Susan G Komen's U-Turn: Has the Damage Already Been Done and Was This a False Apology?


At first glance it looked like a big win for Planned Parenthood supporters. The extremely unpopular decision of the Susan G Komen organization to stop funding the popular clinics drew criticism and angst directed towards the once well-respected cancer research foundation. It resulted in top management stepping down, and a huge backlash consisting of tweets, Facebook messages, blog posts and articles expressing anger about Komen’s decision.

And then they tried to take it back. They wanted a do-over.  They wanted to be loved again.

On Friday morning after a terrible PR week, with many people saying that Komen has lost their support (and their future donations) the organization released a statement seemingly taking back their ill-advised decision. But has the damage already been done? Can they fix their now tarnished image? And is this just a false apology, which doesn’t actually fix the situation with Planned Parenthood funding?


One of my friends Connie Ott of  Princess Time Toys posted on Facebook in regards to Komen saying, “Thank you for righting a wrong, but I no longer trust you so I’ll still be withholding my support and will move to charities I can trust.”  This is an opinion apparently shared by many others. Marie Claire promptly put up a poll asking: “The Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation reversed its decision about funding Planned Parenthood. But is their image forever tarnished after the backlash?” The choice, “Yes. They won’t get any more donations from me got a 78% of the vote (so far).

The other question is, does their reversal of their decisions really change anything in terms of the funding that will go to Planned Parenthood?  Was it a false apology, just a PR pitch?

Laura Bassett of Huffington Post stated, “To be clear, Komen’s apology is not a promise to renew Planned Parenthood grants. It’s a promise to “continue to fund existing grants” to the organization — which it was already planning on doing — and to make it eligible for future grants. At no point in the press release does Brinker promise that Komen will renew grants to Planned Parenthood.”

Ezra Klein on the Washington Post’s Wonkblog wrote, “So they are, perhaps, backing down. Or perhaps not. Yesterday, the Komen Foundation said the investigation was not the cause of their reduced support for Planned Parenthood, and that the real issue was that Planned Parenthood did not directly provide mammograms. This statement doesn’t address that concern at all. So it would appear to leave open the possibility that the foundation intends to reject Planned Parenthood’s future grant applications — albeit on less overtly political grounds.”

So was this just a “false apology” and will this tarnish Komen’s image for years to come, in theory also hurting the fundraising for breast cancer research?