Following a massive public backlash over its decision to pull funding for breast cancer screenings from Planned Parenthood, Susan G. Komen for the Cure founder Nancy Brinker apologized to the family planning organization on Friday and said Komen will preserve its eligibility for future grants.
Brinker said in a statement that the decision is a result of “distress” at the “presumption” that Komen, the nation’s largest breast cancer charity, pulled its funding from Planned Parenthood for political reasons:
We want to apologize to the American public for recent decisions that cast doubt upon our commitment to our mission of saving women’s lives.The events of this week have been deeply unsettling for our supporters, partners and friends and all of us at Susan G. Komen. We have been distressed at the presumption that the changes made to our funding criteria were done for political reasons or to specifically penalize Planned Parenthood. They were not.
Our original desire was to fulfill our fiduciary duty to our donors by not funding grant applications made by organizations under investigation. We will amend the criteria to make clear that disqualifying investigations must be criminal and conclusive in nature and not political. That is what is right and fair.
Our only goal for our granting process is to support women and families in the fight against breast cancer. Amending our criteria will ensure that politics has no place in our grant process. We will continue to fund existing grants, including those of Planned Parenthood, and preserve their eligibility to apply for future grants, while maintaining the ability of our affiliates to make funding decisions that meet the needs of their communities.
It is our hope and we believe it is time for everyone involved to pause, slow down and reflect on how grants can most effectively and directly be administered without controversies that hurt the cause of women. We urge everyone who has participated in this conversation across the country over the last few days to help us move past this issue. We do not want our mission marred or affected by politics – anyone’s politics.
Starting this afternoon, we will have calls with our network and key supporters to refocus our attention on our mission and get back to doing our work. We ask for the public’s understanding and patience as we gather our Komen affiliates from around the country to determine how to move forward in the best interests of the women and people we serve.
We extend our deepest thanks for the outpouring of support we have received from so many in the past few days and we sincerely hope that these changes will be welcomed by those who have expressed their concern.
To be clear, Komen’s apology is not a promise to renew Planned Parenthood grants. It’s a promise to “continue to fund existing grants” to the organization — which it was already planning on doing — and to make it eligible for future grants. At no point in the press release does Brinker promise that Komen will renew grants to Planned Parenthood.
Planned Parenthood has raised nearly one million dollars in the past several days — including a $250,000 donation from New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg — due to an outpouring of public support. The amount would have been more than enough to make up for the $600,000 Komen donates to Planned Parenthood each year. All of that funding goes toward breast cancer care, screenings and referrals.
Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, responded to Komen’s apology in a statement on Friday:
The outpouring of support for women in need of lifesaving breast cancer screening this week has been astonishing and is a testament to our nation’s compassion and sincerity.During the last week, millions spontaneously joined a national conversation about lifesaving breast cancer prevention care and reinforced shared values about access to health care for all. This compassionate outcry in support of those most in need rose above political, ideological, and cultural divides, and will surely be recognized as one of our nation’s better moments during a contentious political time. Planned Parenthood thanks each and every person who has contributed to elevating the importance of breast cancer prevention for so many women in need.
In recent weeks, the treasured relationship between the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation and Planned Parenthood has been challenged, and we are now heartened that we can continue to work in partnership toward our shared commitment to breast health for the most underserved women. We are enormously grateful that the Komen Foundation has clarified its grantmaking criteria, and we look forward to continuing our partnership with Komen partners, leaders and volunteers. What these past few days have demonstrated is the deep resolve all Americans share in the fight against cancer, and we honor those who are at the helm of this battle.
“Planned Parenthood has been a trusted partner with the Komen Foundation in early cancer detection and prevention services. In particular, Planned Parenthood helps the Komen Foundation reach vulnerable populations — low-income women, African-American women, and Latinas — especially in rural areas and underserved communities where Planned Parenthood health centers are their only source of health care. With Komen Foundation grants, over the past five years, Planned Parenthood health centers provided nearly 170,000 clinical breast exams and more than 6,400 mammogram referrals. With the outpouring of support over the past week, even more women in need will receive lifesaving breast cancer care.
UPDATE: Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-N.C.) sharply criticized Komen’s decision to make Planned Parenthood eligible for new grants on Friday, calling the move “hollow and weak.”
