This past week’s debacle with the Susan G. Komen Foundation brought back ugly memories of the Global Gag Rule.
ThinkProgress reports that Ari Fleischman, former press secretary for George W. Bush and prominent right-wing pundit, was secretly involved as early as last fall in planning Komen’s break with Planned Parenthood.
I am a recent member of Susan G. Komen for the Cure’s Young Women’s National Advisory Council, a previous director of Stony Brook University School of Medicine’s chapter of Medical Students for Choice, and a future family medicine physician. I was incredibly disappointed by Susan G. Komen’s recent decision to end its funding of breast health programs at Planned Parenthood affiliates across the United States.
The Komen Foundation’s statement says that it “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.” But this is NOT a reversal of any kind.
I’d like to dissect how Komen for the Cure completely destroyed a brand 3 decades in the making and how they’re now a different organization with a different future (if they even have one), whether they like it or not. My goal here is to help people understand this so you don’t make the same mistakes.
While a reversal of the decision is welcome, it also raises further questions. 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. Now, however, they are back to the “investigations” reason. And, Planned Parenthood can “apply” for future grants but who knows what that means now?
It seems that the Susan G. Komen Foundation did not think very carefully when making the decision to cut off breast cancer prevention grants to Planned Parenthood clinics. And Komen is becoming increasingly isolated as outrage grows.
Greg Sargeant of the Washington Post reports that the Komen controversy is “about to get significantly more intense [as] nearly two dozen Senators are set to enter the fray.” Twenty-two Democratic Senators have signed on to a strongly-worded letter urging Komen to reverse its decision.
Writing in The Atlantic, Jeffrey Goldberg reports that sources with direct knowledge of the Komen decision-making process said recent policies were adopted specifically to cut funding to Planned Parenthood.
We must stand with Planned Parenthood. But let’s not do so in a way that denies the extreme importance of all the services they provide. As advocates for reproductive justice, the last thing we can afford to do is allow ourselves to become complicit in the stigmatization of abortion.