Feb 05

It has been deeply revealing and we have learned much.

First of all, that the relationship existed. After all the years of doubt or uncertainty by many contributors to the Pink Ribbon campaign over whether the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure donated some of those funds to Planned Parenthood, it’s all out there now. So there will never be another Pink October or any other fundraising campaign in which ubiquitous pink ribbons  and the Komen logo of the breast cancer awareness giant will not be associated with Planned Parenthood, the abortion giant.

Second, we saw the full weight of Planned Parenthood’s power and fury. On a hair trigger, they and their supporters fired off relentless rounds of volleys through a vast social media network. And they either pressured or cajoled nearly two dozen US senators to leap into the fire and lobby on their behalf, all on practically no notice.

Senators Frank Lautenberg, Patty Murray and 20 other Democrats have prepared a letter, obtained by Reuters, saying Komen’s move “threatens to reduce access to necessary, life-savings services. We urge Komen to reconsider its decision.”

They certainly didn’t take the time to research the veracity of their claim about access and services, and anything else pertaining to the truth of the matter.

“It would be tragic if any woman, let alone thousands of women, lost access to these potentially life-saving screenings because of a politically motivated attack,” said the letter, which was due to be sent later on Thursday.

It all worked, and fast, which is a big lesson for the pro-life movement. Whatever else Planned Parenthood is, it is highly successful in everything it does nationally, at the local level and highest levels of government obviously up to the White House itself. And it is highly successful as a force to be reckoned with because it is relentless in applying pressure and mobilizing rapid response forces that frame a message, make it go viral and then make it stick. They make it clear that there will be consequences to non-compliance with their demands, and they follow through.

This, with another tenor but no less tenacity, is a model for the pro-life or any movement to notice and consider. Leave aside PP’s bullying for another post…

Social activism can change policies and laws when people unite behind a cause with a fervent commitment, make a clear statement meant to ’stick’, mobilize a network through social media, make a sustained effort to make the message go viral, and refuse to go away or back down. And make it clear there will be consequences to the response or lack of one.

The movement should be unapologetically forceful, but unassailably positive and relentlessly determined. And it helps when it’s an election year.

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Feb 04

First, the backoff happened with head-spinning swiftness. Second, it’s still unclear what the statement by the breast cancer awareness foundation really meant.

The uncertainty is not for lack of news stories.

The Susan G. Komen Foundation has reversed its decision to cut funding for Planned Parenthood and apologized “to the American public” for its handling of the issue.

A statement from founder and CEO Nancy Brinker and the Susan G. Komen Board of Directors says the foundation will immediately get in touch with its network and key supporters “to refocus our attention on our mission and get back to doing our work.”

“The events of this week have been deeply unsettling for our supporters, partners and friends and all of us at Susan G. Komen,” the statement says.

“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.”

Komen touched off an uproar by announcing that it had adopted criteria excluding Planned Parenthood from grants because it was under government investigation, notably a probe launched in Congress at the urging of anti-abortion groups.

They leave aside the reasons for those investigations, as most articles did, which is a glaring omission. Congress and state governing bodies don’t enter into these things frivolously, especially when it comes to Planned Parenthood.

However…

In its statement, Komen now says it will change the criteria so it won’t apply to such investigations.

“We will continue to fund existing grants, including those of Planned Parenthood, and preserve their eligibility to apply for future grants,” the statement says.

It was a desperate measure to batten down the hatches against the storm.

But officials across the organization said they were still reeling from the fallout of what many described as a public relations fiasco created by Komen’s leadership.

“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.”

And they were criticized for that, too.

The situation has been a “total embarrassment” for Komen, said Tom Madden, chief executive of TransMedia Group, a Boca Raton, Fla.-based public relations ad crisis management company. “There should have been a lot of thought through that kind of decision, and it sounds to me like the ramifications and pressures they were under were not anticipated, which was a failure of planning. I can’t believe an organization like Komen wasn’t aware of what was going on.”

Reversing themselves is a sign that Komen is not a “thoughtful, contemplative organization,” Madden added. “This does not strike a chord that this is an organization that knows where it’s going and what it’s doing.”

Komen may have alienated both supporters and detractors in switching its position, Madden said. “They should have anticipated that,” he said. “Anticipation is a big part of crisis management. If you’re going to avoid a crisis, you have to vividly plan for it.”…

“I don’t think there’s been any permanent damage,” Madden said. “I think there’s going to be some anger on both sides, but that will dissipate eventually. The organization at its heart is very worthwhile. However, they must take aggressive action to really do a thorough and transparent analysis of what is best for women with breast cancer.”

Yes. Which begins with understanding some of the causes can be prevented.

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Feb 01

It seemed to take a long time to get public admission that the breast cancer awareness giant was even giving funds to the abortion giant. Once they did, they tried to focus on the good they intended it to do, and discounted the potential harm. Now, there’s no denial.

Susan G. Komen for the Cure has pulled its funding of Planned Parenthood. The story is spreading quickly.

Here’s what the Washington Post had to say.

The Associated Press reports that Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the nation’s leading breast-cancer charity, will cut off its funding to Planned Parenthood affiliates, where the foundation has traditionally paid for preventive screening services.

According to the AP, the move will mean “a cutoff of hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants, mainly for breast exams.”Planned Parenthood confirms that Komen is the first, and only, organization to cut off funding since the Congress began debating the issue in earnest last winter.

Komen said it could not continue to fund Planned Parenthood because it has adopted new guidelines that bar it from funding organizations under congressional investigation. The House oversight and investigations subcommittee announced in the fall an investigation into Planned Parenthood’s funding.

It’s not exactly a connection to the ‘abortion breast cancer link’, but it’s a leap in the right direction.

And it’s another occasion to repeat what breast cancer expert Dr. Angela Lanfranchi told me years ago, and recently again on radio…that seeking to cure breast cancer is well and good, but more attention should focus on preventing it. As she does at the Breast Cancer Prevention Institute.

Good step for Komen.

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