NANCY BRINKER: Apologizes for decision.

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  • NANCY BRINKER: Apologizes for decision.

Women were heard.

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The Susan G. Komen Foundation for the Cure is said to have reversed its decision to stop providing grants for breast examinations to Planned Parenthood. NY Times coverage here.

The statement isn’t quite that direct and leaves some wiggle room, seems to me. The days ahead will tell, but Komen is clearly trying to put out the fire. A statement from Nancy Brinker, the founder and board chair said, in part:

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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.

The fallout has been enormous for Komen. The anti-choice political movement was clearly wrapped up in the decision, despite Brinker’s protests, particularly as news came of impact that movement on other Komen foundation spending, such as a halt to support of stem cell research. Board member John Raffaelli, a Washington lobbyist and Texarkana native, had told the press flatly that the end of Planned Parenthood money was tied to anti-choice sentiment and feared impact on Komen from anti-choice motivated investigations in Congress against Planned Parenthood.

A number of affiliates, including the one in Arkansas, had distanced themselves from the decision and top officials had resigned.

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The cat, however, is out of the bag, regardless of the reversal. There now will be fresh and deserved examination of political factors in all spending decisions by Komen; of corporate influence and marketing; of the percent of money raised that actually goes to breast cancer examinations, treatment and cures.

The anti-choice contingent in the U.S. is strong and organized. But it lives in a soundproof room. It hears only itself. The takeover of Komen by anti-choice adherents and their action here demonstrated how they underestimate the degree to which American women favor ready access to birth control, comprehensive health care and family planning and even — though under a variety of circumstances and often with restrictive regulations — abortion rights.

You might like to peruse the national Komen Foundation’s federal tax return for 2010 for the Dallas headquarters organization, which shows about $74 million spent in grants and assistance to programs and organizations carrying out the mission — or roughly 41 percent of the year’s $177 million in expenses, including $18 million in salaries, $18 million in marketing expenses, $11 million in office expenses, $8 million in technology expenses, $2 million travel expenses, $2 million for conferences, $18 million for consulting expenses, $2 million on race production and $7 million in “other” expenses. (Better Business Bureau says a charity should spend about 65 percent or more of its income on services.) UPDATE: However, a separate foundation that reports the fund-raising of local affiliates, which produce significant sums from the Race for the Cure with lower overhead, affects the overall performance of the organization in a favorable way and puts total effort beyond BBB suggested guidelines.)

Comments follow from the Arkansas affiliate of Komen and from Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, which serves Arkansas:

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