Susan G. Komen for the Cure just released a statement this morning announcing it will reverse its decision to defund Planned Parenthood and continue to fund breast exams for women who otherwise could not afford them. I wonder how many PR wonks burned the midnight oil writing this up.
The statement references how grants to Planned Parenthood were halted by Komen because the organization is “under investigation,” although, as the blog Reproductive Health Reality Check points out, yesterday Komen denied the defunding had anything to do with the investigation. It does not go into detail about how the “investigation” is actually just some BS from anti-abortion politician Rep. Cliff Stearns, who wants make sure that no public money has been spent on abortion, which is illegal. (You can read more about that here.) The statement also doesn’t address how the recent hiring of Karen Handel as Senior Vice President of Public Policy, a former candidate for governor of Georgia who ran on an anti-abortion platform. (You can read more about that here.)
But no, Susan G. Komen assures us, yanking funding from Planned Parenthood had nothing to do with politics at all!
The statement, with emphasis mine, after the jump.
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.
At last, Komen realized that taking money away from breast exams for women actually made their whole “preventing and curing breast cancer in women” thing look like bullshit. Thankfully, the funding will be restored. But it is scary to think about what would have happened had activists, journalists, bloggers, and politicians not responded so swiftly and Komen was not forced to do PR rehab. The organization clearly would have gone ahead with yanking their funding, the “presumption” of it being done for “political reasons” be damned. As Erin Gloria Ryan wrote at Jezebel, “They’re not sorry they pulled funding to satisfy a political vendetta; they’re sorry they got called out on it.” At least this current funding (of existing grants) has been reinstated, but the big question remains: will they fund new grants to Planned Parenthood going forward?
I don’t know about you, but the Komen brand has been damaged for me. When I have friends running in Komen races, I won’t be donating to them. My financial donations will go to other organizations with a dedicated, un-politicized commitment to women’s health.
Contact the author of this post at Jessica@TheFrisky.com. Follow me on Twitter at @JessicaWakeman.