Komen Forgot Its Ultimate Mission

Posted on February 7, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , |

By Carl Chancellor

Instead of racing for a cure the Susan G. Komen Foundation is running to distance itself from an unnecessary controversy that has severely tarnished its once sterling image.

A seemingly politically motivated and clearly short-sighted decision to cease breast-cancer screening funding to Planned Parenthood swept up the nonprofit Komen foundation, the preeminent leader in the all-important fight against breast cancer, into a maelstrom of public outrage.

It didn’t have to come to this and it shouldn’t have.

For more than a week Komen and its leadership has been entirely in damage-control mode when frankly their energies would have better served women and their families — Komen’s core constituency — had they not listened to a handful of political ideologues and instead stuck to its laudable mission.

As it is, the backlash Komen and its leaders have been forced to deal with have pulled them far off message, made them address accusations of playing politics, and more importantly disappointed legions of once ardent supporters. Nancy Brinker, Komen’s founder, after several failed explanations finally made amends last Friday, saying; “We want to apologize to the American public for recent decisions that cast doubt upon our commitment to our mission of saving women’s lives.” She went onto say Komen was reversing its decision to defund Planned Parenthood.

Unfortunately, two organizations, Planned Parenthood and Komen — both dedicated to safeguarding the health and well-being of women — were unnecessarily at odds. Of course Planned Parenthood is used to controversy, the 95-year-old organization long the target of those opposed to a woman’s right of choice guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. However, Komen finds itself in unfamiliar waters. Hopefully, its cry to defeat breast cancer isn’t drowned out by this self-inflicted crisis.

Since its founding in 1982, Komen, which started with Brinker’s promise to her dying sister to do everything possible to fight breast cancer, has invested more than $1.9 billion to fulfill that promise. This is what this fight is about:

  • Without a cure, 1 in 8 women in the U.S. will continue to be diagnosed with breast cancer — a devastating disease with   physical, emotional, psychological and financial pain that can last a lifetime.
  • Without a cure, an estimated 5 million Americans will be diagnosed with breast cancer — and more than 1 million could die — over the next 25 years.
  • Without a cure, an estimated 25 million women around the world will be diagnosed with breast cancer — and 10 million could die — over the next 25 years.

Caught up in politics, Komen lost sight of the fact that Planned Parenthood is a key ally in its fight against breast cancer. It would do us all well to remember that it is dangerous and ultimately self-defeating when we jettison core beliefs — in this case supporting women’s health — in the narrow-minded pursuit of scoring political points.

Turner GPA is a leading D.C.-based national lobbying and government affairs firm dedicated to delivering cutting edge policy advocacy for the manufacturing, defense, aerospace, health and energy industries. Members of our professional policy team can be reached at (202) 466-2511. We are also on the Web at www.turnergpa.com.

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2 Responses to “Komen Forgot Its Ultimate Mission”

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Thank you Karen for bringing this topic, it is by it self an amazing story of leadership in the USA an era i which political ideology and political Payback have a higher priority than the health, and the survival of its citizens. The GOP itself bears the mantle here, it i is their leadership agenda that is in play in the Komen incident. I remember well women in my family wearing the pink, running, fundraising, consciousness raising–remembering above all the tragic loss of life due to breast cancer. Now all of that has been trampled by right wing ideology where nothing matters so much as enforcing as mere point of view, more important than life itself.
Thank you for bringing this topic, it is revealing far beyond the characters and institutions involved, it is a topic as broad as the American body politic- the nature of leadership…Howard D. Moore

[…] Super Bowl was just the first national show-down of the month. The long time alliance between Komen and Planned Parenthood suffered a rift nearly as large as the Great Rift Valley itself! The Santorum […]

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