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Komen board member: new statement doesn’t mean Planned Parenthood funding will resume

Ben Johnson
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WASHINGTON, D.C., February 3, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – A board member of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation gave some hope to pro-life advocates today, suggesting that despite media coverage to the contrary, the organization has not reversed course on tough new grant criteria that would likely exclude most or all funding of Planned Parenthood.

The Komen foundation’s CEO, Ambassador Nancy Brinker, issued a press release on Friday morning stating that it would “preserve” Planned Parenthood’s “eligibility to apply for future grants” and clarifying that it would fund organizations being investigated as long as the probe was not “criminal and conclusive in nature,” instead of political. Planned Parenthood is currently being investigated by a U.S. congressional committee.

Many interpreted this as opening the door to renewed funding for the nation’s largest provider of abortion. But The Washington Post reports that Komen board member John Raffaelli suggested Friday this is not the case.

Raffaelli told the Post the foundation did not know whether Planned Parenthood would receive any future grant for which it applied. “It would be highly unfair to ask us to commit to any organization that doesn’t go through a grant process that shows that the money we raise is used to carry out our mission,” he said. “We’re a humanitarian organization. We have a mission. Tell me you can help carry out our mission and we will sit down at the table.”

In addition to excluding organizations that were being investigated, Komen’s new grant guidelines made public this week are focused on funding cancer treatment providers more efficiently. Komen founder Nancy Brinker had pointed out Thursday that Planned Parenthood was excluded from funding because their clinics do not perform mammograms, but refer to other clinics for the cancer screenings.

“Our issue is grant excellence. [Planned Parenthood clinics] do pass-through grants with their screening grants: they send people to other facilities. We want to do more direct service grants,” Brinker said in an interview with MSNBC.

Raffaelli added that founder Nancy Brinker’s role as leader is “safe” and the board “unequivocally” stands behind her.

Paul Randeau, executive director of the American Life League, told LifeSiteNews.com, his organization was “parsing the statement” and awaiting future developments.

Aside from clarifying the kinds of investigations that disqualify applicants, Komen’s message has not changed since it announced its new grant-making process. Nonetheless, many in the media have reported Friday’s statement as though Komen definitively changed its mind.

Planned Parenthood President Cecil Richards added to the perception in a press release Friday morning. “In recent weeks, the treasured relationship between the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation and Planned Parenthood has been challenged, and we are now heartened that we can continue to work in partnership toward our shared commitment to breast health for the most underserved women,” it said. “We are enormously grateful that the Komen Foundation has clarified its grantmaking criteria, and we look forward to continuing our partnership with Komen partners, leaders and volunteers.”

She boasted much of Planned Parenthood’s work targeted “vulnerable populations — low-income women, African-American women, and Latinas.”

Following Komen’s new guidelines to restrict funding, the abortion organization sent out a fundraiser e-mail addressed to “anti-choice, anti-women people,” warning, “When you go after Planned Parenthood and the people they serve, you go after ME. I stand with Planned Parenthood. I stand with them against anyone who wants to stop women from receiving the health care they need. I stand with them today, tomorrow, and for as long as I need to.”

Richards called the national anti-Komen backlash “a testament to our nation’s compassion” that “will surely be recognized as one of our nation’s better moments…we honor those who are at the helm of this battle.”

Randeau told LifeSiteNews, “Nancy Brinker used to be on the board of directors of Planned Parenthood of Dallas, so she’s not exactly an enemy” to the organization. Randeau hoped she “has woken up to the kind of people she was in bed with all along.”

Many pro-life leaders and pro-abortion organizations urged the public not to jump to conclusions about Friday’s developments. The Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada posted on its FaceBook page: “Beware the news that Susan G. Komen has reversed their stance on funding Planned Parenthood. If you read between the lines of their official statement, it gives them complete leeway to deny funding on other grounds.” The Coalition linked to a news article saying it gives a clue “to what the tactic will be: give funding to a few PP’s here and there, but deny funding to most because they don’t provide mammograms.”

Prominent pro-life doctor and writer Dr. Gerard Nadal also commented on FaceBook: “Komen has not reversed itself. Their statement today reaffirms that some PP centers will continue receiving money, which is what they have said all week. As for preserving eligibility in the future, that is not a guarantee of getting the grants. Pray for Nancy Brinker as she is under demonic assault.”

Abby Johnson told her followers, “Do not be discouraged. Nothing has changed with regard to Komen.”

“It makes sense that Komen put out this statement. They have a pack of hounds on their back,” Johnson wrote. “The abortion industry is stating, ‘Give us money or we will destroy you.’ This is Komen’s attempt to save their organization, which we should know is in peril. The pro-life movement has not really been diligent in sending letters of support.”

Not all who picked up on the Komen statement’s nuances support the unborn. Laura Bassett of The Huffington Post observed,  “At no point in the press release does Brinker promise that Komen will renew grants to Planned Parenthood.”

Komen donated an estimated $600,000 a year to Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood claims that it has already far exceeded that figure in fundraising this week in response to the Komen controversy.

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