“I am deeply disappointed in the sudden reversal by the Komen Foundation of their original pledge to cut ties with Planned
Parenthood – the nation’s largest abortion provider,” she said. “Their original stance to stop funding pending an important congressional investigation was an act of courage and prudence, making their sudden reversal today appear hollow and weak.”
Rep. Ellmers is one of the lawmakers who called for a federal investigation into Planned Parenthood’s use of funds after Americans United for Life, an anti-abortion group, released a report on the subject.
Every year thousands of women train and prepare to Race for the Cure organized by Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the world’s largest breast cancer nonprofit. During October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month, almost every product on the shelves, from batteries to blenders, turns pink and contributes a portion of their sales to Susan G. Komen for the Cure. One needs not see the name to know who is behind the pink ribbon. Most people, however, do not know what is beyond the ribbon and the name for which it stands.
$731,303. That is the amount donated to Planned Parenthood by Susan G. Komen for the Cure in 2009 alone. The relationship between Planned Parenthood and Susan G. Komen has been documented and objected to for so long that Komen actually has an explanation letter on their website. …
One needn’t look further than Live Action’s recent phone calls to 30 different Planned Parenthoods who all admitted they don’t offer mammograms to wonder where Susan G. Komen’s money is going. In fact, as far back as 2003, according to Planned Parenthood’s 2003-2004 Annual Report, abortions increased by 14,000 in 2002-2003, while breast exams decreased by more than 141,000. Yet, in 2003 Planned Parenthood of Dallas, of which Nancy Brinker, founder of the Susan G. Komen Foundation, has served on the advisory board, built a new $5 million dollar facility. In Houston, Planned Parenthood recently opened the largest abortion facility in the world, second only to China, which is 78,000 square feet and has an entire floor dedicated to late-term abortions of up to 25 week old babies. Thankfully, the state of Texas has fought back against those seemingly bent on making Texas the abortion capital. Four Texas Planned Parenthood centers had plans to close after the state took away taxpayer funding.
As if supporting Planned Parenthood wasn’t bad enough because they are the antithesis of life, abortion has long been thought to increase the risk of breast cancer. The first cancer study that included a possible link between abortion and breast cancer was in 1957. While many studies since then have sighted abortion as a key risk factor for developing breast cancer, Susan G. Komen firmly denies even the possibility of a link between the two. In 2002, the Bush administration created a furor when it altered the National Cancer Institute’s official statement concerning abortion and breast cancer on their website to read:
The possible relationship between abortion and breast cancer has been examined in over thirty published studies since 1957. Some studies have reported statistically significant evidence of an increased risk of breast cancer in women who have had abortions, while others have merely suggested an increased risk. Other studies have found no increase in risk among women who have had an interrupted pregnancy.
A New York Times editorial called the statement an “egregious distortion,” and 28 members of Congress complained to the Secretary of Health and Human Services. In response, the National Cancer Institute held a 3 day workshop and concluded not only that there was no link between abortion and breast cancer, but that the issue was resolved. However, in January 2010 the chief organizer of the workshop, Dr. Louise Brinton, reversed her opinion to say abortion does raise a woman’s risk of breast cancer. An April 2009 study found that abortion increases breast cancer risk by 40%, and oral contraceptives can multiply the risk by 4.2 times. Still the National Cancer Institute, the American Cancer Society, and Susan G. Komen for the Cure have ignored the findings.
The stated goal of Susan G. Komen for the Cure is to find a cure for cancer. In October of 2005, researchers at the University of Minnesota successfully used human embryonic stem cells to kill cancer cells; a study that surely didn’t go unnoticed by Susan G. Komen. Could it be that Susan G. Komen continues to financially support Planned Parenthood because they may hold the key to a possible cure for cancer? When they aren’t harvesting baby body parts for money, Planned Parenthood has offered women the option of donating tissue from their aborted babies to medical research. In their words, “Most agree that such decisions reflect generosity, courage, and the hope that some humanitarian good may come out of an unintended pregnancy.” Humanitarian good from unnecessarily killing an unborn baby? The truth is that adult stem cells have been treating all kinds of cancers, among many other diseases and conditions, for years. So why use embryonic stem cells instead of adult stem cells? According to the National Institute of Health, Human embryonic stem cells are thought to have much greater developmental potential than adult stem cells. In other words, they want to explore the possibilities because it could lead to something; ethics be damned. Yet, the NIH website also states that adult stem cells have recently been found to be more flexible than previously thought. It would appear that continuing to explore all the uses of adult stem cells might be a little more difficult and embryonic stem cells could be an easier route.
