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Susan G. Komen Foundation's Nancy Brinker Fights Back

By Katherine Stone |

susan g komen planned parenthood

Did the Susan G. Komen Foundation go too far?

On Monday we told you the news that the Susan G. Komen Foundation decided to cease funding Planned Parenthood.

The backlash over that decision has reached far and wide, with Planned Parenthood raising more than $400,000 in just a few days and people all over the country vowing to discontinue their support of the Susan G. Komen Foundation and place their dollars to support a breast cancer cure elsewhere.  The increased donations almost make up for the loss of the grant money the Komen Foundation gave to Planned Parenthood last year.

Many who oppose the Komen Foundation’s move blame it on the founder of the foundation, Komen’s sister Nancy Brinker. According to Jezebel, she is openly Republican and recently hired a Republican politician from Georgia, Karen Handel, as senior vice president of policy. Some believe Brinker and Handel were looking for ways they could cut ties to Planned Parenthood because it provides abortion service.  The Atlantic reports that John Hammarley, a former senior communications advisor at Komen, said the organization had, “… caved to pressure from the anti-abortion right.”

Now the Susan G. Komen Foundation is fighting back.  The Washington Post reports their statement issued to the media said the organization, “… cut funding to Planned Parenthood after it ‘implemented more stringent eligibility and performance criteria.’ It also said: ‘While it is regrettable when changes in priorities and policies affect any of our grantees, such as a longstanding 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.’” Other news organizations have indicated one of the reasons Komen ended the grants is because Planned Parenthood is under a Congressional investigation as to whether it has used government funding to provide abortions.

Here is the video featuring Nancy Brinker about why the Susan G. Komen Foundation elected to stop funding Planned Parenthood:


What do you think of her statement? Do you think the Susan G. Komen Foundation should have the right to choose which organizations it funds?  Or are you angry and do you plan to stop supporting them>

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About Katherine Stone


Katherine Stone

Katherine Stone is the founder of the most widely-read blog in the world on postpartum depression, Postpartum Progress. She writes about parenting and maternal child health on Babble Voices and Babble Cares, as well as at Huffington Post Parents. Katherine is a mom of two and lives in Atlanta. Follow her on Twitter at @postpartumprog. Read bio and latest posts → Read Katherine's latest posts →

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22 thoughts on “Susan G. Komen Foundation's Nancy Brinker Fights Back

  1. Schmutzie says:

    Of course they should have the right to choose where their funding goes, but we have the right to choose to withdraw our support from an organisation whose work and motives are questionable and that pays its CEO just shy of $500,000 a year.

  2. LR Rocchio says:

    I will never give a dime to the Susan G. Komen organization. There are many other reputable cancer researchers, this one should be marginalized just as they marginalize low income women.

  3. goddess says:

    That’;s fine. I ‘ve withdrawn my support for all Komen Foundation events/fundraisers.etc. and am directing their portion toward Planned Parenthood from this point forward.
    A woman is far more than just her breasts.

  4. IlinaP says:

    I think she sounds like a politician who’s been schooled by her crisis management team of handlers. There is no sense of compassion here. Besides, Susan G. Komen is guilty of more than this debacle, and I’ve been skeptical of its marketing tactics for a while…

    I’ll support other organizations that support women, all women. I’m taking off my rose colored glasses.

  5. fullspectrummom says:

    Why punish Komen? They haven’t changed their mission. It’s “Komen for the Cure”. Breast Cancer cure is not the focus of Planned Parenthood. Komen has the right to direct it’s funding where it will have the biggest impact on finding a cure for cancer. Furthermore, it is perfectly logical to withhold funding from an organization (Planned Parenthood) which is under federal investigation for misappropriation of funds.

  6. Linda, T.O.O. says:

    “The increased donations almost make up for the loss of the grant money the Komen Foundation gave to Planned Parenthood last year.” What excellent news. If Komen is going to show it’s true colors (they onlyc are about the health of rich women) then so can we.

  7. Dan Kuhr says:

    May Gaia unleash all sorts of cancer on Brinker and her Republican sisters only to rely on prayer to release them from their pain. Fed up with Republican neo-fascism, let them drown in their money.

  8. Dan Kuhr says:

    May Gaia unleash all forms of cancer to Brinker and her Republican sisters. Let them rely on prayer to relieve them of their pain. Fed up with Republican neo-fascism. Drown in your ideological delusions!

  9. Diera says:

    I am totally sure there is no way this rule about Congressional investigations could be used to pull Komen funding from anything politically inconvenient! Specifically, I find it COMPLETELY unlikely that someone with connections within the Republican party could, say, ask someone sympathetic in Congress to open an investigation specifically for the purpose of disqualifying an organization from getting Komen funds. Completely unlikely. There’s no way that happened. No way at all.

