Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Topic #6 - "Komen v Planned Parenthood"

RESOLVED: The Komen Foundation's decision to withhold funds from Planned Parenthood is reasonable.
PRO #1
Thesis: We believe that the Susan G. Komen foundation had the right to stop donating to Planned Parenthood because the money the Komen foundation raises is theirs and they can do whatever they want with it.

Argument 1:

Nowhere in the Constitution does it state that Susan G. Komen has to fund or keep donating to Planned Parenthood because they had previously.

Susan G. Komen shouldn’t be donating to them in the first place:

Why should the most widely known, largest and best-funded breast cancer organization in the United States be funding the country’ most well known abortion advocate?

Planned Parenthood is being investigated by Representative Cliff Stearns, an anti-abortion Florida Republican, who says that he is trying to learn if the group spent public money to provide abortions. If there is even a doubt that PP was using Komen’s donations to fund abortions instead of mammograms, they absolutely have the right to pull their donations. It’s their money and if PP wasn’t using the money appropriately, they have the right to take it away.

Susan G. Komen has always been a Republican Foundation.

After its founding in 1982 in Dallas by Nancy Goodman Brinker, Susan G. Komen gave thousands of dollars in donations supporting George Bush’s Republican Campaign, and after he won, he made her the United States’ Ambassador to Hungary.

The Komen Foundation is obviously pro-life, why should it support abortions

Argument 2:

The only reason that Komen reinstituted their donations was because of the public outcry. If they stopped funding PP, they would lose all of their Democratic donations while pleasing the small pro-life organizations.

This was also not a huge lost for PP. After the donations were pulled, within 24 hours, Planned Parenthood received more than 400,000 dollars in donations along with two 250,000 pledges from the New York Mayor (Michael Bloomberg) and the CEO of Bonanza Oil Co. in Dallas.

Another contributing factor is that Planned Parenthood doesn’t even do mammograms, they don’t even have the equipment. They just refer those patients somewhere else. Why should Komen support the “middle-man”? (a.k.a. PP) when they could be giving good money to a company that actually does mammograms? (Cate C. and Sam K.)

PRO #2
It is reasonable that the Susan G. Komen Foundation took away their grants from Planned Parenthood.  Under a new mandate, Susan G. Komen was not allowed to fund any companies under government investigation. Planned Parenthood is in fact under congressional investigation by Representative Cliff Stearns for using federal funds and taxpayer money to fund abortions, which is not allowed. The foundation is simply following this new criterion related to giving grants to certain companies.

It can be argued as well that the Komen Foundation has political motivation in addition to following the mandate. It is reasonable that the Komen Foundation would take away their grants from Planned Parenthood politically. In an interview with the Washington Post, Americans United For Life President Charmaine Yoest, she says, “We’re so used to seeing Planned Parenthood succeed at defining themselves as the trendy place to be, and for Komen to make such a smart decision in recognizing the reality behind Planned Parenthood spin,” she adds. “As a breast cancer survivor, I was always troubled with this whole idea that the nation’s largest abortion provider was enmeshed in the breast cancer fight when they weren’t actually doing mammograms. I look at this as smart stewardship.” It is understandable that as an organization dedicated to saving lives, they would not want to be associated with an organization related to death.

Additionally, Planned Parenthood has been accused of not questioning or reporting patients with signs of sexual abuse, performing unlawful late-term abortions, as well as abortions without licenses. Due to these unethical and disturbing accusations, it is reasonable that Komen would not want to be related to such a company. Lastly, it has even been reported that some people have stopped participating in Komen’s Race for the Cure because of affiliation with Planned Parenthood, as well as deciding to not donate to the Foundation. According to the evidence presented, we find that the Susan G. Komen Foundation’s decision to pull funding from Planned Parenthood is not only reasonable, but the best interest for the organization as a whole. (Megan R.)

PRO #3
The Komen Foundation had every right to revoke their grant from Planned Parenthood due to the fact that they are a private foundation and they have ultimate control over what they do with their own money and affairs. A grant is defined as a bounty, contribution, gift, or subsidy, bestowed by a government or other organization for specified purposes to an eligible recipient. Grants are usually conditional upon certain qualifications as to the use, maintenance of specified standards, or a proportional contribution by the grantee or other grantor.  Due to the current circumstances with Planned Parenthood, it was understandable that they would revoke their funding to a foundation that did not solely provide for mammograms and breast exams. However, Komen still proves for under-privileged women by not cutting the grants for three of the 19 affected Planned Parenthood programs (northern Colorado; Orange County, Calif.; and Waco, Texas) "because they are the only services for low-income women in their communities" Nancy Brinker, CEO of the Komen Foundation, said.