Whatever their reasons for financially supporting Planned Parenthood, Susan G. Komen is thankfully not the only option for those dedicated to life for women with cancer and babies. The National Breast Cancer Foundation also provides funding for free mammograms and cancer research and has no affiliation with Planned Parenthood. The Alliance for Cancer Gene Therapy recently made national news for using HIV to completely eradicate cancer. The Breast Cancer Society focuses on providing help for women currently battling breast cancer. Susan G. Komen for the Cure would like to do everything in their power to end breast cancer forever, an idea with which no one would disagree. However, a strong message should be sent that our greatest ideals don’t have to be realized through compromise.
Life is precious, be it the beautiful, familiar faces of the women we love, or the new faces of the babies we’ve yet to meet.
Jill Stanek has written two brilliant articles in World Net Daily, detailing Susan G. Komen Foundation’s multi-million dollar donations to Planned Parenthood.
PLANNED PARENTHOOD DEEPENS LINK TO BREAST CANCER GROUP
The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation had noble beginnings, launched by Nancy Goodman Brinker in response to a promise she made to her dying sister, Susan Goodman Komen, to do all she could to eradicate breast cancer. Komen succumbed to the disease in 1980 at age 36. Nancy went on to contract the disease herself and is now a survivor.
SGK has a noble mission, “to save lives and end breast cancer forever.”
But for years pro-lifers have opposed contributing to SGK because it not only denies that induced abortions may cause breast cancer, it also bestows financial grants to Planned Parenthood affiliates.
Pro-lifers believe that for all the good SGK does, it shoots its mission in both feet by refusing to educate women about the abortion-breast cancer link while funding the United States’ largest abortion provider.
Disregarding decades of worldwide studies concluding there is a link between abortion and breast cancer, logic alone says abortion increases the risk.
On its website, SGK acknowledges that childbearing protects women from breast cancer, and the more children a mother bears and the younger she begins bearing them the better. SGK also acknowledges breast-feeding protects against breast cancer.
But abortion blocks all those preventative measures.
Only last week a new study got lots of press that found breast cancer survivors lower their risk of dying by 42 percent simply by getting pregnant.
But abortion blocks that protection.
SGK acknowledges never having children increases a woman’s risk of getting breast cancer, and delaying childbearing, particularly after age 35, also increases the risk.
And abortion increases the risk of both those risks.
It would seem logical that with all the controversy surrounding abortion’s role in breast cancer, SGK would simply back away from involvement with it in any way if wanting to stay true to its mission “to save lives and end breast cancer forever.”
That would include SGK’s relationship with Planned Parenthood.
But SGK is not backing away. Between 2003 and 2008, SGK gave $3 million to Planned Parenthood. In Fiscal Year 2008 alone, Planned Parenthood got $805,000 from SGK.
SGK now has a webpage dedicated to defending its involvement with Planned Parenthood, including message points and a letter from a “pro-life Catholic.”
Most recently added to the webpage, in March, was an open letter from SGK’s chief scientific adviser quoting two Catholic ethicists who “concluded that it was morally permissible for the church to be involved with Komen in light of its funding agreements with Planned Parenthood … specifically and solely for breast health services. …”
SGK maintains there are certain places in the United States where Planned Parenthood is the sole provider of breast-cancer screening, education and treatment.
I don’t believe it, but that is SGK’s defense. Even if so, is it really “morally permissible” to cause breast cancer in one room if screening for it in the next?
Three days ago a diligent pro-lifer in Washington state discovered on Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest’s IRS 990 forms that it has held a 12.5 percent share in Metro Centre, a mall in Peoria, Ill., since 2006.
PPGNW is Washington’s largest abortion provider. (It is also currently under investigation for Medicaid fraud.)
Metro Centre is owned by Eric Brinker.
Eric Brinker is the son of Nancy Goodman Brinker, the founder of SGK. Eric also sits on SGK’s board.
Eric was a stand-up guy and responded to most of my initial questions. He explained in an e-mail, “This share represents a minority, non-operating interest in the business which they inherited from one of the original shareholders, a resident of Peoria. I, Eric Brinker, have controlling interest in Metro Centre.”
But when I pursued follow-up questions, Eric wrote he was no longer available.
