Komen v Planned Parenthood
Statement from Susan G. Komen Board of Directors and Founder and CEO Nancy G. Brinker
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.
(edited to add) I feel the need to clarify the rest of this post. This is not a post about whether or not Komen is “right” or “wrong” to cut support for Planned Parenthood. This is not a post about women’s reproductive rights… what they are, or are not. This is a post about social organizations, and how they interact with the public, and how *not* to embroil your organization in a PR nightmare. (/edited).
When the topic is public sinning, the American public is Catholic in taste, not Protestant. They will forgive, but admissions of guilt are not enough, you must also do penance.
What the American public does *not* like is half-assed declarations that attempt to shift blame, or insist that something is really just not your fault. Do not tell the American public that you’re sorry someone took offense, tell the American public that you’re sorry for being offensive. Do not tell people how to feel about what you did. Whatever you do, don’t imply that really, a bunch of people agree with your “mistake” and you’re just backtracking to assuage an offended minority (really bad way to end your apology letter). Don’t say that your decision-making criteria needs to be changed to take politics out of the criteria, and backtrack on your decision, and claim that the original decision had nothing to do with politics. Not in the same letter.
At least, if you want the apology to come across as sincere.
If the Komen foundation wanted to retain its position as THE place to call if you were running a breast cancer event… they should have made a public statement confessing that they made a mistake, and that they were going to not just reinstate their contribution, but double it. Confession, and penance. Two weeks from now, they could quietly update their policy. People would regard that as a tacit admission that they were playing politics, and move on.
All over the nation, people who are planning fundraisers for breast cancer are now starting to think that the Komen foundation isn’t the first place to call. Today’s statement is not going to reverse that trend, I’d guess.
If you don’t like Planned Parenthood, that’s certainly your right. If you have ethical or moral qualms about abortion, that’s certainly your right as well.
However, five years from now, when someone writes an article talking about how the Komen foundation was “killed by the pro-abortion secular left” or some other utter complete nonsense, please remember this post.
Komen is killing itself with bad leadership and bad public relations – something that is, after all, supposed to be their core competency.
Nothing more and nothing less.