Yes, let the Komen disaster be a lesson to anyone thinking of partnering with Planned Parenthood: You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.


On that topic, my inside source has checked in, telling me there were advisers who in December thought Komen should not notify Planned Parenthood of its decision to defund the abortion giant and just quietly not renew the grants. But Komen viewed the people at Planned Parenthood as “longtime friends” and felt obligated to let them know. Komen had no idea it was trying to pet a scorpion.

Truth be told, even I was taken aback by the shock and awe Planned Parenthood, abortion proponents, and the liberal media displayed this week. And I deal with these people all the time.

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I’ve reread my post, “Inside story on Komen split from Planned Parenthood,” and my source accurately predicted the chain of events: Komen first said it was breaking from PP due to the federal investigation and only added it had also decided to limit grant money to breast healthcare providers – which Planned Parenthood is not – when its first reason failed to appease opponents. From the Washington Post:

There is also some ambiguity in the new funding policy because Komen’s statement did not mention a second reason the foundation had given for ending Planned Parenthood’s funding: that the group does not provide direct mammogram services but instead refers patients to other providers.

On Thursday, Komen founder Nancy Brinker had said the organization wants to support groups that directly provide breast-health services, such as mammograms. And Komen President Elizabeth Thompson had told reporters that the funding decision was unrelated to the ongoing congressional investigation. “First and foremost, it doesn’t really have anything to do with that,” Thompson said.

But numerous Planned Parenthood affiliates said they had been explicitly told they were not eligible to apply for funding because of the investigation, with no mention made of the mammogram-referral issue.

But too late Komen realized it was trying to hold a tiger by the tail.

My source said that with affiliates threatening to split, major corporate donors threatening to withhold serious cash, and liberal feminists threatening major corporate donors that they had better withhold their cash if they weren’t already planning to, Komen had to do something or lose everything.

The other side’s goal was clearly to destroy Komen if it did not buckle to Planned Parenthood. National Organization for Women president Terry O’Neill went so far as to predict Komen’s demise within five years on The Ed Show.

I’d say it would have actually taken closer to five days.

I don’t know that any organization could have fully prepared itself for Planned Parenthood’s onslaught. But SGK wasn’t blind-sided. According to my source the Associated Press notified the group several days before it broke the story on January 31, asking for comment.

So SGK had time to develop a strategy for response. But Komen’s PR firm was clearly not equipped for hardball politics. From the Washington Post:

“I felt like we were eaten alive,” said Logan Hood, executive director of Komen’s Aspen affiliate in Colorado. “We had no advance warning.. . . We were sent into battle without armor.”…

“Honestly, we have been turned into a political association without any political skills,” said Laura Farmer Sherman, executive director of the San Diego Komen affiliate. “There was not a crisis-management plan. I think they were completely caught off guard.”

Three reasons for the fail

SGK and Brinker have led a charmed public life since she launched the foundation 30 years ago. SGK can take credit for bringing breast cancer awareness to the forefront of public attention. Because of SGK, breast cancer awareness and the color pink are now synonymous.

SGK has been able to fundraise like no other. The SGK brand is everywhere, even on the lid of my yogurt container.

So SGK and Brinker have come to expect public adoration, their first mistake. All good will flies out the window if abortion is intruded upon in any way.

In addition, Brinker thought her past loyalties to Planned Parenthood – sitting on a PP board, receiving a PP award, giving millions in grants to PP – would earn her favor when the break came, her second mistake. Everyone now knows how ruthless Planned Parenthood is, willing to destroy SGK and the work it does in retaliation.

Finally, Brinker thought her old friends in the media would have her back when this controversy arose, her third mistake.

Hence, this not so great interview with MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell. Brinker thought Mitchell would pitch her softballs, since Mitchell was a breast cancer survivor and acknowledged at the onset, “We’ve known each other a long time.” That didn’t happen. Furthermore, Brinker waffled on funding Planned Parenthood, an ill-advised strategy to appeal to moderates, according to my source, that was doomed to fail even as the words exited her mouth…..

Mitchell asked Brinker why would a bipartisan group like Komen hire pro-lifer and Planned Parenthood opponent Karen Handel in an executive role, as if only Komen can only hire pro-aborts? This would be bi-partisan? Brinker should have asked Mitchell whether Brinker’s role as a former Planned Parenthood board of advisers member rendered her unqualified. Of course not.


The mainstream media’s skewed approach to this story was ghastly. But that was to be expected. Only Komen and Brinker didn’t.

What will be the outcome of this? My source said my post, “Did Komen outfox the Left?” was accurate. Komen’s apology was careful not to include any commitment to give Planned Parenthood grants in the future. The Komen executive team doesn’t want to, now more than ever.

But there is a new wrinkle. Read here the memo and talking points Komen affiliates were given on December 16 [HT: reader mp].  None of the affiliates threatened to disassociate from Komen over its decision at the time. Only when incited by the mob this week did they do so.

But now they have done so. Plus, there are indications renegade Komen affiliates may now try to get grants for Planned Parenthoods that have never gotten grants before. So internally there’s a new problem.

In retrospect the better criteria for Komen to have put forth to defund Planned Parenthood would have been its fallback plan: that here forward it would only give grants to breast health providers, which, again, Planned Parenthood is not. As my friend David at Live Action pointed out, “Planned Parenthood is nothing more than an expensive phone book, at best.” PP doesn’t perform mammograms, nor does it treat women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer.

So no one knows now whether Komen will succeed in extricating itself from Planned Parenthood. Until then, Komen should get no donations from pro-lifers. And if I were a pro-lifer who just gave to Komen under the impression it was no longer funding PP, I would ask for my donation back.

On a positive note, read the Christianity Today piece, “The Komen fiasco’s silver lining.”

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Reprinted with permission from