In wake of harsh political backlash, Komen Foundation can’t save face
Recently, when Susan G. Komen for the Cure announced that it was going to cut grants to Planned Parenthood, which last year totaled about $680,000, many people across the country cringed (while many others celebrated).
The official reasoning behind the decision, according to Komen founder and CEO Nancy Brinker, was because the foundation is trying to “improve how grantees are selected.” This improvement includes not granting money to any organization that is under review by any local, state or federal authorities.
However, more than any other group in the country, Planned Parenthood is best known for providing abortion services. That, after all, is why they are under investigation in the first place, thanks to Rep. Cliff Stearns, R-Fla., who wants to make sure that the group is not violating current laws that prohibit federal money from going toward abortion-related procedures. If he would have headed an investigation on how much Planned Parenthood does for the health care of women instead, he would have found that over 4 million breast exams have been performed in just over five years, which clearly benefits women all over the country.
Minutes after the Komen decision went public, the Internet and the ever-growing power of social media took hold of the story and ran with it. People on Twitter and Facebook were sounding off on the decision, and it quickly became the most talked about topic on the internet.
Thankfully, all of the uproar and controversy surrounding the decision resulted in Komen ultimately overturning its decision and bending the rules to allow Planned Parenthood to at least apply for funding in the future (if they will actually get funding in years to come is still very unclear).
All politics aside, the fight against cancer, and the health of Americans in general, is not something to be taken lightly. Many people noticed this, as is evident from the backlash the Komen Foundation received, which ultimately led to the overturning of the decision. Prior to the reversal of the decision, Planned Parenthood received $650,000 in donations in just over a 24-hour span, and as of last Sunday raised $3 million. This was one way that Americans showed how upset they were; numbers like that are hard to ignore.
Politicians are voicing their concerns over the matter as well. Last week, Sens. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., and Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., among other Democrats, launched the campaign “One Million Strong For Women.” The campaign’s goal is to have 1 million people sign up in support of women’s rights, which they say have been continuously attacked through reforms in Medicare and Medicaid, and most recently through the Komen decision.
Despite the foundation realizing the significance and ignorance of its original decision, to me the damage has been done. The fact that ultimately politics had an impact on a decision regarding the health of women across the country makes me ashamed to be an American. In a strange turn of events, I have a feeling that in the long run, the Komen foundation will now be the group in need of funding.
Nicholas Parco is a senior journalism major from Hazlet, N.J. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.