Does it really matter that the Susan G. Komen Branch in San Diego does not give money to Planned Parenthood?

by on February 7, 2012 · 20 comments

in Health, Popular, The Widder Curry, Women's Rights

Today I received the following letter from the San Diego Branch of the Susan G. Komen For The Cure:

We have a very small office here in San Diego – so that the majority of the money we raised can go right back to the community.  Last week’s political firestorm shook each of us to the core.  It may also have rocked you.  For the first time in my six years here, the integrity of this organization was questioned.  Even after we took responsibility for the mistake and moved quickly to fix the problem, some said they would never have anything to do with Komen again. 

Okay.  I understand that.  Everyone needs to make decisions that they can live with and feel good about.

But here’s the truth.  While some may leave us, we will never leave you or the uninsured women that we fight for every day here in San Diego.

I want to make sure this is clear:

• In San Diego, Planned Parenthood has not applied for Komen funds. Instead, we have been able to help thousands of local uninsured and underinsured women by funding access to breast cancer screening and treatment in partnership with the Council of Community Clinics. 

• In the 19 counties around the Country where local Komen affiliates were funding Planned Parenthood for breast health services only, those grants would have continued through the end of the grant cycle. 

• Komen would never have left poor, uninsured or medically underserved women without services.  Never. 

• Since 1995, Komen San Diego has distributed more than $10.5 million in local grant funds to organizations across our County. Another $5 million has funded international research. Next to the U.S. government, Susan G. Komen for the Cure is the largest funder of breast cancer research in the world. 

• Of every dollar raised, 75% stays local; 25% funds international research. The majority of the money we grant is raised largely through the efforts of our Race for the Cure – the 16th in the series is coming up on Sunday, November 4.

Without the dollars raised at the Race for the Cure, there are no funds to distribute.

Breast cancer is an indiscriminate killer of mothers, sisters, daughters, and friends. We hope we can count on your support so that we can continue to deliver on our important mission of providing breast health programming to the women and men of San Diego County.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be reaching out to you.  Please don’t wait to tell us.”

It is not surprising that I did not wait to give them my answer. Here it is:

My daughter sent me your note about the flap over the Planned Parenthood/Susan G. Komen fiasco of last week. I have mixed thoughts about your answer and how I can ever support the SGK funding again.

I am a 16 year breast cancer survivor.  My daughters have walked in the “3 day” numerous times. I have written two cookbooks with all the proceeds going to the fund.  One of my daughter’s lost all her toenails in a rainy walk. The pain was worth the possible benefits of a breast cancer cure.  If I were to add up the amount of monies I have contributed over the years it would be in excess of $20,000.

It is all well and good that OUR branch does not have anything to do with funding of Planned Parenthood, a group I support as a female, a mother and grandmother, and as an educator working with “at-risk” women.  But what is the premise of the SGK fund.  Isn’t it all for one? Aren’t we all seeking a cure to his insidious disease? What difference does it make if  San Diego does not cut the funding  when the goal is to find a cure.

As so much of this world today, politics has reared its ugly head into something where it does not belong. Until Karen Handel is removed from her position with the organization, I do not feel that I can lend support to the Susan G. Komen foundation.  I, personally don’t care what is happening here in San Diego; rather I care what is happening and what will happen nationally when the cure is found.

Thank you for giving me an opportunity to voice my thoughts.

Please write to Karen and let her know how you feel.

{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Andy Cohen February 7, 2012 at 10:43 am

Coupla things: Karen Handel has “stepped down” from her post at SGK effective immediately. Nancy Brinker lied about Handel’s involvement and influence in this process as documented by the Huffington Post. Why should anyone trust them again? More on that in a minute……

As far as their point that “In San Diego, Planned Parenthood has not applied for Komen funds,” what difference does that make? Planned Parenthood stands for women’s health just like SGK does, if not more so. What this indicates to me is that even here in the San Diego chapter, the SGK SD is more concerned with right wing ideology with regards to support for Planned Parenthood. “We don’t give them any money, so it’s okay” rings very hollow. The question to me is, why don’t you support Planned Parenthood? Why don’t you support an organization whose chief mission is women’s health in general, but ancillary to that is to prevent unwanted pregnancies? All of a sudden SGK is anti-contraception? And isn’t the best way to prevent abortions to prevent unwanted pregnancies in the first place?

SGK has now unequivocally aligned themselves with the ideological right. If you don’t share their religious convictions against abortion and contraception, then they will not support you. That is the message they have delivered, inadvertently or not. What was once among the most highly regarded non-partisan organization in the world has taken political sides. Can’t take that back. And so now, knowing where SGK’s priorities really lie, people are going to have to decide for themselves whether or not they are willing to continue to support SGK. My feeling is that support will line up along party lines. And that’s a shame.


judi Curry February 7, 2012 at 11:26 am

So right on, Andy. I can never view SGK in the same way. They have destroyed, in my own mind, any credibility they had before. Thanks for your input.


