Susan G. Komen for the Cure's decision to stop giving money to Planned Parenthood for breast health services was not politically motivated, said the group's founder and chief executive in a new video posted on the organization's site and YouTube.
Rather, said Nancy Brinker, it came out of Komen's new granting strategies and criteria that some people, she said, "have regrettably mischaracterized." In 2010 Brinker initiated a "comprehensive review" of grants and standards, not anything unusual for the nonprofit. "We're always looking at our policies and procedures to be sure that we are doing the right thing for our supporters and the women we serve."
More stringent eligibility and performance criteria were added, Brinker added, to support those new strategies. "Some might argue that our standards are too exacting," she said. One of the group's new policies was not to fund organizations currently under investigation by federal, state or local authorities.
Planned Parenthood is under a congressional inquiry started last year by Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.), who wanted to ascertain if federal money was being used to fund abortions, a practice that is legally prohibited.
"We will never bow to political pressure," Brinker said, reassuring viewers that Komen "will never turn our backs on the women who need us most. ... The scurrilous accusations being hurled at this organization are profoundly hurtful to so many of us who've put our heart, soul and lives into this organization. More importantly, they are a dangerous distraction from the work that still remains to be done in ridding the world of breast cancer."
Not everyone seems to be buying the explanation. As with other public forums, sentiment on YouTube is running mostly anti-Komen. Among the comments that are growing by the minute are, "Does anybody buy this obviously false message? First, the avoidance of specifics that resulted in cutting [Planned Parenthood] off is a strong indicator that this decision was politically motivated."
"What a load of garbage," another commenter wrote. "No real answer and then says she wont cave to political pressure. What a liar."
Some Komen supporters weighed in as well: "My deepest gratitude for doing the right and absolutely necessary thing to help women!" one person wrote.
"Thank you for sticking to your policies and TRULY supporting women in need," said another. "It's about time we stop supporting the corrupt and morally challenged Planned UnParenthood and similar companies that put babies, girls and women in danger."
A statement posted to the Komen website reiterated the same information Brinker relayed in the video. Planned Parenthood reported Wednesday that Komen's decision has resulted in a significant increase in donations.