Dear Ms. Brinker,
As one who has been at odds with SGK over your organization’s funding of Planned Parenthood, I write today to offer you my heartfelt gratitude and congratulations for the principled and prudential position that you have taken in defunding Planned Parenthood.
Having lost many family members to cancer, and having several close friends experience the ravages of breast cancer, I’ve experienced this issue intimately and laud you for making good on your deathbed promise to your sister, Susan. You have done what so many researchers could only dream of.
You have rallied an entire nation around women and the disease that strikes fear not only into their hearts, but into the hearts of the men who love them passionately. You have raised hundreds of millions of research dollars and in so doing have advanced the understanding of molecular medicine in the field of oncology far beyond where it would be today, but for your foundation’s single-mindedness of purpose.
In all of that focus on research, you have not forgotten the women of today who lack the means for appropriate breast screening utilizing state of the art mammography, and the need for younger women to be educated in prevention. Toward that end, it is my understanding that you and Planned Parenthood saw a shared mission and purpose in the field of women’s health where breast cancer screening and prevention were concerned.
Many of us heard of your largesse in funding breast screenings at Planned Parenthood, screenings which we were told included mammograms. Tragically, we have come to know that Planned Parenthood lied about performing mammograms, and in so doing took money from SGK that might have otherwise benefited women through mammography elsewhere, or through additional research.
Over the past few years, repeated sting operations have time and again caught Planned Parenthood acting with treachery:
Lying about performing mammograms.
Aiding in what they perceived to be the sex trafficking of minors.
Suborning lies from perceived minors to skirt reporting of statutory rape.
Lying about the developmental status of the baby they were about to abort.
And on, and on…
SGK’s February 1, 2012 statement of clarification speaks very clearly as to why the defunding took place:
We are dismayed and extremely disappointed that actions we have taken to strengthen our granting process have been widely mischaracterized. It is necessary to set the record straight.
Starting in 2010, Komen began an initiative to help us do a better job of measuring the impact of community grants. This is important because we invest significant dollars in our local community programs–$93 million in 2011, which provided for 700,000 breast health screenings and diagnostic procedures.
Following this review, we made the decision to implement stronger performance criteria for our grantees to minimize duplication and free up dollars for direct services to help vulnerable women. To support this new granting strategy, Komen has also implemented more stringent eligibility standards to safeguard donor dollars. Consequently, some organizations are no longer eligible to receive Komen grants.
Some might argue that our standards are too exacting, but over the past three decades people have given us more than just their money. They have given us their trust and we take that responsibility very seriously.
We regret that these new policies have impacted some longstanding grantees, such as Planned Parenthood, but want to be absolutely clear that our grant-making decisions are not about politics. Throughout our 30 year history, our priority has always been and will continue to be the women we serve. As we move forward, we are working to ensure that there is no interruption or gaps in services for the women who need our support most in the fight against breast cancer.
Indeed your stringent criteria leave little room for organizations that are repeatedly caught in sting operations either lying to, or suborning lies from young people. Such criteria also no doubt would require an organization such as Planned Parenthood to actually perform the mammograms they claim to perform, or at the very least, set the record straight when others make such false claims on their behalf.
So now you are being assailed by Planned Parenthood and their devotees for being…
That’s a tough narrative to sell where SGK is concerned.
If the word circulating on the internet is true, Planned Parenthood has raised over $400,000 in response to your withdrawal of funding. This is indeed good news all around. Planned Parenthood has demonstrated repeatedly that when monies are withdrawn they have the capability of stepping up and doing the necessary fundraising to offset and replace the lost income. That is a cardinal sign of a strong and financially healthy organization. It means that SGK can give their support elsewhere, confident in knowing that Planned Parenthood can thrive without your support.
You have acted here with the highest integrity and moral courage. Your manifest integrity should serve as a beacon to corporations that currently fund Planned Parenthood, and who might fear the backlash and vilifying you have been receiving should they similarly redirect their money. I would encourage those corporations to fund real women’s health initiatives by funding Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Such a move would indemnify themselves against Planned Parenthood’s predictable allegation of hating women and not supporting women’s health. It would also increase your efficacy in accelerating the arrival of that day when this terrible scourge becomes a thing of the past. Perhaps corporations switching their support might in conjunction with SGK establish a program of purchasing and donating mammogram machines to areas of need, especially for low-income women.
For now, Ms. Brinker, my heartfelt congratulations and gratitude once again for your principled leadership in upholding your exacting standards with equally rigorous equanimity, regardless of the consequences. Through your principled leadership, many more women’s lives will be saved, and many more women made whole once again.
God Bless You,
Gerard M. Nadal, Ph.D.