Anyone with access to the media is aware of the impressive shit storm that brewed this past week when Susan G. Komen for the Cure pulled funding from Planned Parenthood. (But here, just in case.) Planned Parenthood is a highly visible organization that does active work– it screens and treats millions of women every year. Without it, we would notice a huge hole in our social fabric.
This is not the case with medical research, however. One isn’t generally aware of how many people– and how much money— are at work curing cancer, heart disease, and every other scourge to the human body. So when Komen pulled $12 million in funding from medical research labs over embryonic stem cell research last November, nobody heard much about it. Bizarrely, it has been suggested that none of the groups receiving that funding were actually doing embryonic stem cell research. They were just affiliated with medical laboratories that did. But hey, you might know some of the organizations that lost funding! Johns Hopkins, anyone? How about Yale, or the National Cancer Institute?
Interestingly, this is now coming to light because pro-life groups and media are reporting on it, which seems like a bad move, considering how much backlash rained down on the decision to cut funding to Planned Parenthood. Komen can’t be very excited that their pro-life re-branding is coming from others, out of their control. But this is what happens when you cave to pressure, or allow your new vice president’s political views to change your focus.
There may be some attempts at damage control a’brewin’: this press release, which accompanied the decision to halt the $12 million in funding, was recently pulled from the Komen website. An attempt to cover up tracks, maybe? Somewhere, women in neck scarves and pearls are huddling, trying to figure out the next play. Could this spell the end of Komen’s credibility?