Susan G. Komen for the Cure announced leadership changes Wednesday evening, including a new role for its embattled CEO and founder, Nancy Brinker, who reportedly will now be chair of the Komen Board Executive Committee..
Brinker was at the center of a public relations firestorm earlier this year when the organization announced it would no longer support breast cancer screening grants for Planned Parenthood. The organization later reversed that decision after a public outcry.
After Brinker announced the decision to stop the funding, On Faith published an open letter from columnist Sally Quinn, expressing surprise with the decision and noting the stress that Brinker was under at the time.
“It is clear … that you were under enormous political pressure — and had been for some years — from conservative donors to cut your ties to Planned Parenthood,” Quinn wrote. “This was because some of its money (about 3%) goes to fund abortions. Nevermind that of the $680,000 or so given to Planned Parenthood last year by your organization, not one penny went toward abortion. It was targeted to breast cancer screening for low-income and uninsured women. In the past five years Planned Parenthood has, with your funds, been able to provide 170,000 breast exams and thousands of referrals.
“Surely you must have been shocked by the backlash. But what did you expect?”
After the decision was reversed, in her first public statement, Brinker responded to Quinn:
“I’ve seen many commentators suggest that the swift reaction to our decision is an indicator of something larger and more dangerous in our society — culture wars, if you will, or the feeling that women’s health care is being sacrificed on the altar of political ideologies. If I have learned nothing else from our experience of the past week, it is that we in women’s health organizations must be absolutely true to our core missions, and avoid even the appearance of bias or judgment in our decisions.
“I made some mistakes. In retrospect, we have learned a lot and must now rebuild the trust that so many want to have in us, and respond to the many thousands who continue to believe in our mission and do what we do best: the funding of cutting-edge science and to bring that work to our communities to help the hundreds of thousands of women we serve each year.”