Nancy Brinker (right) with her sister, Susan G. Komen, in 1977.
Over at Crisis Magazine, Austin Ruse has a
fascinating article on what went on behind the scenes of last year’s very
public, very ugly tussle between Planned Parenthood and Susan G. Komen for the
Cure. He begins his story with the news that Komen founder Nancy Brinker was
replaced as the foundation’s CEO last week:
It took a while but
they finally got rid of her, the woman who watched her sister suffer and die
from breast cancer, who dedicated her life to eradicating the disease, who
created one of the most successful global health charities in the world. They
removed her for the crime of trying to defund Planned Parenthood. She’s being
replaced by a woman some say had a hand in developing Obamacare and who has
never run a non-profit.
She was the last of
the triumvirate who had the audacity to try and get Susan G. Komen for the Cure
out of the culture wars around abortion.
Ruse, who is president of the Catholic think-tank C-FAM,
was deeply involved in the process by which Komen disentangled itself from giving
millions of dollars to Planned Parenthood (ostensibly for mammograms, which PP
does not in reality provide but for which it does referrals). He also witnessed
the enormous backlash against Komen when its break with the abortion provider
became publica decision Ruse claims was leaked to the press by Planned
What happened over the next 72 hours is well known.
The AP story could not have been worse for Komen. The Komen spokesman had been
directed to talk specifically and only about “pass through grants.” Instead she
talked about the investigations against Planned Parenthood. This placed the
issue directly into the camp of House Republicans. Even though many
investigations were going on, including for criminal wrongdoing at the local
and state level, the spokesman made it about nasty “anti-choice” Republicans
going after women’s health in the House of Representatives. This became the
opening salvo in the “war against women” narrative. So egregious was this
mistake by Komen spokesman Leslie Aun that in her book Handel suggests Aun may
have been working for Planned Parenthood all along.
letters from House Democrats were released. Female Congressmen were all over
television attacking Komen as doing the bidding of anti-woman and “anti-choice”
Republican bullies. Big Komen donors announced they were pulling out. Big Komen
donors, like Lance Armstrong, announced massive grants to Planned Parenthood.
Komen executives announced their resignations. Corporations announced they were
stepping back. Large Komen affiliates announced they were considering leaving
Komen and setting up independently. Recall they were set up as independent
charities and could do exactly that.
We were supposed to
believe all of this happened over night after the AP story appeared on
Wednesday, February 1. In fact, the take-down of Komen was weeks in the making.
Over those few days the handful of Komen insiders
were hunkered down in a glass-walled room at Komen’s DC headquarters. Someone
present in the glass room told me he had many times participated in real
national security crises in the White House, but that he had never experienced
anything like the unrelenting attack on the people in that little room over
those few days. Each minute brought new aspects to the crisis, new attacks. It
was simply nonstop.
At one point I
organized an effort by pro-lifer leaders to get Nancy Brinker to keep her
resolve. On Friday morning, dozens of bouquets of flowers arrived one by
one into that glassed-in room, including one massive bouquet of four-dozen
long-stemmed red roses. Each carried notes of encouragement and prayers.
Brinker read each of them one-by-one. What we did not know at the time was that
Brinker and her colleagues had already decided to reverse themselves and resume
funding to Planned Parenthood.
points out that for Planned Parenthood, this could not have been about the
money: “The Komen grants of a few million
dollars were a tiny drop in Planned Parenthood’s billion dollar bucket and the
amount was immediately replaced by other donors.” So why the enormous media
onslaught directed at taking down their former friends at Komen? “To some
abortion is a sacrament and all heretics to that orthodoxy are to be burned at
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