Planned Parenthood salutes Colorado Komen for leadership in funding policy flap

In the wake of news breaking Friday morning that the renowned Susan G. Komen for the Cure breast cancer foundation would reverse its controversial decision to pull funds from Planned Parenthood, local Planned Parenthood representatives praised Colorado Komen affiliates for leading in what was clearly an internal Komen revolt against the decision.

“We’re so grateful to our Aspen and Denver Komen affiliates,” Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains Spokesperson Monica McCafferty told the Colorado Independent. “The [directors] here stuck their necks out and stood by us and the national organization followed their lead. They turned the lens on the national leaders and on their explanations about the new policies and those explanations just didn’t seem very sincere.”

Komen seemed overwhelmed by reaction to its new funding policy. The decision lighted up the mediasphere and drew strong responses from national political leaders even as Komen executives floundered in articulating exactly how the policy came to be formulated, how it would be applied and how it would further the fight against breast cancer.

As news reports piled one on top of the other over the last 48 hours, it seemed increasingly clear that the new Komen policy was the work of recently hired hardline anti-abortion executive and board personnel. The spotlight fell on Senior Vice President Karen Handel and Board Director Jane Abraham, the former an anti-Planned Parenthood Georgia gubernatorial candidate and the latter a director at the anti-Planned Parenthood Susan B Anthony List. The two seemed likely to be leading efforts internally to push the same line of anti-Planned Parenthood arguments that have shaped partisan proposals on Capitol Hill and in state capitol chambers across the country this year, proposals that were largely formulated and promoted by anti-abortion activist organizations such as Americans United for Life and the Susan B. Anthony List.

“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,” Komen said in a release Friday.

“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 foundation said it planned to update its new funding policies to “ensure that politics has no place in our grant process.”

McCafferty said the turn of events should act as a corrective to the activist message campaigns that have worked to demonize Planned Parenthood by distorting its mission and that have resulted in the loss of tens of millions of dollars that otherwise would have been spent more effectively on women’s health.

“It’s definitely a joyful moment for women,” she said of the reversal. “The outpouring of support from people around the country has been overwhelming. It demonstrates the way our country is behind the Planned Parenthood mission.”

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John Tomasic

Writer, editor, teacher, web wrangler. He has worked for art, business, culture, politics publications, five universities and a UN war crimes commission. @johntomasic
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