Komen Races Feeling Consequences of Planned Parenthood Gaffe

Komen Races Feeling Consequences of Planned Parenthood Gaffe

This weekend I signed my family up for the local ‘Race for the Cure’, I’ll be running the 5k and my wife and boys will be walking it. I covered the firestorm related to the Komen Foundation suddenly pulling funding for Planned Parenthood efforts in Cancer screening and health care for needy women a few months ago, so I was obviously aware of THAT dimension … but we decided to participate despite of the political mischief of the Komen leadership. Nevertheless, it definitely played into our willingness to fund-raise for the event (and my reluctance to spread links for the event).

Apparently many are taking further steps and simply not participating, according to an article in USA Today:

Fewer sign up to race for the cure, Fundraising also down after Planned Parenthood flap
By Lindsay Powers USA TODAY
A little more than a week before the Central Indiana Susan G. Komen for the Cure race on April 21 in Indianapolis, about 23,000 people had signed up — 30% fewer than at the same time before last year’s race.

About 26,000 registrants are expected by race day. Nearly 37,500 people participated in the race last year, according to Dana Curish, executive director of the Central Indiana Komen affiliate. Curish said fundraising was also down 30% from the same pre-race time last year.

The Indianapolis race is among a growing number of Komen for the Cure events that have seen or are seeing a drop in registrants and fundraising this year, in the wake of the breast cancer-fighting organization’s announcement in January of its controversial decision — quickly reversed — to suspend funding to sexual and reproductive health care provider Planned Parenthood while it was under congressional investigation.

“The issues (relating to Planned Parenthood) have certainly had an impact (on some races), there’s no getting around that,” said Leslie Aun, a national spokeswoman for Komen, though she said economic pressures have also played a part.

Southern Arizona’s race race drew 7,200 participants March 25 compared with 10,000 last year and there was a roughly 30% decline in fundraising, said Gillian Drummond, a spokeswoman for the affiliate. Though there was still much support and other factors involved, she said the affiliate thinks the decline was largely a result of Komen’s decisions this year. “We had a community that was glued together. . . . Suddenly overnight, politics divided them,” Drummond said.
The Southwest Florida Race for the Cure on March 10 brought in about $850,000 this year, Executive Director Miriam Ross said, down roughly 15% from last year’s total of more than $1 million, she said. Registration, she said, was also down about 15%.

Ross said there are many factors that went into the decrease in donations, not the least of which is the economy. The problem is, she said, the poor economy means more people are out of work and without health insurance, so more people need free breast cancer services.

Breast cancer survivor Brenda Allen-Hicks, 66, was disappointed by the Planned Parenthood situation, but she said she thought the cause was too great not to participate in the Indianapolis race, which will be her eighth. “The Planned Parenthood (situation) gave the Komen foundation a black eye, but it certainly hasn’t destroyed it,” Allen-Hicks said. “It surprises me that participation is down because the need is still there, and it’s very great.”

Naomi Levine, chair and executive director of New York University’s George H. Heyman Jr. Center for Philanthropy and Fundraising, said the Komen incident shows it is “not a good idea” for an organization such as Komen to get involved in political issues.

To move on, she says, “they must project the positive things the organization is doing.”

What Levine said is exactly what I stated before: health charities need to avoid get political. And whether or not the Komen move was IN FACT political, it certainly looked that way … and the impact is being felt. Many are torn – we love supporting charities that benefit cancer research, but we won’t dump money into an anti-woman war-chest.

Have you seen or heard about any decrease in participation or funding in your area?

As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. If you are shopping on Amazon anyway, buying from our links gives Gear Diary a small commission.

About the Author

Michael Anderson
I have loved technology for as long as I can remember - and have been a computer gamer since the PDP-10! Mobile Technology has played a major role in my life - I have used an electronic companion since the HP95LX more than 20 years ago, and have been a 'Laptop First' person since my Compaq LTE Lite 3/20 and Powerbook 170 back in 1991! As an avid gamer and gadget-junkie I was constantly asked for my opinions on new technology, which led to writing small blurbs ... and eventually becoming a reviewer many years ago. My family is my biggest priority in life, and they alternate between loving and tolerating my gaming and gadget hobbies ... but ultimately benefits from the addition of technology to our lives!

