Komen Apologizes, Says Will Allow Planned Parenthood to Apply for Future Grants

This morning, Komen for the Cure released the following statement from Nancy Brinker and the Susan G. Komen Board of Directors:

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.

Starting this afternoon, we will have calls with our network and key supporters to refocus our attention on our mission and get back to doing our work. We ask for the public's understanding and patience as we gather our Komen affiliates from around the country to determine how to move forward in the best interests of the women and people we serve.

We extend our deepest thanks for the outpouring of support we have received from so many in the past few days and we sincerely hope that these changes will be welcomed by those who have expressed their concern.

While a reversal of the decision is welcome, it also raises further questions. As I noted just this morning, 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. Here, however, they are back to the “investigations” reason.

And if their only goal was the “cause of breast cancer,” then how de-funding Planned Prenthood, one of the most successful parnters reaching a high proportion of women who otherwise did not have access to breast exams, made sense at any level in any discussion with a board of the ostensible poiltical caliber of Komen is mysterious at best.

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If one good thing has come out of all of this, it is the continued awakening, begun I believe with the win over the egg-as-person initiative in Mississippi, of women and men a cross the country who are sick of having the right to sexual and reproductive health care politicized by fanatics.