Susan G. Komen Apologizes For Pulling Planned Parenthood Funding—Reinstates Grants

UPDATE: The Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation has apologized to Planned Parenthood for cutting off almost $700,000 in grants meant to help low-income and poor women get low-cost breast exams, mammograms and cancer treatment. President and founder Nancy Brinker insists her organization did not make the changes based on political reasons or a desire to punish Planned Parenthood, but added that Susan G. Komen will now amend its donor criteria to make clear that disqualifying investigations must be criminal and conclusive—rather than based on politics. “That is what is right and fair,” Brinker said. Still, be very clear: Brinker’s announcement DID NOT PROMISE TO RENEW SUSAN G. KOMEN’S GRANTS TO PLANNED PARENTHOOD.

Brinker’s apology comes as Susan G. Komen faces down an incredible backlash of women who accused the charity of putting politics ahead of women’s health; they vowed never to donate to or support the organization again. Planned Parenthood, in the meantime, established an emergency breast care fund that raised more than $650,000 in the days after Susan G. Komen announced it was pulling its funds.

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We at MyBrownBaby are extending a massive side-eye today to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation and its decision to stop funding breast cancer prevention, screenings and education at Planned Parenthood health centers. The Komen Foundation, which puts its stamp on everything from t-shirts to cereal boxes to car bumpers and beyond to drum up cash in support of saving the ta-tas, caved to anti-choice groups and agreed to pull from Planned Parenthood grants that have enabled the organization’s health centers to provide 170,000 clinical breast exams and 6,400 mammogram referrals to women with little money or access to quality health care.

That means that a core group of women who need breast cancer screening and health services—poor and minority women who can’t afford it otherwise—have less chance to get those critical health services thanks to Susan G. Komen, an organization who repeatedly says its sole mission is to save women from suffering and dying from the tragic disease.

Considering that Planned Parenthood is an incredible resource for women who can’t afford quality healthcare, I’m finding it hard to wrap my head around how Susan G. Komen can feel okay about shutting down funding to the organization that helps the most vulnerable among us—poor and minority women who, because of lack of access to screenings and the funding to treat the disease, tend to have more aggressive forms of breast cancer and die from it at higher rates.

I’m sure plenty of women have benefited from Susan G. Komen’s aggressive fundraising, but I’ve got to question the group’s commitment to poor women and women of color if they so easily cave to politicians who don’t give a rat’s ass about women and especially poor women and women of color.

Look: this isn’t about politics. It’s about women’s health. And one would think that an organization as large and influential as Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation, a program that literally runs on the backs of women, would not only understand this, but support organizations like Planned Parenthood, whose sole mission is to HELP and SUPPORT WOMEN, no matter their color, race, ethnicity, financial status and especially politics. Truly, this is a sad day for all women.

Shout out to Planned Parenthood for quickly organizing the Breast Health Emergency Fund to offset the support that local Planned Parenthood programs stand to lose from Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation, and especially to the Amy and Lee Fikes foundation, which quickly dropped $250,000 into the fund to ensure that Planned Parenthood health centers can continue to provide breast cancer screenings and care that had previously been supported by Komen. Way to put women’s health FIRST, ahead of right wing ideology.

{To tell Susan G. Komen to put women’s health before politics, sign this petition}

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Denene Millner

Mom. NY Times bestselling author. Pop culture ninja. Unapologetic lover of shoes, bacon and babies. Nice with the verbs. Founder of the top black parenting website, MyBrownBaby.


  1. I know we all know this, but as a cancer researcher I will confirm: an ounce of prevention (i.e screenings) is worth a hundred thousand tons of cure. Reducing poor women’s access to screening dooms future patients to toxic therapies and a far higher likelihood of death. Early detection is the best place to look for a cure. Komen has demonstrated that they do not really prioritize saving women’s lives.

    • Barbara Soloski Albin

      I might as well just say that I agree with Karen and will no longer donate to the SGK Foundation and donate directly to PP and the American Cancer Society. I was a young woman during the time when it was illegal to get an abortion and insurance companies did not pay for birth control pills. I also remember later on paying for my first mammograms. I am lucky that I am able to afford to pay for insurance. All I can say is this is wrong. Sorry Karen, I just meant to agree with you.

  2. I’m not playing Devil’s advocate, but I want to encourage everyone to check with their LOCAL Komen affiliate before boycotting altogether. The California Komen offices have said very clearly they are against the *national* decision and are working to find ways to continue providing mammograms and screening. I fear for what will happen financially to all the local offices because people are not seeing the distinction between the two.

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