So there is much still unanswered. Why didn’t PPGNW cash in its inheritance? Why didn’t Eric buy? If the share was willed, it was worth something. The real-estate market was thriving in 2006. It appears both partners are OK with this now four-year-old business partnership.
Eric wrote in his e-mail only “20 of Komen’s 122 U.S. Affiliates fund breast-health services through local Planned Parenthood clinics.” SGK states the total money given represents “less than one percent of the total granted by affiliates.”
My question then is why bother? Why play with fire?
Whatever, the fact remains that the son of the founder of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, who is also a member of the board, owns a business – a mall – together with a Planned Parenthood affiliate.
The irony. Susan G. Komen’s nephew is financially enabling an abortion business.
And condemning more women to develop breast cancer.
THE CONSEQUENCES OF ADMITTING ABC LINK
In my previous column, I revealed that the son of the founder of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation is in a joint business venture with Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest.
Located in Washington state, PPGNW holds a 12.5 percent share of the Metro Centre mall in Peoria, Ill., where Nancy Goodman Brinker’s son Eric Brinker maintains “controlling interest,” according to an e-mail he sent me.
Eric is also a Komen board member.
This only matters because Komen refuses to acknowledge the link between abortion and breast cancer while it insists on bestowing grants to affiliates of the United States’ largest abortion provider, Planned Parenthood.
That Eric Brinker is in business with one of those affiliates thickens the plot.
Brinker wrote me that only “20 of Komen’s 122 U.S. affiliates fund breast health services through local Planned Parenthood clinics.”
Coincidentally, two of those 20, Komen Puget Sound and Komen Boise, fund Brinker’s business partner, PPGNW.
Komen has gone to quite a bit of trouble to protect what it claims is an infinitesimal relationship with Planned Parenthood.
Stating Planned Parenthood receives “less than 1 percent” of its donations, Komen now has a webpage, message points and a dispensation letter from a Catholic named Norman dedicated to sanctioning their relationship.
Why? If there were even the remotest chance abortion causes breast cancer, which several worldwide studies conducted over the course of many decades confirm, wouldn’t a responsible breast-cancer foundation back away from any risk of facilitating it?
Eric wrote in his e-mail to me, in bold, “There is no conclusive link between abortion and breast cancer.” “Conclusive,” interesting. Was Eric subtly acknowledging there is an inconclusive link?
Eric also wrote that Komen only funds Planned Parenthood “in areas where Planned Parenthood clinics are the only venue for women to receive breast screenings.” He and other Komen officials I spoke with stressed these are in underprivileged areas.
That this may be true is only because Planned Parenthood locates clinics in poor and minority areas specifically to control their populations through contraception and abortion. Komen merely corroborates this fact.
But that is no excuse to partner with Planned Parenthood. Early detection of breast cancer through screening should not be the goal. Prevention should be the goal.
All five PPGNW Planned Parenthoods involved with Komen either commit or refer for abortions. All dispense birth-control pills and emergency contraceptives.
Which leads to another point. Komen states on its website:
A large analysis that combined the results of many studies found that while women were taking birth-control pills (and shortly thereafter), they had a 10 to 30 percent higher risk of breast cancer than women who had never used birth-control pills.
(Column continues below)
As for the emergency contraceptive pill, which contains 10-15 times the amount of artificial hormones as a single birth-control pill, its labeling states it is contraindicated if one has a current or past history of breast cancer.
In fact, it appears hormonal contraceptives are more seriously implicated in breast cancer than previously known.
In 2009 a study published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention showed that the risk for women under 40 of contracting a newly identified and virulent form of the disease called triple-negative breast cancer rose by 320 percent if using hormonal contraceptives for a year or more.
That same study, co-authored in part by two of the very National Cancer Institute researchers who in 2003 denied a link between abortion and breast cancer, also acknowledged a 40 percent increased risk of contracting breast cancer under the age of 40 if a woman had had an abortion.
So there are several reasons for Komen to part company with Planned Parenthood.
A final point. Tragically, Susan Goodman Komen was only 33 years old when contracting breast cancer, and she died three years later. Her sister Nancy contracted breast cancer at age 39. She is now a 25-year survivor.
Both were under 40.
Would recognition that one’s reproductive history may be implicated in breast cancer be too hard to handle within the upper echelon of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation?
Would it make the disease less noble?