  10. StF says:

    Mrs. Brinker may direct funds to where ever she see’s fit. Komen evidently found their ‘cure’ with Life Decisions International – ‘prayer cures everything’.
    Sounds like the Komen organization is just a front to pass money to select wealthy women, insurance companies, and pharmaceutical companies.
    I would rather support Planned Parenthood than wealthy Dallas Socialites.

  11. sarahh says:

    When I watched that video last night (I used to be a donor to the SGKF, but no more until they reverse this), all I could think was that it was the most words I’ve ever heard someone use to say absolutely nothing of substance. And as far as the federal investigation, that’s just a political witch hunt with no substance behind it. The “policy change” by SGKF that barred grants from organizations under state or federal investigation had some pretty nifty timing.

  12. Karen Fein says:

    This breast cancer survivor is done with Komen and everything pink! Stop using woman dealing with the horror of breast cancer as your object for raising funds. We (and our breasts and wombs) are treated as objects all over the world. Here, they are trying to take away our choices. If you don’t want or believe in abortion don’t have one. In China and India women are forced to abort if the baby isn’t a boy! Leave our bodies alone. They don’t belong to the right or left wings. They belong to us. I will not support anything or anyone who tries to force their beliefs down my throat. I fell for your scheme once SGK. No more. Women unite. We have to fight this yet AGAIN. NO MORE WIRE HANGERS!!!! I am so angry. But also energized and I hope thousands and thousands of women who claim their bodies will join the fight.

  13. Alicia says:

    She’s so full of hot air. What a great way to talk and not explain a thing. Also, Planned Parenthood isn’t under investigation for misappropriation of funds, but for possible misuse, but even then the whole investigation was started by rich Repubs who want to drown Planned Parenthood out any way they can. But that has nothing to do with breast cancer screenings. And I’m fine with people defending and supporting SGK with this, but get your facts straight.

  14. Shandeigh says:

    Planned Parenthood has been under investigation for a long time for misusing it’s funds. The Koman foundation is for breast cancer… planned parenthood is about reproductive issues. I think their money is better spent somewhere where it will be used for it’s intended purpose. Not everything is about abortion… people need to relax.

  15. Chris Dalton says:

    Since Reproductive issues do seem to involve WOMEN- it seems that, yet again, women are at the heart of this controversy. Why do we NOT see organizations pulling away from, let see, help to buy Viagara, or Prostate Cancer screenings-
    hmmmm…..Yep, it is the female who is the one with the womb. It is also the female who is most in need of mammograms, and Cervical cancer screenings. Women who can’t afford health care for themselves look to Planned Parenthood….Guess the Komen Foundation only cares for the Ta-Tas..

  16. Tracy says:

    Nancy Brinker is a hardcore, Texas Republican who is Mitt Romney level rich and has zero compassion for people not in her socio economic class. The ONLY way any of this will genuinely get her attention is if the Susan G. Komen Foundation starts to lose substantial levels of money. Otherwise, it is merely something she can use as a fundraising tool with the religious right donors and will be viewed as a positive. Personally, I’ve thrown out all my Yoplait yogurt and will not buy it again as long as they’re sponsoring this (or any other) anti-choice organization. I also don’t eat at Chick-Fil-A.

  17. sarahh says:

    Shandeigh, actually, Planned Parenthood provides a variety of services including, but not limited to, STD testing for both men and women, well exams, yearly breast exams, cancer screenings (breast exams, PAPs, and referrals for mammograms), and prenatal care – abortions are only about 3% of the services they offer. They’re the primary source of well care for women who are medically underserved, either due to a lack of insurance or other care options for other reasons, and they provide a darn good service. If the Komen foundation is supposed to exist to help all women get access to routine cancer screening, I can’t think of another organization that has as broad a reach as PP – they’re in more areas than indigent care clinics, so in a lot of cases they’re women’s only option.
    Also, PP has not been “under investigation” for a long time – it’s been “under investigation” off and on since about last winter when certain members of congress tried to cut off all funding to them because they do provide abortions – even though there has been absolutely no evidence that they have used federal dollars for abortions. It’s a witch hunt, nothing more, and only speaks to the rampant mysogyny among those members of our congress, and the people who elect them.
    I hope for all our sakes that the tide shifts soon and women and our bodies are no longer used as political pawns, and I hope by the time it does, we aren’t back to being little more than expendable incubators.