Planned Parenthood does provide enough support for under-privileged women regarding general health issues, but the Komen Foundation is mainly focused on researching and preventing breast cancer and Planned Parenthood could only provide so many resources exactly in Komen's criteria. In fact, Planned Parenthood out-sources their mammograms to other locations like hospitals, mobile units and freestanding centers instead of providing them themselves. When Komen "cut out the middle man" they actually could save money by simplifying the process for examinations. Brinker outlined the current goals for the Komen Foundation by saying that “we have decided not to fund, wherever possible, pass-through grants. We were giving them money, they were sending women out for mammograms. What we would like to have are clinics where we can directly fund mammograms.” By prioritizing their grantees, Komen can efficiently expedite their funds and provide a more direct foundation for women seeking help with breast cancer.

Senator Frank R. Lautenberg (a Democrat from New Jersey) agrees with Komen’s decision by saying: "Today, the interests of women's health prevailed over partisan politics, The Komen Foundation did the right thing." He means that women's health has no place in politics and by removing their funds from Planned Parenthood, the Komen Foundation is looking for a more neutral standing on the political scale. Since the majority of Republicans and conservatives lean toward anti-abortion, they could be offended by Komen's funding to a place where abortions are offered. Now that Komen has neutralized their standings, it is likely that they will receive more funding from corporations or businesses with a more conservative view point and support their actions as well. Since abortion is a hot-button issue in the political world as well, and by eliminating any trace or association with abortions and Planned Parenthood, Komen’s foundation can steer clear of any controversy resulting from politics dealing with abortion. In conclusion, by justly cutting their funding from Planned Parenthood, Komen can now redirect their focus toward providing efficient help with the direct prevention of breast cancer with mammograms, logically using their funds for more research and finally neutralizing their political views in order to receive support from both sides of the political scale. (Brooke B.)

The Susan G. Komen Foundation’s decision to cut their funding to Planned Parenthood was unreasonable and hasty. The investigation in Planned Parenthood’s alleged crimes has not been completed yet; in America, one is innocent until proven guilty. The Komen Foundation should not have made such a drastic decision until the official investigation was complete. Planned Parenthood is valuable to women because they provide information dangerous sexually transmitted diseases and mammograms. They also help women get through pregnancies with the sufficient medical care they need.

The Susan G. Komen Foundation cut off Planned Parenthood due to accusations that Planned Parenthood was performing illegal abortions with public money. These accusations had not been investigated when Susan G. Komen announced their decision to cut future funding. This was a political move to avoid a scandal on Komen’s part. Rather than waiting for an actual investigation, The Komen Foundation made a move that went against their views on women’s health to guarantee that they would not get any potential bad press.

Planned Parenthood provides a variety of services - including reproductive healthcare, sex education, cancer screenings and information on sexually transmitted diseases. Komen grants to Planned Parenthood amounts of about $700,000 annually and have helped fund 170,000 clinical breast exams and more than 6,400 mammogram referrals in the past five years, and caters to mostly to poor women who probably couldn’t afford the assistance on their own. The organization has collected more than $1.9 billion for breast cancer research and programs and is affiliated in more than 100 U.S. cities and 50 countries.

26 Democratic senators signed a letter to Komen saying, "It would be tragic if any woman — let alone thousands of women — lost access to these potentially life-saving screenings because of a politically motivated attack. We earnestly hope that you will put women's health before partisan politics and reconsider this decision …" Women's health would suffer as a result of the Komen Foundation’s decision. According to the Washington Post, the decision was "all about politics”. Public outrage has led to the Susan G. Komen Foundating restoring their funding to Planned Parenthood. However, their initial decision led to greater scrutiny of their own funding operation and, as a result, they may never repair their image and receive the same level of donations as in the past. (Kianna S.)




1. The Susan G. Komen Foundation is losing a lot of support they once had for such a large and well-known organization because of this decision. Money is flowing in from donations to Planned Parenthood, and not as much to The Komen. “The organization had raised more than $400,000 from more than 6,000 online donors as of Wednesday afternoon, compared with the 100 to 200 donations it receives on an average day, said Tait Sye, a spokesman for the Planned Parenthood Federation of America” according to an article by the Washington Post about the decision.

2. The Komen’s funding to Planned Parenthood was extremely helpful to thousands of women across America in getting screenings done. This funding was extremely beneficially in helping the less fortunate who could not afford these vital and potentially life-saving screenings. This organization received around $600,000 from the Komen Foundation annually to pay for these screenings.

