Pro-choice advocates have claimed victory following a public relations nightmare that erupted for Susan G. Komen for the Cure when the charity decided — and subsequently reversed their decision — to halt grants to the abortion provider Planned Parenthood.
Controversy was the word of the week for the globe’s largest breast cancer organization after it unwittingly found itself in the center of a political firestorm when adjustments to its grant-making policies disqualified Planned Parenthood from receiving money — despite assertions that the policy change was in no way politically motivated.
Planned Parenthood advocates erupted in outrage following the announcement that Planned Parenthood, currently facing a congressional probe by Florida Republican Rep. Cliff Stearns, would not be able to receive grants under the a policy that would bar organizations under government investigation from receiving funds.
Komen’s website was hacked, 26 senators (all Democrats and one independent) wrote a letter of condemnation to the group, and the organization was flooded with angry emails, Tweets and Facebook responses.
The breast cancer organization did claim, however, that its funding had increased in the two days following its announcement.
While Komen claimed to stand firm against the pressure, on Friday morning the charity’s Board of Directors and CEO Nancy Brinker announced that they were changing the investigation policy to allow for Planned Parenthood funding to resume.
“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 foundation said in a statement. “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 in our funding criteria were done for political reasons or to specifically penalize Planned Parenthood. They were not.”
Pro-lifers were not pleased.
“I’m extremely disappointed in Komen’s decision to restore Planned Parenthood’s eligibility for funding. While Komen now claims that they don’t want their mission to be ‘marred by politics,’ unfortunately it seems that Komen caved to political pressure from the pro-abortion movement and its enforcers in the media,” said Louisiana Republican Sen. David Vitter — who had praised Komen earlier in the week for deciding to withdraw funds.
“There are millions of pro-life Americans who support Komen’s work in breast cancer research, prevention and education,” he added. “By providing funds to the nation’s leading abortion provider — which does not even provide mammograms — Komen is asking its supporters who care about protecting the unborn to violate their own consciences.”
“Today’s decision is certainly a disappointment, but for Planned Parenthood it just isn’t enough for anyone to be abortion neutral — it shows how far they are willing to go to defeat a culture of life in America,” said Tennessee Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn. “I hope charities around the country will provide support to clinics that promote life and actually do mammograms instead of giving money to abortion clinics who are focused solely on meeting their abortion quotas.”
“It was an unfortunate situation but it was dealt with in a short period of time. I commend the Susan G. Komen foundation for seeing the light on this,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said. “[It] just goes to show you, when women speak out, women win. Women’s health has a big victory this morning.”
“This is a huge win for women in communities across the country who will now be able to get the breast cancer screenings they count on through Planned Parenthood,” said Washington Democratic Sen. Patty Murray. “And this is a major victory for the men and women across America who made their voices heard over the last few days to express their shock and dismay at Komen’s initial decision. Politics should never come between women and their health care, and I am very glad that Komen did the right thing and reversed their misguided and deeply damaging decision.”
Planned Parenthood’s president, Cecile Richards, lauded the decision and affirmed her organization’s desire to work with Komen to help combat breast cancer.
“In recent weeks, the treasured relationship between the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation and Planned Parenthood has been challenged, and we are now heartened that we can continue to work in partnership toward our shared commitment to breast health for the most underserved women,” Richards said. “We are enormously grateful that the Komen Foundation has clarified its grantmaking criteria, and we look forward to continuing our partnership with Komen partners, leaders and volunteers.”
While Komen tried to quickly stamp out the uproar from pro-choicers, the pro-life community will not soon forget that Komen is donating to Planned Parenthood — which, Komen pointed out this week, does not provide mammograms and has to refer patients for breast treatments.
“We are still weeding through what exactly happened here. But none of this changes the fact that Planned Parenthood is under investigation,” Penny Nance, president and CEO of Concerned Women for America said in a statement. “For Komen to buck the pro-abortion system and question Planned Parenthood funding at all shows how far we’ve come as a movement. To watch Planned Parenthood’s very public mafia-style shakedown of the Susan G. Komen Foundation shows the extremes they will go in bullying to keep their funding. I believe this started a much needed conversation on where people’s money goes when they give to organizations like Susan G. Komen and Planned Parenthood.”
“The American public has learned this week that Planned Parenthood does not actually provide front-line breast health services: Planned Parenthood does not provide mammograms — a service that saved my life,” said Americans United for Life President and CEO Dr. Charmaine Yoest. “Komen’s long-standing partnership with the nation’s largest abortion provider has allowed Planned Parenthood to whitewash the central fact that their core mission involves providing abortion.”
The Komen foundation has invested more than $1.9 billion in breast cancer research and programs. Last year the organization gave nearly $700,000 to Planned Parenthood.