Komen and Planned Parenthood funding battle

February 1, 2012 2:42:03 PM PST
A leading breast cancer fundraising group says it will no longer give money to Planned Parenthood.

The decision by the Susan G. Komen Foundation has ignited a firestorm of controversy.

"Komen has had a lot of pressure from anti abortion activists who have focused all their energy on defunding Planned Parenthood in whatever way they can," said JoAnn Smith, of Planned Parenthood.

Joann Smith, the head of Nassau County's Planned Parenthood, says it's a political game that's now put a rift between two of the nation's premier women's health groups.

Susan G. Komen for the cure is halting grants to 19 of its Planned Parenthood affiliates, including the one in Nassau, because there's a federal investigation into whether Planned Parenthood used taxpayer money to fund abortions.

Nassau's Planned Parenthood has received grants from Komen for the past seven years to fund a program through Adelphi University that promotes breast cancer awareness among minority women.

"These are the women who are going to lose and it's incredibly disheartening that Komen allowed politics to play a role," Smith said.

Every year thousands of people throughout our area participate in the Komen Race for the Cure and there are hundreds of smaller fundraisers.

One at Synergy Fitness in Baldwin, Long Island in October raised more than $11,000 for the Komen Foundation.

The gym's general manager Tania Rios' mother died of breast cancer.

She says she would hold another benefit despite the federal investigation.

"If it true that Planned Parenthood is misusing the money or not using the money in the way that it was intended to, I would hope that it would be regulated better for Planned Parenthood or Susan G. Komen in the future," Rios said.

Women Eyewitness News spoke to say the news isn't going to stop them from donating to the Komen Foundation.

"I think it's an individual decision, I would still donate to them," one woman said.

"Personally, it doesn't bother me but for others if it bothers them, then don't give to Susan G. Komen," another woman said.

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