3. The funding from The Komen foundation was not being used towards abortion. Abortion is not the only aspect of Planned Parenthood, the screenings and education provided are what the funding was going to. “The Komen grants to Planned Parenthood did not pay for abortion or contraception services, only cancer detection, according to all parties involved” according to The Atlantic. Abortion is only 3% of all the services provided by Planned Parenthood, according to Planned Parenthood's website. Another point to consider is the seriousness of breast cancer. After skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in American women. About 225,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year in the U.S., and 40,000 women will die from breast cancer this year in the U.S. If the Susan G. Komen Foundantion decides to no longer fund Planned Parenthood, many women will not be able to get life-saving breast-cancer screenings.

4. From 2004-2009, Komen affiliates contributed about $3.3 million to programs sponsored by Planned Parenthood. Komen's official website states they "invest money into our local community programs – $93 million in 2011, which provided for 700,000 breast health screenings and diagnostic procedures." Not all state affiliates give grants to Planned Parenthood. However, each state affiliate must forward at least 25% of funds raised in their state to the Komen National Office. Planned Parenthood since did not provide mammograms until Komen came.“Planned Parenthood doctors and nurses provide more than 800,000 breast cancer screenings annually (Komen funding about $170,000 towards them),” said Stuart Schear, the Planned Parenthood’s vice president for communication.  (Abby T. and Danielle W.)

The Atlantic


Katherine P said...

I did have a con bias before this topic was debated in class, and I must say, after the debates, my opinion had been turned. I feel like the pro has offered good evidence, and did a great job by linking this back to the constitution. While the con does present good arguments, once the facts are stated, the pro does outweigh.

Larson McQuary said...

This debate was very conflicting to me. I support Planned Parenthood and what they do so I feel as though the Komen Foundation's decision to stop supporting it was very wrong. This is especially disappointing seeing as the Komen Foundation has been a strong advocate of women's heath and that is what Planned Parenthood focuses heavily on. But at the same time, the Komen Foundation is their own business endeavor and can choose who they want to fund or stop funding at any time. In this case though, peer pressure got the best of them.

Morgan K said...

Although a private organization has the right to donate to whomever they want,I definitely agree that Komen's decision to stop funding Planned Parenthood was wrong. In threatening to cut funding they let a political battle compromise their commitment to breast cancer prevention. I am glad that they reconsidered their decision and continued funding Planned Parenthood so that thousands of people each year would not be cut off from this potentially lifesaving service.

Emily Kelsoe said...

I believe that the Komen organization's decision to withhold all funding to the Planned Parenthood organization was uncalled for. At the time, the investigations into the alleged crimes had not been fully completed, therefore, there was no sufficient evidence to back up the claims. Planned Parenthood offers many services, including breast screening, to people who would otherwise not be able to afford this healthcare. Planned Parenthood prevents breast cancer by screening and referrals for mammograms and should therefore be credited for their work. A mere 3% of all that Planned Parenthood does is abortions, meaning that 97% of its services are non-controversial and should therefore receive funding.

Selina R said...

I believe the decision to withhold funds from Planned Parenthood was wrong of Susan G Komen. Planned Parenthood had good intentions and for the several years they were connected, they had never had any instances of wrongdoings. Planned Parenthood and Susan G. Komen both have the same general interests in hand. Both organizations want to make the life of women more educated and easier. Both are looking for the best way to benefit women. So if both want the same interest, they should be able to work together to achieve this goal. Susan G. Komen says that they withdrew funding because the money was going to abortions. However, due to research we have found out that hardly if any of the Susan G. Komen funds go towards abortion. Planned Parenthood and Susan G. Komen have been a team for several years and it has been working, so I don’t know why they would try to fix something that is not broken.

Michael Murph said...

I believe that the Komen Foundation made the right decision in withholding all funding to the Planned Parenthood. Although Planned Parenthood is a well run organization that does many good things, I think that the Komen organization should be able to do what the please. They are a private organization and they have the right to donate to whomever they want to. Also, they are the largest breast cancer supporting organization in the world. I feel that the Komen Foundation’s money should go to organizations that mainly treat women who have breast cancer or to organizations that research for cures to breast cancer. Just because the Komen Foundation has supported Planned Parenthood in the past does not mean they are required to do it now or in the future.

Stephen Renard said...

I believe it was wrong for the Planned Parenthood to sue the Koman Foundation. It is the Koman Foundation's right to donate to whomever they choose. I think this is basic law and I'm surprised the case went so far. Constitutionally, it never says one has to donate despite their beliefs. I think it was immature for the Planned Parenthood Company to sue.

Kellye McGuire said...

