We just heard that the Susan G. Komen board of directors reversed course and will continue funding Planned Parenthood after all. “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,” Founder and CEO Nancy G. Brinker said in a statement released from Komen’s Dallas headquarters.
It was a stunning admission by an organization that was bombarded with angry complaints over the move to drop Planned Parenthood — supposedly because of a change in Komen’s grant-making criteria. But the political motives were just below the surface, and it was difficult not to come to the conclusion that Komen cut off Planned Parenthood because it is the women’s health organization that the right now loves to demonize.
This abrupt turn-around was surely caused by the fury unleashed on the Internet, and that is both a civic wonder and a scary thought. Since I was one of the ones infuriated by Komen’s initial decision — expressed in this editorial — I’m relieved and proud that the voices with whom I agreed had this kind of impact.
But will I feel so thrilled if the subject was something I abhorred? If the fury was unleashed in a less inviting direction?
My other concern is more specific. I don’t exaggerate when I say that reproductive rights are being slowly, deliberately lost in this country, as those who do not believe in abortion are doing their best to narrow women’s access to what remains a legal right. They are winning in state legislatures and other arenas because they care so passionately.
Will those of us who support a woman’s right to choose within the wise framework delineated in Roe v. Wade maintain that same passion?
Jane Eisner, a pioneer in journalism, is writer-at-large at the Forward and the 2019 Koeppel Fellow in Journalism at Wesleyan University. For more than a decade, she was editor-in-chief of the Forward, the first woman to hold the position at the influential Jewish national news organization. Under her leadership, the Forward’s digital readership grew significantly, and won numerous regional and national awards for its original journalism, in print and online.
Komen Folds, but the Race Isn't Over