BREAKING: Komen Apologizes, Says Will Allow Planned Parenthood to Apply For Future Grants


See all our coverage of the Susan G. Komen Foundation’s break with Planned Parenthood here.

This morning, Komen for the Cure released the following statement from Nancy Brinker and the Susan G. Komen Board of Directors:

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.

While a reversal of the decision is welcome, it also raises further questions.  As I noted just this morning, Komen denied yesterday that the de-funding had anything to do with investigations, even though their original memo said just that.  Instead they claimed that the decision was based on “new metrics” and the desire to do “direct service” grants.  Here, however, they are back to the “investigations” reason.

And if their only goal was the “cause of breast cancer,” then how de-funding Planned Prenthood,  one of the most successful parnters reaching a high proportion of women who otherwise did not have access to breast exams, made sense at any level in any discussion with a board of the ostensible poiltical caliber of Komen is mysterious at best.

If one good thing has come out of all of this, it is the continued awakening, begun I believe with the win over the egg-as-person initiative in Mississippi, of women and men a cross the country who are sick of having the right to sexual and reproductive health care politicized by fanatics.

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  • kkalmes2

    “If one good thing has come out of all of this, it is the continued awakening, begun I believe with the win over the egg-as-person initiative in Mississippi, of women and men a cross the country who are sick of having the right to sexual and reproductive health care politicized by fanatics.” by Jodi Jacobson, Editor-in-Chief, RH Reality Check

    Be very wary of the Komen foundation.. reversing their position may be a ploy to close the scrutiny to their money spending, their political positions, their disdain for women’s reproductive rights.

    Beware of ulterior motives!

  • colleen

    This is an apology?

    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.

    Republican women have no right to claim “the cause of women” . They have consistently worked towards a world where the lives and talents of women are diminished and denigrated, where the work of women is cheap or free, where women are expected to conform to the dictates of the very worst Christianity has to offer up. They work towards a world where women are forced to carry every pregnancy to term while simultaneously working towards a world where the majority of women are poor and have no way to adequately care for the children that are already born. And then they elect men who do things like cut funding for child support enforcement  and TANF. Indeed marginalizing and demonizing low income women and particularly single mothers has been as politically successful and socially destructive as their equally politicized and obvious racism. Republican women have been actively working against “the cause of women” for a very long time.

  • sschoice

    …but it doesn’t seem intended to be a rebuke to pro-choice women’s health advocates either.

    Republicans overall more than Democrats deserve more blame for politics unfavorable to reproductive choice, but if you look at the history in detail, maybe in more detail than many Democratic talking heads want to cover it, it doesn’t seem like they deserve MUCH more blame.

    (quote)

    OUR BODIES, OUR SELFISHNESS
    WHO’S REALLY TO BLAME FOR HYDE?
    Washington Post | July 4, 1993 | Author: Stephanie Mencimer

    THIS SPRING, when the Clinton administration announced that it would ask Congress to end the 16-year-old ban on federal funding for abortion, I felt my pro-choice prayers had been answered. Not only had President Clinton come through on the showy stuff, like lifting the gag rule, but he seemed willing to take on a really tough one: the right of poor women to get their abortions paid for by the government

    “America’s women have not seen a president with this kind of courage,” gushed Rep. Pat Schroeder (D-Colo.) after the announcement. “We have had many people promise things to us, but he has been really producing and delivering.”

    Fast forward to last Wednesday. The House quietly votes not to repeal the federal funding ban, Bill Clinton and abortion rights groups voice polite concern and then everyone moves on to other issues, expressing dubious optimism that abortion funding will be included in the health care reform package.

    How is it that such a heralded issue suddenly evaporates? It’s easy to blame Clinton for not pushing hard enough, the Congress for copping out. But I’m afraid it’s my fault too — and the fault of millions of other middle-class citizens who favor abortion rights.

    Our clever, biting placards, our massive phone banks, our presence in the hundreds of thousands on the mall: These are what have kept us influential with politicians and omnipresent in the press since the Webster case signaled that abortion rights were under fire. Yet while we’ve always used the specter of poor, choiceless women as a prop in our rallies and fundraising letters, we’ve had a pretty flabby history when it comes to actually mobilizing on behalf of those poor women. After Wednesday’s vote many of us were shocked, shocked to hear that a Democratic Congress would restrict the right to choose to those with $300 bucks in their clutch purses. But before Wednesday, where were we?

    (snip)

    Kathyrn Kolbert, vice president of the Center for Reproductive Law and Policy and one of abortion rights’ leading lawyers, recalls that in the ’70s activists like herself who were upset by the Hyde Amendment had a lot of support from other pro-choicers. Yet when Congress ducked the issue last week, there was barely a press release, let alone a rally. A woman from the Planned Parenthood Federation told me she doubted whether people would even come out for a march given the current political situation. “People are worn out,” she said.

    For poor women seeking an abortion, that’s a pretty pregnant assertion. Without the visible and vocal support of middle-class women, federal funding simply will not be restored — and a disturbing notion will continue to hover in my mind: Did we manipulate poignant images of poverty to further our own interests and, once those interests were secured, leave less privileged women to fend for themselves?

