The Susan G. Komen foundation, after several days of loud outrage over its decision to stop sending funds to Planned Parenthood, has announced that it won’t cut off the relationship after all. In a statement, the foundation apologized 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.
So outrage works, sometimes. The question now is whether Komen’s brand will remain damaged by the incident: Despite the reversal, this exposed a rightward trend in its internal politics that, perhaps, some donors won’t forget quickly. And the whole thing might doubly backfire, too. Surely the pro-life donors who sent checks and praise to Komen this week won’t be any happier with the quick cave than Planned Parenthood supporters were with the original decision. The whole thing, really, couldn’t have played out any worse for the organization.