Friday, February 03, 2012

And What Happened Next? The Komen Tale Continues

As this Salon article shows, the Susan G. Komen Foundation is a babe-in-the-woods when it comes to the power of the social media.

I think the top officers lived in a tiny forced-birth bubble and were quite unprepared for the thousands of messages from quite ordinary people of all sorts who actually care about poor women's access to breast cancer screening.

So the Komen Foundation had to backtrack a bit. Do NOT take this as a complete surrender. Note the slippery language:
Komen for the Cure just released the following statement from Nancy Brinker and the Susan G. Komen Board of Directors:
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 events of this week have been deeply unsettling for our supporters, partners and friends and all of us at Susan G. Komen. We have been distressed at the presumption that the changes made to our funding criteria were done for political reasons or to specifically penalize Planned Parenthood. They were not.
Our original desire was to fulfill our fiduciary duty to our donors by not funding grant applications made by organizations under investigation. We will amend the criteria to make clear that disqualifying investigations must be criminal and conclusive in nature and not political. That is what is right and fair.
Our only goal for our granting process is to support women and families in the fight against breast cancer. Amending our criteria will ensure that politics has no place in our grant process. We will continue to fund existing grants, including those of Planned Parenthood, and preserve their eligibility to apply for future grants, while maintaining the ability of our affiliates to make funding decisions that meet the needs of their communities.
It is our hope and we believe it is time for everyone involved to pause, slow down and reflect on how grants can most effectively and directly be administered without controversies that hurt the cause of women. We urge everyone who has participated in this conversation across the country over the last few days to help us move past this issue. We do not want our mission marred or affected by politics - anyone's politics.
Starting this afternoon, we will have calls with our network and key supporters to refocus our attention on our mission and get back to doing our work. We ask for the public's understanding and patience as we gather our Komen affiliates from around the country to determine how to move forward in the best interests of the women and people we serve.
We extend our deepest thanks for the outpouring of support we have received from so many in the past few days and we sincerely hope that these changes will be welcomed by those who have expressed their concern.
Bolds are mine. See here for more discussion on the slipperiest bits.

Despite all this, this is a victory for those who want all women to get access to breast checkups, and we should not short-sell ourselves. What really matters should not be forgotten. The Komen people did.

Finally, think how little the money is that was at stake here. The totality of the Planned Parenthood grants on a national level is not even twice the compensation Nancy Brinker gets from running the Foundation! And even with that puny sum much could be done. Now imagine if we could install more mammography machines in the poorer areas! How about that, Komen people?