Forty-eight hours after initially announcing the defunding of Planned Parenthood by the Dallas-based Susan G Komen for the Cure, founder Nancy Brinker issued a statement of apology to the American people and Planned Parenthood Federation of America vowing that funding would not be cut.
After a day of making the rounds with the national media, insisting the organization’s decision to stop giving grants to Planned Parenthood wasn’t political; the breast cancer charity’s top official only seemed to make the firestorm worse. Top Democrats piled on; the head of the Komen chapter in Los Angeles quit; and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is giving a $250,000 matching gift to Planned Parenthood.
“We’ve always had the right to cancel contracts if a group was under investigation,” Brinker said on a conference call with reporters. “We simply extended that right to organizations who apply for funding.”
The charity’s founder and CEO had vowed its decision would not be reversed – at least for 24 more hours.
Following a massive public backlash over its decision to pull funding for breast cancer screenings from Planned Parenthood, Brinker said in a statement that the decision is a result of “distress” at the “presumption” that Komen, the nation’s largest breast cancer charity, pulled its funding from Planned Parenthood for political reasons.
Komen’s apology is not a promise to renew Planned Parenthood grants. It’s a promise to “continue to fund existing grants” to the organization — which it was already planning on doing — and to make it eligible for future grants. At no point in the press release does Brinker promise that Komen will renew grants to Planned Parenthood.
The crisis of integrity for the Komen Foundation, has led to a windfall for Planned Parenthood, with the organization raising nearly one million dollars in the past several days due to an outpouring of public support.
The donations are more than enough to make up for the $600,000 Komen donates to Planned Parenthood each year toward breast cancer care, screenings and referrals.
Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, responded to Komen’s apology by saying “In recent weeks, the treasured relationship between the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation and Planned Parenthood has been challenged, and we are now heartened that we can continue to work in partnership toward our shared commitment to breast health for the most underserved women.”
Richards is was astonished at the national outpouring of support She said it “is a testament to our nation’s compassion and sincerity.”
Susan G Komen for the Cure Apology:
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.