Early this morning, I posted my thoughts on why the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation’s decision to cut most of its funding to Planned Parenthood was a sad thing for women. The cancer fund-raising charity has now apologized and retracted its decision. Planned Parenthood is again eligible for (although I must note, not in any way guaranteed) grant money from Komen.
Nancy Brinker, Komen’s chief executive, posted the following statement on the cancer foundation’s Web site: “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 statement went on to say, “We will continue to fund existing grants, including those of Planned Parenthood, and preserve their eligibility to apply for future grants.” It included these critically important words: “We will amend the criteria [for grants] to make clear that disqualifying investigations must be criminal and conclusive in nature and not political.” I do not wish to rehearse what I said in my previous post, but here I’ll say that from the start, it was fishy, not to say absurd, for Komen to have stated that they disqualified Planned Parenthood from receiving grant money because of an investigation into Planned Parenthood launched by Florida Congressman Cliff Stearns.
Whether or not the Komen Foundation can recover from this public relations disaster, I cannot say. My liberal friends and I remain aghast at what they did. Moreover, we’ve now lifted up the Komen rock and—lo and behold, there are creepy-crawlies under there.
One final note. An enormous part of the pressure on Komen to reverse its decision came from the Twitter chatter and Facebook postings (yes, everyone, I use social media, and I was in on all of it) against Komen, most of it by very angry women.
The Komen fiasco demonstrates that we truly live in a new age—one where “swarm behavior” on social media can make for quick, hard and effective pushback against unpopular decisions.