Wow, the backlash worked: Susan G. Komen for the Cure has just issued an apology and reversed its decision about defunding Planned Parenthood! They're gathering with their affiliates this afternoon to "refocus our attention on our mission and get back to doing our work." As we told you this week, the public outcry against Komen's decision to stop funding breast cancer screenings was HUGE. Even affiliates of the organization objected. Senators called upon the organization to restore funding. Donations to Planned Parenthood flooded in.
And it sounds like Komen finally heard us all! We don't know what they'll decide to do after they consult with their affiliates this afternoon, but one thing is for sure: Komen got the message loud and clear. Defunding breast cancer screenings made us all doubt their commitment to women's health.
In the letter, Nancy Brinker and the Komen Board of Directors are still claiming that their decision was not politically motivated:
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.
This is disappointing, especially when there is so much evidence pointing to the contrary.
More from The Stir: Kudos to Susan G. Komen for Defunding Planned Parenthood
But what's most important is what the Komen Board of Directors does next. Will they stand by their original mission to "support women and families in the fight against breast cancer" -- all the way? It sounds like they might. One commitment they are making in the letter is to amend their criteria: "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."
The current Congressional investigation into Planned Parenthood is financial, not criminal -- as far as I know. Amending the criteria gives Komen a way to wriggle out of their plans to defund Planned Parenthood while saving face ... sort of.
Komen is also saying they will "honor existing grants," which means Planned Parenthood will not have to return any grant money it has received from Komen thus far. They are free to apply for more grants in the future. But will they be granted? Handel stated publicly yesterday that even if they apply again, they are unlikely to give them more because Planned Parenthood's mammography services often come in the form of off-site radiology labs, and Komen is "moving away from 'pass-through' services."
At any rate, it puts their commitment to put women's health above politics into black and white. We'll all be watching to see how Komen carries out that commitment. But then, they know that.
What do you think about the Susan G. Komen Foundation's apology?
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