    In a way, poor women helped us guarantee our own right to choose. I wonder when we will return the favor.

    (end quote)

    We still read of how some are shocked, SHOCKED when Democratic Presidents “unexpectedly” betray us, like Obama and his appointees did when they announced about a month ago that they were overriding the FDA recommendation to allow marketing of Plan B One-Step nonprescription “for all females of child-bearing potential.” 

    But if we ever were “shocked” we long ago grew more concerned about becoming shell-shocked, as was the case above in 1993 — and we assure you that you won’t hear complaints about how not enough was done by the Democrats to make Plan B more accessable to minors in talk up to the election this fall, any more than we heard complaints after the “outrage” passed over the feeble support before and protest after over the ill-fated attempt to overturn the Hyde amendment back in 1993, nor any more than some of us remember from similar fights long ago forgotten back in the 70s during the Carter administration. Really!  There may not be many readers here who first-hand remember battles over these issues during the Carter administration, but most here have probably heard of the term “gender gap” from the history of that time, which came from the disproportionate number of men who voted for Reagan over Carter in 1980.  You haven’t, however, read much in the history of that time about much concern raised about the lackluster support for abortion rights from the Carter administration, no more than you will read of similar concerns from the Clinton administration, nor likewise of the current one.  Seems that some Democrats have something like the “teflon” protection that Reagan was famous for that protects them from critique in that regard.

    What was and is most noticable to us is the lack of awareness of the importance of ANTICIPATING resistance, of NOT being so “shocked” when battles come up and our allies who we voted for and gave at least nominal support to find they have a lot more in common with the other side than they do with us, and proceed accordingly to make deals to their liking.

    As a Southern politician who we’d have next to nothing in common with put it, “There’s not a dime’s worth of difference between the Republicans and Democrats” — well, not exactly, we’ve heard that by Federal Election Commission reports there are over a ZILLION dimes of difference each way thrown at opposite directions every four years between Republicans and Democrats.  At least by vector algebra that should amount to what, at least two zillion dimes worth of difference?

    But if you look closely enough at all of the oppertunities (and missed oppertunities) for advocating policies that favor choice for young and poor women and families, it’s a distinction without a difference for the issues and the people we care most about.

  • sschoice

    Another good thing is how the following could be read:

    “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.”

    It is not clear why the Komen foundation initially decided to deny future funding to 17 of 19 PP affiliates, different parties speaking for the collective decision-makers have given conflicting reasons for doing so.  Also, the apparent policy change or clarification we’ve seen today may have more to do with concern that the foundation will lose more financial supporters by their action than they risk by again revising their policies more than it means there has been any significant change in how the foundation formulates policy.

    But another way to take this is to note that their statement says that they will “amend the criteria to make clear that disqualifying investigations must be criminal and conclusive in nature and not political” and that is about as close as we’re likely going to get from a very mainstream and in some ways Republican-affiliated group — the Komen foundation — that the said “disqualifiing investigation” …

    Meet the Man Behind Susan G. Komen’s Decision to Stiff Planned Parenthood
    By David A. Graham, The Atlantic
    Long-serving Florida Republican Cliff Stearns is suddenly in the spotlight for his investigations into Planned Parenthood and Solyndra.
    Feb 2 2012, 6:01 PM ET
    http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2012/02/meet-the-man-behind-susan-g-komens-decision-to-stiff-planned-parenthood/252469/

    …should be suspected as political and not based on anything relavent to evidence-based medicine and improving access to health care.  That’s something potentially positive to take away from this, and it suggests where some focus might go from here, bringing attention to the ill motives of Stearns’ investigation(s) from some of the sort of mainstream women’s rights activists who used to support groups like Planned Parenthood and their concerns more vocally.

    Somewhere Betty Ford is watching what is going on and saying “thank you.”

    –southern students for choice, athens

  • colleen

    The degree of contrition reflected was the least of my concerns.

    …but it doesn’t seem intended to be a rebuke to pro-choice women’s health advocates either.

    Oh, I see. So the dripping condescension, the implication that criticism of the foundation’s decision to defund Planned Parenthood  (and their subsequent lies attempting to justify their actions) hurts “the cause of women” was more like an internal memo they accidentally made public.

     

    I’m not certain how effective your arguments about Democratic positions are. I personally became an independent voter the day that Bill Clinton signed the Personal Responsibility Act. My comments were directed towards women who do two things: 1. Vote for, contribute to and support the Republican war on women while simultaneously 2. lecturing us on our failure to remember “the cause of women”.

     While I think you greatly overstate your cause when you say “it doesn’t seem like they deserve MUCH more blame.” I am abundantly aware of the failings of the ‘New’ Democrats and celebrate when they decide to spend more time with their families. I would point out that you don’t need to go back 19 years to find evidence of their political failures and manipulations. But this is a thread about a non-apology from republican women who, despite the fact that their non-corporate donor base is mainly pro-choice women, made an incredibly stupid decision to defund a beloved and effective institution which has been targeted by the right.