Komen Feeling the Fallout of its Decision to Defund Planned Parenthood

Just the other day my boyfriend asked me, "Hey what ever happened with Komen? Is it still around?" He was asking, of course, because he remembers the firestorm that erupted when the charity announced its decision to cut ties with Planned Parenthood clinics that for years have provided breast health services with Komen funding.

To answer my boyfriend's question, yes, Komen is still around. But the groupis feeling the fallout of its decision, even weeks after the feminist backlash died down. The Washington Post's Lena H. Sun and Sarah Kliff report that executives are dropping from the organization like flies, and donations have slowed:

The chief executives of the Greater New York and Oregon affiliates, among the most outspoken in their criticism of Komen’s unsuccessful attempt to defund Planned Parenthood, are leaving. Three officials at the Dallas headquarters have left or announced their resignations, a spokeswoman said.

Meanwhile, questions are being raised about the breast cancer charity’s ability to raise money after the public relations fiasco. The New York affiliate postponed two events, including its annual awards gala, “because we were not certain about our ability to fundraise in the near term,” spokesman Vern Calhoun said Wednesday.

Komen is asking staff members at headquarters to review budgets for the fiscal year beginning April 1 because of anticipated drops in revenue, according to a source familiar with the process who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation. Budgeting for the coming year was basically completed before the Planned Parenthood controversy erupted.

Komen spokesperson (who, bless her heart, has had a rough job to do these past few months) said only, "It goes without saying that you can’t budget for things you don’t know are going to happen."

So this raises the question: Do critics of Komen's decision want to see the charity fold? I'm not totally comfortable dancing on Komen's grave. For all that I believe is wrong with the group, it does fund important breast cancer research and health services (at clinics other than Planned Parenthood). However, it would be better for another group -- one not filled with anti-choicers -- to eventually take Komen's place as the leading breast cancer charity in the U.S.

AlterNet / By Lauren Kelley

Posted at March 22, 2012, 6:18am

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