(Brandi Korte: Flickr) Komen, Breast Cancer
(Brandi Korte: Flickr)

It was only Tuesday when news broke that Susan G. Komen would cease its funding of Planned Parenthood for breast cancer screening and other programs.

In the days since, reaction has been swift and heated. Komen said it had new funding guidelines that prohibit the foundation from funding groups under investigation. While a Republican member of Congress has announced an intention to hold hearings of Planned Parenthood, critics say the intent is political. Hearings have yet to be held.

Today, Nancy Brinker, Founder and CEO of the Foundation announced what at first appeared to be a reversal and explained in a statement published on their website:

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.”

But many observers have picked up on nuance that comes later in the statement:

“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.”

The Daily Kos isn’t so sure this is a true reversal in Komen’s stance. As their reporter states:

“I just got off the phone with a Komen board member, and he confirmed that the announcement does not mean that Planned Parenthood is guaranteed future grants — a demand he said would be “unfair” to impose on Komen.”

This statement in combination with the Board member’s quote certainly seems as if Komen views Planned Parenthood as a grantee. But in its statement, Planned Parenthood speaks of a “partnership” with Komen:

“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. 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.”

The Atlantic has a been closely following the politics of the back and forth. In a post today, a senior editor sees more controversy to come. “I doubt that this is over — pro-lifers are now going to have their own round of outraged protest.”

Komen Will Continue Funding Planned Parenthood … at Least For Now 31 October,2014Lisa Aliferis


Lisa Aliferis

Lisa Aliferis is the founding editor of KQED’s State of Health blog. Since 2011, she’s been writing and editing stories for the site. Before taking up blogging, she toiled for many years (more than we can count) producing health stories for television, including Dateline NBC and San Francisco’s CBS affiliate, KPIX-TV. She also wrote up a handy guide to the Affordable Care Act, especially for Californians. Her work has been honored for many awards. Most recently she was a finalist for “Best Topical Reporting” from the Online News Association. You can follow her on Twitter: @laliferis

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