16 Comments on "Komen Races Feeling Consequences of Planned Parenthood Gaffe"

  1. I have stopped giving to Komen because of their funneling money to Planned Parenthood.  I also told a few people at work that I won’t support them on their walk-a-thon, etc. because of this.

    But I guess since I’m against abortion, I’m just a part of the war on women.

  2. Komen has provided Planned Parenthood with money for *years* … and for good reason: they are one of the principal providers of cancer screenings for women in need as well as contraception and STD testing.

    But one of the best ways for us to express our feelings is with our wallets, so in that regard I fully support your choice.

    Considering that providing legal medical procedures (i.e. abortions) is a SMALL minority of services provided, essentially what you are doing is:- Denying reproductive screenings, education, and services designed to help young women PREVENT unwanted pregnancies.
    – Denying young women education, screening, and treatment for prevention and dealing with sexually transmitted diseases.

    And in doing so you are essentially eliminating services targeted at young women – and participating in a move to bring us back to the male dominated ‘good ole days’ where a man decided about sex things, and women were expected to put up and shut up or take a backhand as a consequence.  Or, yeah, the war on women.

  3. Jason Johnson | April 17, 2012 at 6:56 am |

    Sorry Michael, I have to disagree with you here. My family and I have also decided not to continue funding Komen due to their caving in on the media  backlash instead of standing by their original morals. However, that does not mean that we are “participating in a move to bring us back to the male dominated ‘good ole days’. 

    Instead we have chosen to give our money to the local Crisis Pregnancy Center where not only are these same services (screenings, education, and support) provided but our money is not being used to fund abortions which we disagree with. 

  4. Mike, I think it is even more pointed than that. Unless I a. Missing something, while PP does, as you noted, do some abortions, the money from Komen was NEVER funding that portion of their activities. The money was, however, going toward screenings and much of the time it was screenings for women who would not otherwise have them. In other words, Komen pulling money, or individuals NOT giving money to Komen does NOTHING to impact the abortion aspect of what PP does. It does, however, decrease the level of medical care for poor women. And while I am personally trying to stay away from inflammatory terms like “war on…” it certainly is not helping to advance women’s rights and health.

  5. I have a hard time giving to Susan G. Komen but not because of this flap.  It’s more because of the substantial amount of money that they raise that DOESN’T go to cancer research.  That DOESN’T go to helping family members of those affected by breast cancer.  

    I sat and watched helplessly as my mother and father in law lost everything they worked so hard to build up because she had cancer.

    We helped them a lot but there wasn’t enough money between all of her kids to help them keep their car and home.  To help them keep the life they were used to.

    When I look at the CEO of Susan G. Komen and see that she makes over 400K a year and only 100K of that would have made a HUGE difference in my in law’s life, well I kind of feel like NOT giving to Komen.


    Don’t get me wrong….the CEO deserves to be paid for what they do, but I don’t think 400K seems fair.

  6. The flip flop did hurt Komen in a lot of people’s minds.

    I think that what they should have possibly done was say: hey we’re not going to fund Planned Parenthood because of the abortion stance but we ARE going to start or fund this program that can do as much or more than the Planned Parenthood program.

  7. Jason – I applaud you giving to a directed charity in your local area.  That is always the best way to do things.

    But I have to correct your misunderstanding of facts and history:
    – The so-called ‘original morals’ of Komen was to champion women’s health issues and support those organizations doing cancer research and also screenings for low-income women who wouldn’t otherwise get them.  Planned Parenthood probably does 10,000x as many free screenings than your local clinic, and was therefore ALWAYS funded by Komen.
    – As Dan noted, Komen provided NO funding that was used for abortions by Planned Parenthood.
    – Further to the ‘original morals’, you must understand that as I wrote about before, last year when Komen got a new CEO who was a former politician with a stated goal to ‘kill Planned Parenthood’ … they became a political organization.  It was THEN that they came up with new rules that allowed them to say that they ‘had to’ stop funding Planned Parenthood.  Coincidence?  Not even close.

    So Komen tried to secretly defund Planned Parenthood, but like most political stunts it blew up in their face, and they were rightly called to task on it.  There was never a coherent statement or anything believable said … it was all a BS cover for a political move.

    And one thing I think we all agree on – Komen has lost support from ALL sides: women’s rights folks saw through the thin political veil, and anti-abortion activists thought they had a victory but now backed away from Komen after such a badly handled debacle.

