BOYCOTT SUSAN B. KOMEN FOR THE CURE…GO TO CHARITY NAVIGATOR TO DETERMINE WHERE YOUR MONEY CAN DO THE MOST GOOD
If you look at what Ms. Brinker has said, it’s pretty clear that she has dug her heels in and that she is determined to keep this policy of defunding Planned Parenthood going. Twenty-six Senators, led by Frank Lautenberg and Patty Murray have signed a letter protesting this decision by the Komen organization, long with 22 members of the House has signed the letter as of this afternoon. So, there is a building backlash. One of the things you have to wonder is why would corporations like Yoplait and Dell Computers and New Balances Shoes…all these corporations that are listed on Komen’s annual report as being in the “Million Dollar Club;” they’re going to have to move away from Komen. They’re not interested in funding an organization that strictly has a political anti-women’s health agenda like Komen does now. So, you know, you have to think that what Ms. Brinker has actually done has been really to lead this organization right off a cliff…. Look five years from now. My prediction is that the Susan G. Komen foundation will not exist, or it will be reduced to between 10-25% of its current size.
- Terry O’Neill, President, N.O.W.
So, we win…or, more accurately (and far more importantly) women win. Conservative anti-women ideologues lose. That might seem a starkly partisan description of Komen’s forced humiliation in backtracking on its decision to defund Planned Parenthood. The problem is that Komen’s board are the people who turned this into a political issue, and they’re still in place. They decided to cave to pressure from religious and Conservative groups. They demonstrated that they care more about politics than their stated mission of fighting breast cancer and promoting women’s health. They chose to sow the wind, and now they’re reaping the whirlwind. There are now millions of Americans who will never again believe that Komen is about women’s health. Politics should have no place in health care, and the overwhelming reaction (80-to-1 negative on Twitter) should cause Komen’s board (which should immediately resign en masse) great concern for their organization’s future. For my part, I’m hoping there won’t be one.
Some bells can’t be unrung, and those who are speaking for Komen are making it clear that they don’t think their new policy was a mistake. They seem to think their efforts were simply misunderstood by the masses and misconstrued by those on the Left with an ax to grind. To this specious assertion there’s really one possible and credible reaction:
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.
told The New York Times on Wednesday that Komen made the changes to its grant-making process specifically to end its relationship with Planned Parenthood (Ed. note: emphasis mine). Raffaelli said that Komen had become increasingly worried that an investigation of Planned Parenthood by Rep. Cliff Stearns, R-Fla., would damage Komen’s credibility with donors.
The policy change to eliminate funding to any organization under investigation was a sham. The board used the change to justify the defunding of Planned Parenthood, whom they knew to be the object of Stearns’ specious, politically-motivated investigation. Worse, if they could deny funding to any group under investigation, what happens if said group is later exonerated? Whatever happened to the presumption of innocence? Under Komen’s new policy, any investigation- legitimate or not- could be used as a pretext to defund an organization. The new policy should have been called “Presumed guilty until proven innocent.”
Brinker made it clear that there’s no commitment to renew Planned Parenthood’s grants. What that means is that they could still quietly defund Planned Parenthood by simply declining to renew their grants. Brinker’s use of weasel words simply indicates how dishonest Komen has become. An apology is fine, but it means nothing if all they do is go ahead and quietly defund Planned Parenthood by refusing to renew their grants. Why risk the backlash of a frontal assault when you can quietly tinker around the margins?
Komen is no longer an organization that can or should be trusted. Their integrity is in question, their impartiality in dispute, and their ability to fulfill their mission decimated by their own partisanship and cowardice. Reversing the decision to defund Planned Parenthood is just too little, too late.
By caving to Conservatives and the Religious Right, Komen has revealed that it lacks the moral courage to stand up to political pressure from those who are anti-women. If Brinker had issued a statement decrying the pressure from Conservatives and the Religious Right and making it clear that politics has no place in the battle against breast cancer, Komen could have garnered a boatload of goodwill. More importantly, that conviction and courage could have been used to raise significant sums of money. Instead, they chose to cave. Even worse, Brinker & Co. chose to brazenly lie about it.
Komen failed to both anticipate and properly deal with the outrage created by their ill-advised “policy change.” The organization failed to prepare, and thus prepared to fail. This epic PR failure could (and should) cost Komen dearly- in terms of money, credibility, and and longevity. Given the depth and breadth of this fiasco, Komen should be chopped and sold for parts.
Conservatives and the Religious Right have convinced the GOP to wage war on women. You’d think that Komen, being an organization dedicated to the health and well-being of women, would have the wherewithal to tell the haters where they could stick their hypocrisy. Instead, they took the opposite tack, one that, if there’s any justice, will ultimately and justifiably destroy Komen. There are plenty of organizations doing the same work Komen is without the hypocrisy and partisanship.
What I find so heartening about this sorry episode is that it proves the utility of the Internet and social media when it comes to exposing large-scale moral cowardice.
In a huge victory for women’s health care and progressive values, the Susan G. Komen Foundation both apologized for its decision to dump Planned Parenthood and said the group would continue to be eligible for grants. What’s more, Planned Parenthood reported that it raised more than $3 MILLION for its Breast Health Fund in just the last three days, including $250,000 from New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and $100,000 from Lance Armstrong’s LiveStrong. This tremendous victory came after three days of intense organizing and push back from progressives, particularly using social media.
Progressives stood up to right-wing bullies attacking women’s health care, one of our most important progressive institutions, and our values — and we won.
Yes, we won. Progressives won. Best of all, women won. Planned Parenthood will come out of this fiasco better off financially and secure in the knowledge that it has millions of committed supporters who’ve shown that they’ll rise to their defense. I can think of few times in my life when I’ve felt prouder to be an American.
From where I sit, the next step in this battle is to put Komen out of business altogether and support other, less politically and morally malleable non-profits working o preserve women’s health care and fight the battle against breast cancer.
So no more pink ribbons. No more Race for the Cure. No more participating in fund-raising activities that benefit Komen. Why? Because Komen turned their back on Planned Parenthood, and organization that serves one out of every five American women, in order to appease Conservatives and the Religious Right. Komen has demonstrated themselves to be unworthy of our continued support. It’s time to convince the corporations who’ve supported Komen over the years that their money can do more elsewhere.
Yes, we won, but as far as I’m concerned the boycott continues. Please, send your money elsewhere. If you’re not sure where, you can go to Charity Navigator, do some research, and find a non-profit organization that you feel good about supporting.
BOYCOTT SUSAN G. KOMEN FOR THE CURE. It’s the right thing to do.