Reversal or PR Stunt? Komen Statement Renews Planned Parenthood's Eligibility for Grants

After days of internet backlash, three resignations, and Congress members' requests to 're-think' their decision,  Susan G. Komen for the Cure has released a statement backing down from its politically-motivated call to stop funding Planned Parenthood. Komen's statement(below) says that the group will amend criteria so that groups under criminal, not merely political, investigation are eligible for funding. The statement evidences a turn-around in PR strategy for sure, but promising eligibility does not guarantee that Planend Parenthood will be awarded money in the future, and Komen's statement could be a mere stunt to get women's health advocates off their backs:

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.

Guaranteeing funding for existing grants is no promise for the future, and Komen has already proven its allegiance to the right-wing. As pointed out,  Planned Parenthood said previously in a press release:

“In the last few weeks, the Komen Foundation has begun notifying local Planned Parenthood programs that their breast cancer initiatives will not be eligible for new grants (beyond existing agreements or plans).“

But Planned Parenthood appears to be happy with the decision. According to Raw Story, the group expressed their gratitude in a statement:

“We are enormously grateful that the Komen Foundation has clarified its grantmaking criteria, and we look forward to continuing our partnership with Komen partners, leaders and volunteers,” they wrote. “What these past few days have demonstrated is the deep resolve all Americans share in the fight against cancer, and we honor those who are at the helm of this battle.”

AlterNet / By Kristen Gwynne

Posted at February 3, 2012, 6:24am

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