Komen Backtracks, But Questions Remain Statement of NOW President Terry O'Neill
February 3, 2012
After an overwhelming nationwide reaction to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation's decision to cut grant funds from Planned Parenthood, the board of directors announced today a new revision to its funding policy. NOW applauds all of the activists around the country who stood up for women in the past 72 hours, forcing Komen to re-think its transparently political move. But important questions remain.
Originally, the foundation stated that the reason behind the defunding of Planned Parenthood was that it was under investigation by right-wing politicians in Congress. But yesterday, Komen's Founder and CEO Nancy Brinker claimed that the decision was not about the investigation, but rather was made because Planned Parenthood offered referrals instead of mammograms. Today, however, Komen went back to the investigation rationale stating, "We will amend the criteria to make clear that disqualifying investigations must be criminal and conclusive in nature and not political."
These revolving justifications and inconsistencies are nothing if not political, despite Komen's insistence that it does not want its mission marred by politics. To regain its standing as an organization that puts women's health first, the foundation should at the very least fire its Senior Vice President Karen Handel, an extremist anti-choice politician with a vendetta against Planned Parenthood.
Although Komen's retraction represents a step in the right direction, the foundation needs to do a lot more to repair its badly tarnished image.
What a shame for a formerly respected and trusted organization.