It’s been a roller coaster week for Susan G. Komen and Planned Parenthood. On Tuesday, Komen cut off the funding they had been giving Planned Parenthood, which last year amounted to $700,000 – funding that was supporting breast cancer exams and breast education. Komen noted that the move was a policy issue, while Planned Parenthood and other women advocacy groups blamed the move on pressure Komen received via anti-abortion advocates. Almost immediately a Twitter war erupted and everyone, it seems, had something to say about the decision, although it mainly resulted in a massive flood of support for Planned Parenthood. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg posted a statement against Komen’s decision and pledged $250,000 to Planned Parenthood. Oil tycoon Lee Fikes also donated $250,000, while Indie rock band, The Decemberists, pulled all funding from the Susan G. Komen Foundation, instead saying that they’re now pledging all future funds to Planned Parenthood’s Breast Health Emergency Fund. Today another turn of the tides though as Komen issues a public apology to Planned Parenthood.
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The following apology and clarification has been posted at the Susan G. Komen website:
“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.“
Komen Board of Directors, Founder and CEO Nancy G. Brinker goes on to say:
“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… We do not want our mission marred or affected by politics – anyone’s politics… 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.“
In response to the Komen apology, Cecile Richards, Planned Parenthood president, issued the following:
“The outpouring of support for women in need of lifesaving breast cancer screening this week has been astonishing and is a testament to our nation’s compassion and sincerity. During the last week, millions spontaneously joined a national conversation about lifesaving breast cancer prevention care and reinforced shared values about access to health care for all. Planned Parenthood thanks each and every person who has contributed to elevating the importance of breast cancer prevention for so many women in need…
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. 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.”
Awesome. I for one am very glad to see that Planned Parenthood and Komen will continue to have a working relationship that benefits all women in the fight against breast cancer, regardless of financial standing. Time will only tell if Komen and Planned Parenthood can come back from this stronger or if both organizations have been tarnished beyond perfect repair. Hopefully most people will keep their eye on what really matters now, which is of course providing breast cancer screenings and education for all women as we continue to search for a cure.
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