Komen Foundation Reverses Course on Planned Parenthood Decision

But is it enough to calm the waters? 
Sat February 4, 2012 1:15 am
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The Susan G. Komen foundation, facing an unrelenting stream of criticism for its decision to pull its Planned Parenthood grants , reversed course on Friday.

In a statement announcing the shift, Komen CEO and founder Nancy Brinker apologized “to the American public for recent decisions that cast doubt upon our commitment to our mission of saving women’s lives.”

Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (and daughter of Texas Governor Ann Richards) expressed her relief in a statement that the “treasured relationship” between the two organizations had been salvaged. “We are enormously grateful that the Komen Foundation has clarified its grantmaking criteria,” she wrote.

Sarah Wheat, the interim co- CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Texas Capital Region, told the Texas Tribune that her office was “tearing up” about the reversal. “This was just heartbreaking news this week, and to have them recognize we work best when we work together is just so rewarding,” she said. 

But many wondered how much the reversal will help Komen, which has now alienated those on both sides of the abortion debate. “With this controversy, those pink ribbons have a muddier hue,” Slate’s Jessica Grose opined at Double X .

“So outrage works, sometimes,” Daily Intel ’s Noreen Malone wrote, continuing:

The question now is whether Komen’s brand will remain damaged by the incident: Despite the reversal, this exposed a rightward trend in its internal politics that, perhaps, some donors won’t forget quickly. And the whole thing might doubly backfire, too. Surely the pro-life donors who sent checks and praise to Komen this week won’t be any happier with the quick cave than Planned Parenthood supporters were with the original decision.

The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg (who earlier unearthed internal Komen memos instructing employees on how to respond) found the whole situation to be a PR disaster:

One day, public relations scholars – if such a species exists – will make this week’s events at the Susan G. Komen for the Cure a case study in what not to do in a controversy.

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