Komen Defends Planned Parenthood De-Funding Decision

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 1, 2012   |   8:08PM   |   Washington, DC

In a new statement issued today, Komen for the Cure is defending its decision to revoke funding for the Planned Parenthood abortion business — which has drawn universal praise from pro-life organizations.

“We are dismayed and extremely disappointed that actions we have taken to strengthen our granting process have been widely mischaracterized. It is necessary to set the record straight,” Komen said about the intensely negative reaction Planned Parenthood has given the decision to its members and the media.

“Starting in 2010, Komen began an initiative to help us do a better job of measuring the impact of community grants. This is important because we invest significant dollars in our local community programs–$93 million in 2011, which provided for 700,000 breast health screenings and diagnostic procedures,” the new statement says. “Following this review, we made the decision to implement stronger performance criteria for our grantees to minimize duplication and free up dollars for direct services to help vulnerable women. To support this new granting strategy, Komen has also implemented more stringent eligibility standards to safeguard donor dollars. Consequently, some organizations are no longer eligible to receive Komen grants.”

“Some might argue that our standards are too exacting, but over the past three decades people have given us more than just their money. They have given us their trust and we take that responsibility very seriously,” the statement continues.

“We regret that these new policies have impacted some longstanding grantees, such as Planned Parenthood, but want to be absolutely clear that our grant-making decisions are not about politics,” Komen added. “Throughout our 30 year history, our has always and will continue to be the women we serve. As we move forward, we are working to ensure that there is no interruption or gaps in services for the women who need our support most in the fight against breast cancer.”

After years of protests and criticism from pro-life advocates, the biggest breast cancer organization, Susan G. Komen for the Cure announced it is halting further grants and donations to the Planned Parenthood abortion business.

Figures from August directly from the Komen for the Cure foundation show 18 affiliates of the breast cancer charity gave a total of more than $569,000 to the Planned Parenthood abortion business in 2010. That was down from the $731,303 Komen officials publicly confirmed in October 2010, when they acknowledged that 20 of the 122 Komen affiliates gave to Planned Parenthood during the 2009 fiscal year.

Komen says it is halting all grants due to the impending investigation in Congress of the Planned Parenthood abortion business. Its new guidelines prevent it from funding any group under congressional investigation. But the policy is also a change in how it funds grants — with the organization wanting to offer grants to women actually help them rather than referring women elsewhere. [related]

The key in the Komen decision is the grant criteria it uses to make grants. That has changed from “pass-through” grants — which allowed agencies like Planned Parenthood to receive grants that allowed it to make referrals for women to receive mammograms from other agencies — to outcome-based programs. (Planned Parenthood does not perform mammograms at any of its centers across the United States, something Komen has acknowledged). This reportedly has the effect of ending Planned Parenthood funding even if the Congressional probe finds Planned Parenthood free of any wrongdoing.

According to additional information LifeNews obtained about the decision from a pro-life source familiar with the Komen decision, five additional Planned Parenthood grants, similar to the one the Orange County, California affiliate made recently, are in the pipeline but they were approved prior to Komen’s decision in December to end Planned Parenthood funding.

Komen has also released a new video explaining its decision:

Planned Parenthood officials are upset by the decision and have already publicly responded, saying they will quickly try to raise the funds Komen had generated.

“It’s hard to understand how an organization with whom we share a mission of saving women’s lives could have bowed to this kind of bullying,” Cecile Richards told The Associated Press. “It’s really hurtful.”

Richard indicated Komen officials informed Planned Parenthood in December of the decision and that it came via a phone call from top Komen officials. Planned Parenthood responded by requesting a meeting with the Komen board, including CEO Nancy Brinker and board chairman Dr. LaSalle D. Leffall, Jr. Komen, according to AP, replied with a letter ignoring the request for a meeting and adding, “We understand the disappointment of any organization that is affected by these policy and strategy updates.”

The original Komen statement about the grants reads:

At Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the women we serve are our highest priority in everything we do. Last year, we invested $98 million in community health programs, which included 700,000 mammograms. Additionally, we began an initiative to further strengthen our grants program to be even more outcomes-driven and to allow for even greater investments in programs that directly serve women. We also implemented more stringent eligibility and performance criteria to support these strategies. While it is regrettable when changes in priorities and policies affect any of our grantees, such as a longstanding partner like Planned Parenthood, we must continue to evolve to best meet the needs of the women we serve and most fully advance our mission.

It is critical to underscore that the women we serve in communities remain our priority. We are working directly with Komen Affiliates to ensure there is no interruption or gaps in services for women who need breast health screening and services.