While at first I believed that the Komen foundation had no right to drop funds with Planned Parenthood, I now believe it was reasonable, but not nice, of Komen to drop the funds. Komen is a private organization (business) and has the right to fund or not fund any organization that it desires. If Komen wants to stop funding Planned Parenthood, there is no constitutional reason stopping them. It may not be the kindest move, but it is not unfair or illegal. Second, the Komen foundation planned to institute new service places for mammograms and screenings. Planned Parenthood sends people to other medical facilities for screenings and it would be easier and less expensive to just make new facilities to perform screenings directly. Planned Parenthood does need the funds, and now has them again, which is good. But, I do not see any reason, other than being unkind, that the Komen Foundation was wrong in taking away the funds from Planned Parenthood.

Kellye McGuire said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sam Kimichik said...

Before preparing for this debate, I thought that Komen had not right to drop the funds. But, after learning that Planned Parenthood only did breast exams and didn't even do mammograms, I realized that Komen shouldn't have supported them in the first place. When citizens think of Planned Parenthood, they automatically think of abortions, not mammogram referrals. Why should Komen support a primary abortion organization? Komen had every Constitutional right to take their money away from Planned Parenthood. It's their money. Komen can do whatever they want with it.

Maddi M said...

Even though the Komen Foundation has every right to fund whichever organizations they please, I must say that dropping Planned Parenthood funding is 100% uncalled for.The Komen’s funding to Planned Parenthood was very helpful to thousands of women across America and Komen's funding helped pay for cancer screenings for several in need women. Komen's main reason for "dropping" Planned Parenthood was because they believed that their money was going directly to abortions which is was not the case. Abortion is MOST definitely not the only aspect of Planned Parenthood - the screenings and education provided to women in need are what the funding was going to.

Claire Criss said...

Because Komen's ruling was based on a new policy for the entire corporation, saying that any program under question by the government should and will not be funded by Komen. What is most important is the fact thet Planned Parenthood has been under question many times over a period of a few years. Due to this, whether Planned Parenthood is actually doing the things the government claims it is, Komen has the right to withold funds.

Cameron said...

I beleive that Susane G. Komen Foundation has the right to donate, and to stop donating to whom ever they please. If they beleive that someone who they are donating to no longer fits the ideals and morals of their company, they have the right to stop donating to them, without question. Although it may have been wrong, and the foundation may have been looking at a very small portion of what planned parenthood does, Susan G. Komen, as a private buisness endeavor has the right to choose who they give money to. It would be like Frito Lay getting mad at a consumer who began to by Doritos over their product. In a free market economy, people get to choose where and when they spend their money. In this case Susan G. Komen Foundation chose to no longer provide funds to a buisness which they believed was ethically wrong; there is nothing wrong with this.

Tucker D. said...

I believe that the Komen foundation’s decision to withhold their funds from Planned Parenthood was reasonable. In this case, the Komen foundation is giving a donation to Planned Parenthood and has the right to stop donating their money at any point they want. This would be like if an everyday citizen did the same thing but then nobody would care, this only made news because of the massive amount of money which Komen typically donates. Komen did have a valid reason for backing away from the donations, they no longer believed in the company which they were giving to. Whether the allocations against Planned Parenthood were true or not, Komen still has the right to withhold donations if they feel as though they are not making a safe donation.

Christina B said...

I believe the Komen Foundation's decision to withhold funds from Planned Parenthood was reasonable. They have every right to decide where their money goes, and in this case, the Komen Foundation does not agree with some of the messages or the practices that Planned Parenthood has. Although Planned Parenthood uses much of the money for breast exams in which the Komen Foundation clearly supports, they also aid in abortion, which may be a an issue the Komen Foundation does not agree with. They may believe by donating money, they are sending the message that they support abortion when they may not. In that case, it is completely reasonable for the Komen Foundation to withhold their funds.
- Christina B.

Anonymous said...

I believe that the Komen foundation's decision to withdraw their funds from planned parenthood is completely valid. As a private organization, The Komen Foundation has everyright to make the decision where they place grants. The entire foundation was also creating a new policy for the organizations they give grants to. Planned parenthood refused to do mamograms and only did breast exams when asked. Upon hearing this, Nancy Brinker, the founder of the Susan G. Komen foundation, came to the decision to withdraw the funds from the organization. Brinker states that, "We’ve decided not to fund pass-through grants. What we would like is to have clinics where we can directly fund mammograms”(Life News 2012). In addtion to withdrawing the funds, Komen believes that with funding planned parenthood their position as a organization whose mission is to design treatments and cures for breast cancer has been lost. If Nancy brinker decided that she would withdraw the funds from planned parenthood then she had every right to do so with absoultely no questions asked.
Cassidy H