Social Media Support Helps Reverse Komen Decision

Posted on the PR Nonsense blog on February 3rd by Erica Frank

Susan G. Komen For the Cure, the nation’s largest breast-cancer advocacy agency, has had a rough couple of days. Earlier this week, the public learned that Komen would stop awarding grants to Planned Parenthood, the largest provider of reproductive health services in America.

The backlash was unimaginable. Consumers took to every social media site to relay their displeasure – you probably saw this on your own Facebook or Twitter feed. Furthermore, 26 Democratic senators voiced their opinion to the CEO, Nancy Brinker, urging her to reconsider the cuts.

“It would be tragic if any woman — let alone thousands of women — lost access to these potentially lifesaving screenings because of a politically motivated attack,” the senators wrote.

The announcement came Tuesday when Planned Parenthood revealed that 19 of its affiliates would no longer receive grants from the foundation for breast health programs because of new criteria barring new grants to groups under local, state or federal investigations. Though Komen officials said it was not a political move, a national debate, albeit a brief couple of days, ensued.

Just this afternoon, Brinker said Komen would amend the criteria the caused the backlash.

“We will continue to fund existing grants, including those of Planned Parenthood, and preserve their eligibility to apply for future grants,” said Brinker. “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.”

Brinker’s statement reiterated that Komen’s original decision was not “done for political reasons, or specifically to penalize Planned Parenthood.”

You can read more about the whole decision, controversy and reversal in this MSNBC article. It’s a fascinating example of the power of grassroots and social media. In fact, Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood, even credited support on social media sites with forcing the change.

What do you think about the Komen/Planned Parenthood fiasco? Do you believe it was the power of social media that helped reverse the decision?

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