Annie February 7, 2012 at 4:48 pm

Great response, Judi. I’m glad that you took the time to write them, as I think it’s important for them to hear what everyday people are thinking instead of the high-horse politicians they seemed to have been taking their cues from lately.

Andy, I agree with everything you’ve said. As far as Karen Handel resigning, it’s fair, but it’s not enough – and that’s because of the point you brought up: Nancy Brinker flat out lied about her involvement. Here’s the link you posted on the petition article in which she says that Handel had nothing to do with the decision:

Brinker’s apology was deserved but insincere as it still didn’t acknowledge their true political intention. I’m much more willing to forgive someone when they say, “Hey, I’m really sorry. I messed up, and I don’t know what I was thinking doing that.” Not, “Uh, OK, we’re sorry and all, but it wasn’t what you thought.”


The Bearded OBcean February 7, 2012 at 2:08 pm

What’s interesting about all of this is that pro-choice individuals are outraged that a private foundation made a choice with which they disapprove. Be it political or not, who cares? They’re a private foundation and can do with their money what they choose, right? Abortion is deeply divisive, whichever side you support, and as such, an organization that performs 330,000 abortions each year will necessarily cause division. If you no longer choose to support Komen, then don’t. If you want to show continued support for PP, then donate money to them.

But isn’t also deceptive of an organization, Komen in this instance, to accept money from pro-life individuals as well, while providing support to PP without making that support implicit? It’s difficult to certify that none of that money was used in the issuance of abortion. So it goes both ways.


Annie February 7, 2012 at 4:35 pm

I’d really only consider it truly deceptive if the money that Komen provided to PP was used for abortion services, or even contraception (for the real crazies out there who consider that abortion). The money was used for breast exams for women who otherwise might not ever receive one. A breast exam is a breast exam no matter where you get it.


Andy Cohen February 7, 2012 at 5:25 pm

Here’s the thing: Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation has, since its inception, been a non-partisan charitable foundation whose sole mission was to raise funds to promote breast cancer awareness, prevention, treatment, and to find a cure. Political ideology never played into anything they did. It was an organization that was universally admired and supported, and was about as apolitical as they come…….as they should be, because breast cancer is not a political issue. It doesn’t strike only Democrats or Republicans, it doesn’t discriminate between liberals and conservatives. It was one of those few issues that EVERYONE could come together on.

Suddenly, ostensibly because of the involvement of Karen Handel, the foundation has decided to take sides in a political fight. It is no longer a non-partisan organization. By supporting Susan G. Komen Foundation, in effect you are taking sides in the pro-choice/pro-life debate, you are declaring that birth control pills are evil and should be outlawed, and contraception in general is a moral outrage.

SGK was seen as a noble leader in an important fight. They were above the political muck, which directly affected their ability to become the world’s leader in supporting breast cancer research and awareness. Now they’re just another politicized organization that forces you to take sides in a debate that should have nothing to do with their core mission. Planned Parenthood is a vital resource in every way shape and form for millions of women (and men) across the country. Abortions are a very small part of what they do, and it is a service provided as an absolute last resort. Prevention is their main mission, their focus. They deserve our support too. The ideological right has politicized Planned Parenthood and vilified them. SGK has joined that chorus.


judi Curry February 7, 2012 at 7:04 pm

Thanks Andy. You put it so succinctly there is nothing I want to add. (What? The “widder” is speechless?)


The Bearded OBcean February 8, 2012 at 10:45 am

Just an aside, but I’m not sure that abortion is a service of last resort, something like 90% of pregnant women who consult with PP end up with an abortion, with only a small minority receiving prenatal care or being referred to adoption services. This isn’t to debate the merits of being pro-choice or pro-life, though.

What is often lost in the debate, however, is the dark history of PP’s founder, Margaret Sanger, who was a deeply-rooted racist and eugenicist. While she is considered a pioneer in liberal circles, she was aligned in her eugenics ideology with Nazi’s, giving a forum to them in her Birth Control Review while also speaking at KKK rallies.

So to say that it’s the ideological right that has politicized PP is a bit of a stretch.


Andy Cohen February 8, 2012 at 12:22 pm

1) To say that I am skeptical of your claim that “90% of pregnant women who consult with PP end up with an abortion” is a massive understatement. I’d like to see proof of that claim, because it sounds an awful lot like Jon Kyl’s #notintendedtobeafactualstatement claim that “well over 90% of what Planned Parenthood does is abortion.” FACT: Abortion services account for only 3% of all of the services that Planned Parenthood provides. Look up the multitude of posts the Washington Post’s Ezra Klein has done on the subject. Should be really easy to find.

