So apparently Susan G. Komen has reversed its decision to fund Planned Parenthood. Just as it wasn't surprising that they might want to gently disconnect themselves from the abortion rights movement, it's also not shocking that once this issue became political, pro-choicers mobilized faster and harder than pro-lifers did. For one thing, as I noted yesterday, the issue of breast cancer has long been broadly within the "women's groups" umbrella that includes abortion rights, and for another, people react more strongly to losses than to possible gains. If Komen had never funded Planned Parenthood, it wouldn't have been a big deal . . . but once they did, withdrawing the money was a political statement.
And just as I wasn't outraged yesterday by the decision to withdraw money, I also think they're well within their rights to reinstate it if they think that doing so will best further their mission. I doubt that this is over -- pro-lifers are now going to have their own round of outraged protest. And to be fair, I do think that they should offer give back any money they raised over the last two days, since that was mostly coming from pro-lifers who were voicing support for the organization's decision not to fund Planned Parenthood. But other than that, I think it's their right to decide what advances their mission--and of course, every potential donor's right to decide if that's what they want to support.
The really interesting question is this: will the pro-choice donors come back? Or has Komen damaged its brand to no purpose?
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is a columnist at Bloomberg View
and a former senior editor at The Atlantic.
Her new book is The Up Side of Down