  18. Pamela Black says:

    To the Susan G Komen Foundation,

    I have raised many dollars and walked many miles for this cause and organization.
    Your recent actions are deplorable, inexcusable and quite possibly the stupidest move I have ever seen.
    Once respected for incredible success in fund raising and commitment to a goal and actually making progress toward that goal, you have managed to offend a group from which you get your most heartfelt support and where you have done the most good.
    Religious or political purposes do not have a place in your organization, at least not the organization I have supported. Perhaps I should have done more research about the true agenda of your organization, though the message to find a cure seemed beautifully simple and clear to me.

    I will not walk again this year….I think this would have been my fifth year. I will not contact everyone I can possibly think of to ask them to part with their very hard earned dollars to support your organization….ever again.

    Perhaps some might think that there is a reasonable explanation for your actions or that you simply had no choice. But you did have a choice. You made the wrong one. You have done irreparable harm to the name of Komen and that is not something you will ever be able to undo. You have sent a very strong message to both sides of this issue.

    To the hateful and intolerant people you have sent a message that they have power they should not have, even power over the sincere, strong and brave women and men all over this country who have walked sixty miles in three days in the support of your cause to end breast cancer. And believe me we were not walking for the cause you now show yourselves to support.

    You sent a message to those strong and sincere women and men all over this country that without warning the power they feel from their commitment to finding a cure could be taken away and replaced with shame to even be associated with the name Komen. Taking that power away, creating an association to a way of thinking I do not share, turning something so good into something so wrong……this is something you had no right to do.

    There is another possibility, other than having made an incredibly stupid decision and that is that you wish to do damage to Planned Parenthood in an effort to make your statement about the right to abortion in this country. If that is the case……then (pardon the expression) grow a pair! Don’t turn Komen into a sneaky behind the scenes deal maker for the frightened right in this country. Boldly stand up for what you believe and make your organization into what it truly appears to be. Don’t hide behind the passion that finding a cure evokes. Stand up proudly and say we are ‘right to lifers working on a cure for breast cancer’. I’m sure you will get plenty of support (not mine, of course) and you won’t have done it in such a smarmy fashion.

    My beliefs on this matter are strong and apparently so are yours. But that didn’t belong in our relationship. I knew Komen because I believed in finding a cure and kept my politics for another arena. But you did not! Shame on you!

  19. ctydwlrs says:

    I am husband and father of 21 year old twin daughters. I am extremely saddened by the decision of the SGKF to no longer approve grants simply based on an investigation. They have the right to fund whoever they feel will serve their interests best. It just seems to me that they should wait for an outcome of an investigation rather than simply making these moves based on an accusation. I believe that in our country we are innocent until proven guilty but that is not the case here. I am not wealthy but the small contribution my family was making to the SGKF will shift and go directly to PP.

  20. bettywu says:

    They give millions to Penn State to do research. Penn State is currently under federal investigation. Think they’ll stop funding them too?

  21. Debbie says:

    I believe abortions should be safe and legal. Several of my close friends had abortions. I supported them because I love my friends. I am pro-choice because I know women would opt for unsafe abortions if the government prohibited them. However, I believe abortion is tragic. I do believe that life is sacred, and I do believe that abortion ends a life. I would not personally donate to an organization that gives money to Planned Parenthood. I do not oppose other people donating money or government funding for Planned Parenthood. I’ve never given money to Komen and have opted to support other breast cancer charities because I was uncomfortable donating money to an organization that provides abortions. This doesn’t make me right-wing. It doesn’t mean that I oppose women’s choice. And I believe there are many other women like me who are pro-choice but deeply saddened by abortion. I think that you should donate to Planned Parenthood if you support Planned Parenthood, but I’m not sure why Komen would be obligated to support Planned Parenthood. And if I choose not to donate to Planned Parenthood, that doesn’t mean I don’t care about women’s health. I know pro-life women who have donated to Komen without knowing it supported Planned Parenthood. They thought they were donating to fund breast cancer research and were later horrified to discover that they’d given money to an organization (Planned Parenthood) that directly funds abortions. They felt a bit deceived. To be fair, I can see why they would be offended. They thought they were giving to a politically neutral organization, but the donation to Planned Parenthood (even though it was allocated for screenings) is not politically neutral. Planned Parenthood is also an advocacy organization on behalf of abortion rights. If a right-wing group offered free mammography in addition to advocacy against gay marriage, would you be ok with Komen donating to them? Be honest. It wouldn’t matter how valuable the mammography service was. The advocacy against gay marriage would make the group offensive. So why is it so hard to see why pro-life women object to Komen funding Planned Parenthood?

  22. arlene bates says:

    when I gave my donations to the cure it was for the cure of cancer not Planned Parent hood.Im sick and tired of deceptive pleas for money for an Honest cause then you find out the money really goes somewher else.Susan Komen will not get another penny,Ill find another charity that cares about cancer not birth control,they are not the same.

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