliates, which received $487.4 million in government grants, contracts and reimbursements alone in 2009-10, the most recent year for which statistics are available.

Komen's affiliates gave more than $600,000 to Planned Parenthood during 2009-10, the last year for which stats are available. Komen said the money was for breast exams, but the fact that Planned Parenthood is the nation's largest abortion provider caused pro-life organizations to criticize the Komen-Planned Parenthood ties.

Planned Parenthood affiliates offer physical breast exams, but not mammograms.

Komen had tried to distance itself from Planned Parenthood's abortion practices, saying in previous statement that "under no circumstances are Komen funds used to fund abortions or other non-breast services."

Carol Tobias, president of the National Right to Life Committee, wrote a column in the October issue of Legatus — a Catholic business magazine — bemoaning the fact that Susan G. Komen, often seen as a worthy charity, has ties to Planned Parenthood.

"If Komen's mission is to find a cure for breast cancer, why are they giving huge sums of money to Planned Parenthood, the nation's largest abortion provider?" she asked. "... Komen says the grants are used to fund breast exams and mammograms. However, numerous reports confirm that Planned Parenthood doesn't do mammograms. What Planned Parenthood does do is abortion."

Planned Parenthood released a statement expressing alarm at the Komen move to stop funding and blamed pressure from pro-life groups.

"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.

However, Komen spokeswoman Leslie Aun, said the cutoff resulted 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, according to Fox News.

Richards also indicated that existing grants will continue between Komen and Planned Parenthood but will be ineligible for new grants. According to Fox News one affiliate in California, Planned Parenthood of Orange and San Bernardino Counties, had received a Komen grant for 2011 and was able to obtain an additional grant of $120,000 for 2012 by signing the deal with its local Komen counterpart just before Komen's new policy took effect.

As the country's leading abortion provider, Planned Parenthood reported its clinics performed 329,445 abortions in 2010. That was more than one-fourth of the lethal procedures in the United States for the year.

Planned Parenthood's abortion business makes it an unworthy recipient for funds to prevent breast cancer, pro-lifers have told Komen for years. Increasingly, pro-lifers withheld support from the foundation and refused to participate in its popular five-kilometer, fund-raising runs/walks that draw more than 1.6 million participants yearly.

Pro-life groups are praising the decision that the Susan G. Komen Foundation is halting further grants and donations to Planned Parenthood pending an investigation of the abortion giant by Congress.

"In a civilized society we should protect innocent lives: victims of breast cancer and abortion alike," said Steven H. Aden, Alliance Defense Fund Senior Counsel. "[We] applaud Komen for seeing the contradiction between its life-saving work and its relationship with an abortionist that has ended millions of lives."

Charmaine Yoest, president of Chicago-based Americans United for Life and a breast cancer survivor, said, "The work of the Komen Foundation has life-saving potential and should not be intertwined with an industry dealing in death. When I learned that the foundation was using donated funds to support abortion providers, I stopped running in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. In the future, I'll be racing with them to support this courageous decision."

Komen also has received criticism from some pro-life advocates for refusing to acknowledge studies that indicate a link between abortion and breast cancer. Some pro-lifers also have said Komen has contributed money to embryonic stem cell research, which results in the destruction of human embryos. In a Nov. 30 statement, Komen denied it had ever funded such experimentation, saying it supports research only on stem cells "derived without creating a human embryo or destroying a human embryo."

Rep. Cliff Stearns, R.-Fla., is leading an investigation of Planned Parenthood by the House Energy and Commerce Committee. In a Sept. 15 letter to Richards, Stearns asked PPFA's president to provide audits, documentation, policies and procedures regarding such issues as improper billing, segregation of federal funds from abortion services and reporting of suspected sex abuse and human trafficking.

Planned Parenthood has been plagued by various scandals in recent years. Secret investigations by pro-life organizations have uncovered PPFA workers demonstrating a willingness to aid self-professed sex traffickers whose prostitutes supposedly are in their early teens, seeking to cover up alleged child sex abuse, and agreeing to receive donations designated for abortions of African-American babies.

BP news was used in this report

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