Has Komen Reversed Course?

Here's the statement that Komen for the Cure has released explaining its new position. I've bolded some parts:

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....

But what does that mean, exactly? They hadn't previously proposed yanking grants. All they seem to be saying here is that Planned Parenthood can apply for more. Of course they can't guarantee that any particular applicant will get money, but this seems to entirely beg all the questions. Adam Serwer at Mother Jones analyzes the statement and does a nice roundup on recent reporting. Here's another bit to check out: an Andrea Mitchell interview with Nancy Brinker, in which Brinker loses. 

All this has struck me as more than a public-relations stumble; it's been, rather, a major cultural clash. It's been Texas vs. New York, pink flash vs. earnest repro-health, Mary Kay vs. the Body Shop, Republicans vs. Democrats all battling on the field of women's body parts, as Jill Lepore at The New Yorker explains in her subtle and thoughtful piece. Both Planned Parenthood and Komen for the Cure report that their donations have increased, according to Serwer. Planned Parenthood has had some good publicity for a change, showing it is the women's health provider that it is. Komen has been shown to have its roots firmly in the South, which brings its own benefits.  

Maybe no one is losing this football game over women's health. 





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