    Perhaps as Joel says, since Komen isn’t the most efficient charity and is very top-heavy (being a political orgaization will do that), it is best off just direct-sourcing charity anyway.

  8. Jason Johnson | April 17, 2012 at 8:29 am |

    Thanks for the clarification on there history, however I have to argue one point. Even none of the funds from Komen to PP are used for abortions by giving any funding they are freeing up other money to be used so that is really just a technicality.  

    Overall it does go to score a point though on how are hard it is to know exactly what money you give to large charities is really being spent on.

  9. Jason,

    I don’t know that for a fact and neither do you. It is quite possible that funds truly are allocated is specific ways that make funding one thing over another isn’t necessarily a technicality. Now if you want to say “I don’t want to come within ten feet of any organization that funds any abortions regardless of all the good work they otherwise do”, that is another thing.
    Sent from my iPad

  10. So, because I will not financially support an organization that performs abortions I want to “bring us back to the male dominated ‘good ole days’ where a man decided about sex things, and women were expected to put up or shut up or take a backhand as a consequence.”

    Sorry, but that is just a load of crap.  That is nothing more than a regurgitation of political talking points designed to demonize people who you disagree with.  Over one million babies are aborted each year in the United States and I will not send my money to an organization that provides them.

    So, what other organizations must I support or be considered a knuckle dragging neanderthal?  :rolleyes: 

  11. Careful, this line of reasoning will get you labeled as a woman-hater by Michael and Dan. 😛

  12. Nah – that isn’t what I was saying.  In fact, I support you fully ‘voting with your wallet’ – given the altered power structure it is one of the few votes we have that matter anymore.

    What I was saying was that there are always unintended consequences – and that the ‘litmus test’ opposition of Planned Parenthood has the unintended consequence of removing education and resources that would help prevent pregnancy amongst those most at risk of unwanted pregnancies.

    As a scientist/engineer/statistician/whatever my mindset is always to get to the root cause – and abortion is an ‘outcome’, not a root cause.  The unwanted pregnancy is the root issue, and so it comes down to doing whatever it takes to prevent those pregnancies in the first place.  That is why defunding Planned Parenthood makes no logical sense – it deals with an outcome and cripples the ability to work on the actual root cause.

    Serious-minded people know that ‘just say no’ programs are no less hokey and laughably ineffective now than they were back with Nancy Reagan 30 years ago.  Since we live in the real world, we need to deal with real problems and find workable solutions.

  13. Dan and Michael both know the pain my family and I went through when we lost my Mom in law and they know where I am coming from.  I am the farthest thing from a “woman” hater.  

    This is a personal and conscious decision that i make that has nothing to do with my feelings about women and women’s rights.  It has everything to do with wanting my money to go and HELP cancer patients and not pad the wallets of executives at the charity.  Again…not saying that the CEO doesn’t deserve a good salary…but 400K a year?  

    Cancer research IS important.  Finding a cure IS important.  Susan G. Komen isn’t the only organization that fights breast cancer….just the biggest.

    Also, fighting breast cancer, while important, it’s not the most important thing.  I’d rather go directly help a family who is fighting this disease and yes it takes the whole family to fight the disease.  I can do more that way then I could EVER do to help find a cure.

  14. Be fair… not a term I have come close to using.

    Moreover, I do believe that it is totally appropriate to only support those causes whose mission you support. My issue here was that Koman money was being used for screenings and the initial decision was, as a result, a misguided attempt to make a political/religious question.
    Sent from my iPad

  15. I don’t think anyone is saying that.  I think they are saying that the money Komen gave was not used for abortions….and that’s it.

    However, I do get where you are coming from.  The simple fact that they do them at all is enough to make people not want to give to Komen because of it.  Whether it makes sense or not, it doesn’t matter.  That’s a personal decision and thankfully one that most people don’t even have to share if they don’t want to.

    I say if you don’t want to give to Komen, fine.  That’s your choice and it doesn’t mean you “hate” women.  What would be nice though is if you did give the money to another similar charity.  Like I have said in other comments: Komen isn’t the ONLY organization that does this stuff….just the biggest.

  16. Totally off-base – I have personally taken flack for loudly not supporting popular charities several years ago at my old job due to the horrendous inefficiencies.

Comments are closed.