After a huge public backlash following their decision this week to cut off funding to Planned Parenthood, breast cancer charity Susan G. Komen for the Cure has reversed their decision. But Komen's reversal leaves unclear their reason for initially denying Planned Parenthood funding and whether they'll approve future grant requests from the reproductive and child health organization.
Today's statement from Susan G. Komen for the Cure founder Nancy Brinker said in part:
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.
Our original desire was to fulfill our fiduciary duty to our donors by not funding grant applications made by organizations under investigation. We will amend the criteria to make clear that disqualifying investigations must be criminal and conclusive in nature and not political. That is what is right and fair.
Komen's rule to deny funding to organizations under government investigation began in December 2011, three months after Republican Representative Cliff Stearns began investigating Planned Parenthood's alleged use of federal funds for abortions--curious timing to say the least.
So far there has been no mention of why Komen decided to instate the new rule nor any mention of other groups affected by the rule.
Some blogs have credited Komen's staunchly anti-abortion and anti-gay senior vice president for public policy Karen Handel for the policy change with one unnamed source saying:
"The rule was created to give the board of directors the excuse to stop the funding of Planned Parenthood. It was completely arbitrary. If they hadn't come up with this particular rule, they would have come up with something else in order to separate themselves from Planned Parenthood."
It's also worth noting that last year Komen cut $12 million in funding to organizations that conduct embryonic stem cell research, another anti-abortion overture to their changing funding policies.
But even though Komen has said that, "We will continue to fund [Planned Parenthood's] existing grants... and preserve their eligibility to apply for future grants," Austin Ruse, president of the right-wing Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute says that doesn't mean that Planned Parenthood's future grant applications will be approved (H/T AmericaBlog):
"We have known and have reported that [Komen] are continuing five (Planned Parenthood) grants through 2012... The second clause about eligibility is certainly true. Any group can apply for anything. It does not mean they are going to get anything."
Right now the speculation that Komen will deny Planned Parenthood funding is speculative at best. But if they do, Komen insiders and Planned Parenthood will have to let everyone know.