In fact, in the original announcement Komen spokeswoman Leslie Aun had emphasized that dropping its funding to Planned Parenthood was in no way an indication of Komen’s unhappiness with the abortion group’s agenda. “We want to maintain a positive relationship with them,” she had told the Associated Press. “We’re not making any judgment.”
Instead, AP reported, Aun said that the funding cuts resulted from “the charity’s newly adopted criteria barring grants to organizations which are under investigation by local, state, or federal authorities. According to Komen, this applies to Planned Parenthood because it’s the focus of an inquiry launched by Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) seeking to determine whether public money was improperly spent on abortions.”
Apparently, Komen’s sensitivity to the federal investigation changed in the course of 72 hours, as Brinker explained that the organization had changed its rules to welcome Planned Parenthood back into the funding fold. “Our original desire was to fulfill our fiduciary duty to our donors by not funding grant applications made by organizations under investigation,” she explained. “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.”
Brinker did not say what her organization would do in the event (not unlikely, argue some Planned Parenthood critics) that the Stearns investigation uncovers criminal behavior on the part of the abortion giant.
Brinker said that the whole conflict over the funding cuts demonstrated the importance of reflecting “on how grants can most effectively and directly be administered without controversies that hurt the cause of women.” She urged one and all to help her organization “move past this issue. We do not want our mission marred or affected by politics — anyone’s politics.”
Ironically, it was politics — specifically Planned Parenthood’s politics — that was most on display throughout the whole drama. After Komen’s initial decision to drop Planned Parenthood, the abortion giant’s president, Cecil Richards, claimed to be “alarmed and saddened” that the group had “succumbed to political pressure,” adding, “It’s hard to understand how an organization with whom we share a mission of saving women’s lives could have bowed to this kind of bullying. It’s really hurtful.” Richards harbored a hope, however, that the cancer charity would reconsider and “recommit to the partnership on which so many women count.”
In its joyful press release announcing Komen’s reversal, Planned Parenthood claimed that in the previous few days thousands of its supporters had stepped forward to make up the slack left by Komen’s short abandonment, donating more than $3 million to what the organization calls its Planned Parenthood Breast Health Fund. “Every dollar we received for this fund will go directly for breast exams and diagnostic services,” the abortion group insisted, “as well as breast health outreach and education.”
However, as Lila Rose of Live Action has noted, her group’s undercover investigation has revealed “that not a single Planned Parenthood clinic even has the equipment to do a mammogram” — meaning that, at best, any money given to the abortion provider for that purpose only gets there by way of a reluctant referral.
At worst, as reported by The New American, because contributions to Planned Parenthood are fungible, “money supposedly given for breast cancer screening ends up indirectly (or even directly) benefiting the group’s real moneymaking enterprise — abortion.”
According to the Christian Post, when Komen decided to drop its funding of Planned Parenthood, Brinker provided a video-taped explanation that her group would instead “favor institutions and clinics that provide mammograms over those clinics and institutions that simply provide referrals to gynecologists.” With the reversal, Komen’s business-as-usual-relationship with Planned Parenthood will apparently continue, with the abortion provider offering simple breast exams to the vast majority of its “patients,” while referring a very small percentage to outside facilities for mammograms.
Pro-life groups responded to news of Komen’s change of heart with disappointment. “Susan G. Komen for the Cure should recognize that abortion is not a cure for anything,” said Matt Barber of the pro-family group Liberty Counsel Action. “What a tragic paradox. There is mounting medical evidence that indicates abortion significantly increases the risk for breast cancer.” He added that “Komen, through this political decision and caving to pressure, has now ... become part of the problem,” rather than part of the cure it seeks.
Jeanne Monahan of the Family Research Council said it was “truly unbelievable that in the matter of 24 hours, the nation’s largest abortion-provider has been able to take what we’ve considered one of America’s most well-respected and beloved organizations and basically demonize it overnight because they are making their grants more results-oriented. And I think that Planned Parenthood is again putting their abortion ideology above women’s health.”
Jill Stanek, a noted pro-life blogger, expressed hope that Komen may still back out of its relationship with the abortion provider. “If Planned Parenthood is found guilty of criminal investigations, several of which are ongoing around the states ... Komen’s criteria will still disqualify Planned Parenthood from receiving grants, as it should,” Stanek wrote. She speculated that Komen’s reversal was an attempt “to get the abortion mafia off their backs. Planned Parenthood and its thugs have engaged in a typical shakedown: Give us money or we will destroy you.”
Photo of the Susan Komen for the Cure international headquarters: AP Images