2) “I’m not sure that abortion is a service of last resort……..” So it’s your contention that a majority of women treat abortion as some casual form of birth control? Like it’s just as simple as taking a pill? You think that when a woman finds out that she’s unexpectedly 8 weeks pregnant that she’s not absolutely HORRIFIED at the prospect of having an abortion? I defy you to find a woman for whom it is NOT an excruciating, stressful, and extremely emotional decision that could have long term psychological effects. That woman will be very hard to find, and when you do find her I’ll show you a woman that has some serious issues.

Women who go to Planned Parenthood to consult on abortion services never intended to get pregnant in the first place, otherwise they would not be there. The “morning after pill” is not an option for them because they’re too far along in the pregnancy to use it. To suggest that the decision to have an abortion is made callously and without any emotional (or even physical) distress is pretty ignorant of you. It is NEVER a decision made lightly. But it is an important option for a woman to have.


Patty Jones February 8, 2012 at 12:32 pm

Thank you, Andy.


The Bearded OBcean February 8, 2012 at 2:42 pm

To further the discussion regarding your first point, I did not say, nor imply, that 90% of PP’s services were for abortion, rather that 90% of pregnant consultations end up in abortion.

As to your 2nd point, I would refer you to PP’s own website Q&A wherein it states: (however I was referring to it not being a last resort for PP; for the woman, it may entirely be a choice of last resort)

Is having an abortion emotionally and psychologically dangerous?

No. Most women feel relief after an abortion. Serious emotional problems after abortion are much less likely than they are after giving birth. But anti choice extremists make false claims about this. They want people to believe that most women who choose abortion suffer severe and long lasting emotional trauma. This is not true.

For more than 20 years, most scientific studies have found that emotional reactions to having abortion are relatively positive with two exceptions. Women who have psychological problems before the pregnancy and subsequent abortion continue to have them afterward. Also, women who have to terminate an intended pregnancy are more likely to be emotionally disturbed afterward.

Anti-choice extremists refuse to accept the facts. They insist that “post abortion trauma” is real. They hope that such terms will frighten women away from choosing abortion. But neither the American Psychological Association nor the American Psychiatric Association recognizes the existence of such phenomena — because there’s no such thing.

I see that you chose not to discuss the dark history of PP and its founder, which is fine, and not altogether surpising, as it is reprehensible.

And again, this isn’t to take sides in the debate of being pro-life or pro-choice, but rather to inconsistencies in the argument concerning PP.


judi Curry February 8, 2012 at 3:02 pm

Thank you, Andy. After reading the latest from the “bearded ” won, I just want to go and throw up. How does he (?) know how a woman feels after an abortion? The effects are lasting, and there is always that feeling of loss and uncertainty for years to come.


The Bearded OBcean February 8, 2012 at 4:25 pm

Judi, i have no idea how a woman feels after an abortion, nor did i imply that i did. what you read above, regarding womens’ feelings, comes from the PP website Q&A.

I know, it’s very dispiriting. I couldn’t agree more. Does the fact that it comes from PP make you any less sick to your stomach, though?


judi Curry February 8, 2012 at 9:45 pm

Well, Beard, I get very upset when I hear that anyone is trying to legislate women’s rights. I am a staunch supporter of PP, and I was a supporter as well as a donor to SGK. Once it became political, I lost all respect for the organization. If abortion, condoms, adoption are all available from PP, I support it all the way.

And…when a mother aborts a fetus, the feeling of loss is always there. But when it is in the best interest of the female, and even the unborn, it is an answer that some may not agree with. I do not try to foist my religion on anyone; and I resent someone else trying to govern me by their religious beliefs. And I particularly resent some man telling me that ” . . . I should make the best of a bad situation.”

I got sick reading a 38 page book about the Coronado Islands. I visualized the horizon moving up and down the entire. Didn’t take me much to feel ill. Same thing here!


The Bearded OBcean February 9, 2012 at 9:35 am

It’s difficult to disagree with you Judi. As a man, it’s not my position to try to tell a woman what she should do with her body.


Lois February 8, 2012 at 11:38 pm


Why don’t you go sit in your corner with your pointed hat. How do you know “I know, it’s very dispiriting.” When have you ever had anything positive to post here? These are very sensitive issues for women that you obviously have no clue about.


Lois February 8, 2012 at 11:50 pm

Politics aside!!!!


Sophia February 9, 2012 at 11:08 am

Politicization of reproductive and women’s healthcare is the most disgusting thing about our “egalitarian” society. Andy- you hit the nail on the head for sure.


Lois February 9, 2012 at 5:41 pm


You said it better than I could have. Disgusting, disgustig, disgusting.


micaela shafer-porte February 10, 2012 at 2:51 pm

follow the money, check their financial statements online, if they are available… and you will see all… “don’t believe advertising…” or is that just some old saying our parents taught us? ah, the thrill of raising money, raising money, to raise more money… how much did they spend to wage lawsuits against the other cancer organizations for their slogan?” how much does it cost to reserve the public beach and right-of way for the events?
if you ask me, the ADVERTISERS are winning the war agaisnt cancer, terrorism, poverty, politics, drugs, you name it…


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