That awkward moment when Komen for the Cure pulls funding from one of the largest providers of breast cancer screenings

In case you missed it, Susan G. Komen for the Cure has halted its partnership with Planned Parenthood, citing a change in their grant eligibility policies. Since 2005, Komen has provided grants to Planned Parenthood affiliates to fund breast screenings and mammograms for low-income and uninsured women.

From the looks of things, here’s how it went down: Komen very recently instituted a new policy that prohibits them from providing funding to organizations under federal/state/local investigation. As far as I can tell, this happened AFTER Republicans in Congress launched a VERY politically-motivated “investigation” into whether Planned Parenthood used federal funds for abortion services (which, for its own dumb reasons, is against the law).

It was also after a rather public and awkward “recall” of a bunch of pink Bibles, the proceeds of which were meant to go to the Komen Foundation until someone realized they were associated with PP. Some religious groups have been after Komen for YEARS for this link, but this was really the first time it was brought to light for a broader, still very “pro-life”, audience.

The new funding policy, in this context, looks intentionally crafted as a clean “out” to Komen’s partnership with PP. It looks even more this way when you hear PP’s side of things, which is they found out about this new “policy” at the same time the rest of us did–when the announcement of the end of the partnership leaked. Komen, of course, denies that politics or their recent dustups with pro-life groups have anything to do with this, but the optics are nonetheless pretty damning.

This kind of tactic isn’t new, nor is it terribly uncommon. Something similar happened with the American Cancer Society last year when Foundation Beyond Belief tried to create a national team for Relay for Life. They tried several avenues, only to have the policies abruptly changed to bar them from participating as a national team; because, despite a $500k pledge, ACS apparently thought the affiliation with an atheist nonprofit wasn’t worth it. It was painfully transparent what was happening, but from a PR standpoint, they could just point to their “change in policy” and mumble some BS about how it makes them more efficient or protects them better financially.

It’s always upsetting to see charities, especially ones as popular and high-profile as Komen and ACS, disregard or abandon their mission for purely political purposes.

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