Much of the reaction to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation’s decision to cut ties with the Planned Parenthood Federation of America has focused on the idea that the foundation sadly succumbed to political pressure from the right. This line of analysis misses the point. Komen didn’t bend to pressure from the right; it made a calculated decision to support the right wing war against women’s rights.
Komen has defended its decision to halt its funding for the womens health group by claiming that it would not longer fund organizations that are under investigation. This claim doesn’t hold up under scrutiny. Of the roughly 2,000 organizations to which Komen gives out grants, Planned Parenthood turned out to be the only one affected by the supposed no-investigations rule. That’s not to say that it’s the only group which could be affected. As Mother Jones reports, Penn State University — which is currently the subject of a federal investigation related to the sexual assault allegations against former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky — is currently the beneficiary of a five year, $7.5 million grant from Komen.
Clearly, something else is going on here. As Jeffrey Goldberg writes in The Atlantic, sources within the Komen Foundation claim that the foundation made a specific political decision to defund Planned Parenthood.
“The cart came before the horse in this case,” said the source, who spoke to me on condition of anonymity. “The [“no-investigations”] 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.”
Goldberg’s account of Komen actively searching for ways to go after Planned Parenthood is corroborated by Connie Schultz, who reported that Doug Scott — the president of right win pro-life group Life Decisions International — all but admitted to her that Komen told him about their decision to cut ties with Planned Parenthood a full two weeks before they told Planned Parenthood itself.