When the Susan G. Komen Foundation, which funds research about breast cancer, a disease I had 10 and again 9 years ago, started threatening smaller nonprofits and claiming exclusive rights to the phrase “for the cure” — as in “Komen Race for the Cure” — I was
cured of thinking very highly of their outfit.
Tonight, pro-choice women across the country are beyond furious that Komen has dropped its funding of breast exams through Planned Parenthood. It’s doing so, the group says, because new rules preclude Komen from donating to any group under government investigation. And Congress is investigating Planned Parenthood’s use of federal funds — specifically, whether it complies with the Hyde Amendment against the use of federal funds to pay for abortions.
In response to the news, one commenter on the Washington Post site wrote that Komen “just lost a donor & I will share my opinion with everyone else I encouraged to support SGK over other worthy cancer causes.”
Another, who called the decision “disgusting,” said she hoped everyone involved in making it wound up unemployed.
Daily Show co-creator Lizz Winstead tweeted, “I am crying in a cab at this Komen decision. Tomorrow we will rally. Who is in this fight with me! You can no longer sit idly by.”
I don’t share their sense of betrayal since Komen has for some time seemed to me to be run like any other big business.
I do have a question, though: Was Komen planning to give that money to some other organization, or to community clinics who’d do the exams?
In the end, they may not have to worry about what to do with the extra cash. Planned Parenthood, which received about $680,000 from Komen last year, according to the Associated Press, has reportedly already raised $250,000 on news of Komen’s decision. And it will likely end up recouping its losses quickly.
In fact, I wonder if this isn’t the liberal equivalent of Newt Gingrich getting picked on by CNN debate moderator John King — an attack, in other words, that ends up helping the attacked.
But Komen, which seemed utterly unprepared for the outcry, may not bounce back quite so fast. In response to the charge that it had given in to bullying, Komen said in a statement to CBS News that “grant-making decisions are not about politics.” The PR team that came up with that one may have a future in comedy. Though I guess not at the Daily Show.
Melinda Henneberger is Post political writer and anchor of ‘She the People.’ Follow her on Twitter at @MelindaDC.