Hoping to gain some control over the ongoing conversation surrounding Susan G. Komen for the Cure's decision to pull its funding from Planned Parenthood ostensibly because of a Congressional investigation into the organization's finances, the chief executives of both groups have started speaking out.
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Last night, Susan G. Komen's founder and CEO, Nancy G. Brinker, appeared in a short video posted to the organization's YouTube page (embedded below). She doesn't mention Planned Parenthood by name, but she does say that "new granting strategies" have been "regrettably mischaracterized." The changes are necessary, she says, because Komen needs to make sure that donor dollars "make the biggest impact possible. Starting in 2010, I initiatives a comprehensive review of our grants and standards. This isn't unusual. 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."
As of this writing, the video has only been viewed about 12,000 times, but has more than 1,600 dislikes. (It also has 377 likes.) In the comments, Planned Parenthood's supporters outnumber those on Brinker's side. A sampling: "I appreciate Planned Parenthood more than I ever did before"; "Sorry, bit [sic] SGK chose political gain over women with cancer"; and "I have supported the Komen foundation in the past, but I will not do so again, unless funding for Planned Parenthood is continued."
Also last night, Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, spoke out. Richards appeared on MSNBC's The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell (embedded below). "This is a relationship we've had for many years. It came as a total shock and a real disappointment," Richards said. "We provide more than 700,000 breast exams every single year and we've been very proud of our relationship with the Komen foundation."
O'Donnell pointed out that many of the top executives at Komen are republicans and wonders if this was a political decision. (Senior VP Karen Handel is a former gubernatorial candidate from Georgia who ran on a pro-life platform.) "The sad thing about this is when politics gets in the way of women's health care access," Richards responded. "We're really hoping the Komen foundation will rethink this decision and partner with us again in providing care to women across the country."
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