About an hour ago my twitter feed exploded with headlines of “KOMEN CAVED!!!”, etc, etc.
No, they didn’t.
They released a very carefully scripted statement today which echoes what their President Nancy G. Brinker said yesterday on MSNBC.
They didn’t cave. They apologized for how their previous statements were misconstrued, but that’s different. In terms of their actual operating procedure, they are saying the same thing they’ve always been saying in terms of implementing a new award protocol, just in a more nuanced way that appeases some of their most vitriolic critics, all in an effort to beg for space and a break from the incessant threat by liberal elites and attacks by the mainstream media (GetReligion has good commentary) and left-wing activists.
Make no mistake, Susan G. Komen is in a fight for its life. WSJ columnist James Taranto describes what is happening to Komen as a mafia shakedown:
Planned Parenthood’s bitter campaign against Komen–aided by left-liberal activists and media–is analogous to a protection racket: Nice charity you’ve got there. It’d be a shame if anything happened to it. The message to other Planned Parenthood donors is that if they don’t play nice and keep coughing up the cash, they’ll get the Komen treatment.
There’s one crucial difference, however. In a real-life protection racket, the victim never pays voluntarily. The threat is present from the get-go. By contrast, Komen presumably was not under any duress when it made its grants–and it could have avoided all this nasty publicity by never dealing with Planned Parenthood in the first place.
Thus smart prospective donors–especially ones that are apolitical, like Komen–are getting the message that supporting Planned Parenthood is a trap. Give once, and you will give again–or else you will pay.
This is more than a pro-life, pro-abortion debate. It’s a culture war between the powerful liberal elite and grassroots pro-life conservatism. It’s also a battle of identity for the pro-life movement. Will we listen to our own, trust our instincts and remain focused? Or will we allow the pro-abortion forces to knock us off our game and play by their rules?
As I’ve been saying since this story broke, we need to be doing two essential things: 1) support Komen in their bid to cut Planned Parenthood out of their funding streams and 2) keep the focus on Planned Parenthood‘s hypocrisy and lies.
If we do these two things, we win. If we get distracted and cease supporting Komen or stop focusing on Planned Parenthood, we lose. It’s as simple as that.
As for what is happening at Komen: I’ve received a crash-course education in the foundation over the past couple days and I can say without doubt that one thing motivates their President Nancy Brinker: ending breast cancer. That’s why she decided to cease funding Planned Parenthood, because they are about the lousiest group to help if you are serious about ending breast cancer. Second, that’s why their President is worried about the damage to the Komen brand being done by Planned Parenthood and its pro-abortion allies. President Brinker knows if Komen is weakened it will be less able to pursue its objective of ending breast cancer. She’s not throwing pro-lifers under the bus, she’s trying to save an organization she built to honor the memory of her sister (who died from breast cancer) and prevent it happening to others.
That’s why we need to make common cause with Komen and support their pro-woman goals. That’s why we need to expose Planned Parenthood’s scurrilous move to destroy Komen.
I mean, just pause for a moment: if Planned Parenthood is so serious about protecting women’s health, how does it justify leading a crusade to destroy the world’s leading breast cancer research foundation over these past days?? It’s simply incredible, and we need to make sure it’s never forgotten!
One last thing: we need to remember the big picture. Over the past 48 hours, not only did Planned Parenthood reveal itself as willing to seriously damage and attempt to destroy the pro-woman Komen foundation, but also, thousands and millions of people potentially learned for the first time that Komen doesn’t believe Planned Parenthood is an ideal provider of health care for women. So even if Planned Parenthood wins this battle (an outcome very much in doubt), I would argue they have seriously weakened themselves for the wars ahead. This will be a long fight, so take the long view.
Here’s what you can do to continue to support Komen in the short term:
1) email firstname.lastname@example.org and say “Thank You for Defunding Planned Parenthood” and promise to buy products bearing the pink ribbon. Encourage them directly in other ways.
2) sign the petition at www.IStandWithKomen.com (this is not an effort to harvest emails, you only have to supply your name and location) and invite your family and friends to do the same.
3) blog/facebook/tweet/email/write op-eds about this. Get the word out any way you know how.
More from me later this afternoon. Please keep checking this post. Thank you!
UPDATE — This interview with a Komen Foundation board member may be helpful:
I asked Komen board member John Raffaelli to respond to those who are now saying that the announcement doesn’t necessarily constitute a reversal until Planned Parenthood actually sees more funding. He insisted it would be unfair to expect the group to commit to future grants.
“It would be highly unfair to ask us to commit to any organization that doesn’t go through a grant process that shows that the money we raise is used to carry out our mission,” Raffaelli told me. “We’re a humaniatrian organization. We have a mission. Tell me you can help carry out our mission and we will sit down at the table.”
Pushed on whether this means the new announcement wasn’t really a reversal, Raffaelli pushed back, arguing that Komen, in response to all the criticism, had removed politics from the grant-making process. “Is it really unclear that we’re changing the policy to address criticism?” he said. [WaPo's Plum Line Blog]
UPDATE 2 — Erick Erickson of RedState has an excellent update that I think gets the story right:
The major outrage against Komen funding Planned Parenthood came after an undercover sting of Planned Parenthood proving conclusively that Planned Parenthood does not offer mammogram services. Komen claimed it funded Planned Parenthood because of its mammogram services. Planned Parenthood’s dodge is that they referred women to places to get discounted or free mammograms, which itself is not true.
In walking back its denial of funds to Planned Parenthood, my understanding is that Komen will not cancel already approved grants to Planned Parenthood, but in the future will only fund organizations that provide mammograms themselves. That, in effect, still shuts out Planned Parenthood unless they actually invest in in-house infrastructures to give mammograms instead of just killing kids in-house.