Why Komen defunded Planned Parenthood

at 06:16 PM ET, 01/28/2012


(Gary Stelzer - Associated Press)
The Associated Press reports that Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the nation’s leading breast-cancer charity, will cut off its funding to Planned Parenthood affiliates, where the foundation has traditionally paid for preventive screening services.

According to the AP, the move will mean “a cutoff of hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants, mainly for breast exams.” Planned Parenthood confirms that Komen is the first, and only, organization to cut off funding since the Congress began debating the issue in earnest last winter.

Komen said it could not continue to fund Planned Parenthood because it has adopted new guidelines that bar it from funding organizations under congressional investigation. The House oversight and investigations subcommittee announced in the fall an investigation into Planned Parenthood’s funding.

Planned Parenthood has been at the center of a lot of heated political battles lately. Most center on whether the group, as an abortion provider, should receive government funds for other services it provides, such as offering contraceptives and preventive screenings.

So far, plans to curtail Planned Parenthood’s funds within government have been stymied. Both the Democrat-controlled Senate and President Obama, for instance, stood in the way of House Republicans’ attempts to end Planned Parenthood’s federal funding. Similarly, when a handful of states passed laws that would have barred abortion providers (such as Planned Parenthood) from receiving federal dollars through Medicaid, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services stepped in. The agency has warned states that they could lose all of their Medicaid funding if they implemented such a policy. Those defensive moves have allowed Planned Parenthood to weather various political attacks.

In some ways, the Komen decision isn’t particularly surprising. The group has been under pressure from antiabortion rights groups not to fund Planned Parenthood. It also hired a vice president last year who had previously advocated for the group’s defunding in her run for Georgia governor. With a congressional investigation underway, Komen pulled its support. And when private institutions move to cut off Planned Parenthood’s funding there’s not much Democrats can do.The only possible backstop here might be pressure from Planned Parenthood supporters pushing back in the opposite direction.

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