AirTalk for February 3, 2012

Komen Foundation folds under pressure from Planned Parenthood supporters

Susan G. Komen/Planned Parenthood

therawstory.com

This morning, two of the biggest women's health organizations in the world are on friendly terms again. The renowned breast cancer charity, Susan G. Komen Foundation, has reversed it decision to halt funding to the major reproductive health provider, Planned Parenthood.

The Komen Foundation has been pummeled all week by bad press, scornful emails and even had their website hacked after it was revealed on Tuesday that they were pulling hundreds of thousands of dollars of annual funding to Planned Parenthood. Komen officials said they made the tough decision because of an inquiry by a Florida congressman into Planned Parenthood. It's been reported that inquiry stems from anti-abortion-rights activists.

Another catalyst could have been a new senior hire at Komen. Karen Handel joined the charity in April as vice president of public policy. Her politics are well known. In a 2010 blog, she wrote, "[S]ince I am pro-life, I do not support the mission of Planned Parenthood." A statement from Komen today said politics aren't part of the equation: "We have been distressed at the presumption that the changes made to our funding criteria were done for political reasons or to specifically penalize Planned Parenthood. They were not." It went on to say that in the future it will only pull grants to organizations implicated in investigations "criminal and conclusive in nature and not political."

The clear winner in all of this is Planned Parenthood. It has been deluged with donations and support. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg pledged $250,000 of his billions. A foundation in Dallas matched that. Individual supporters have kicked in at least $400,000.

WEIGH IN:

What do you think of the controversy? Is it short-lived or will there be bigger consequences for Komen or Planned Parenthood?

Guests:

Lisa Wolter, Executive Director, Orange County Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure

Celinda Vazquez, Vice president of Public Affairs, Planned Parenthood Los Angeles

Mathew Staver, Founder and Chairman, Liberty Counsel


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