The Susan G. Komen charity announced this morning that it has rescinded its decision to withdraw funding from the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) after an onslaught of criticism highlighting the decidedly partisan turn the organization had taken.
From their statement:
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.
The reversal of their decision is welcome news, and a victory that our Care2 community should support. But, there is plenty of wiggle room in this statement for Komen to continue partisan-advocacy work. It also shows some of the disingenuous nature of the Komen public relations front: first the decision was about investigations. Then it wasn’t. Now it is again.
It also doesn’t address Komen’s under-the-cover-of-night decision to also end embryonic stem cell research and, worst of all, fails to address the destruction caused when women’s health care becomes politicized. If Komen’s mission was really all about the “cause of breast cancer” they have still failed to explain how de-funding Planned Parenthood, one of their most successful partners in reaching a high number of poor women who otherwise would not have access to breast exams made any sense at all. Until they do their motives will remain under scrutiny–as they should.
Thanks to the over 5,000 people who signed the Care2 petition against Komen!
Photo from NASA Goddard Photo and Videos via flickr.
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