On Tuesday, I reported on a kerfuffle that was just beginning to erupt over news that breast cancer mega-charity Susan G. Komen was dropping Planned Parenthood from its grantees list. Planned Parenthood had historically received funds from Komen to support its breast-health services but recently learned that funding would not be renewed thanks to changes in Komen’s granting procedures.
Planned Parenthood claimed the move was politically motivated, that Komen had bowed to pressure from religious groups and anti-abortion activists. Komen said the new grant making procedures disqualified Planned Parenthood from receiving funds, since it is under investigation by Congress. The congressional probe was launched in September by Republican congressman Cliff Stearns from Florida ostensibly to determine whether Planned Parenthood has used public money to fund abortions. Under Komen’s new rules, any group under local, state or federal investigation cannot receive its funds.
Over the past two days, Planned Parenthood supporters and activists have bubbled to a boil over the issue. Left-leaning blogs are furious over the decision, “accusing the breast cancer charity of yielding to the beliefs of a new vice president who has stated her opposition to abortion,” according to Politico.
“The excuse, according to the foundation, is that Planned Parenthood is under investigation. Of course, we know that’s one hell of a flimsy excuse, since the ‘investigation’ is nothing more than an attempt by House Republicans to put Planned Parenthood out of business,” wrote Kaili Joy Gray at the Daily Kos.
Then this morning, the Atlantic reporter Jeffery Goldberg dropped this bomb:
“Three sources with direct knowledge of the Komen decision-making process told me that the rule was adopted in order to create an excuse to cut-off Planned Parenthood. …The decision to create a rule that would cut funding to Planned Parenthood, according to these sources, was driven by the organization’s new senior vice-president for public policy, Karen Handel, a former gubernatorial candidate from Georgia who is staunchly anti-abortion and who has said that since she is “pro-life, I do not support the mission of Planned Parenthood.” … The decision, made in December, caused an uproar inside Komen. Three sources told me that the organization’s top public health official, Mollie Williams, resigned in protest immediately following the Komen board’s decision to cut off Planned Parenthood.
Susan G. Komen CEO Nancy G. Brinker posted a YouTube video yesterday defending her group against the accusations, which she called “scurrilous.” Naturally, the YouTube comment war is already raging.
From user bccohan: “PP doesn’t offer mammograms, only referrals- the money is best spent on life-saving mammograms and the organizations that provide them. Good on Susan G. Komen for investing their precious donor dollars well!”
From user BNChicago: “BIG, BIG mistake. You need to stop bowing to the demands of the extreme right portion of the Republican party. You have lost our support and you deserve to lose it when you make decision which affect women in such a negative way.”
From user alynch1963: “PS: I’m burning all of the pink crap that I’ve purchased through the years. Where’s my checkbook so I can write one to an organization that truly cares about all women.”
Whether Komen decides to reverse its decision or not, the controversy has already done a lot of damage—much of it, quite possibly, irreparable—to the group and its reputation. And if Komen decides to reverse its decision, it’ll appear like as if it’s backpedaling, pissing off the right. Letting the decision stand will continue to infuriate the left. A lose-lose.
What do you think of Komen’s decision to cut off Planned Parenthood? Will you be boycotting Komen events in the future as a result? Tell us in the comments.