Times Celebrates Social Media Outcry That Would Soon Force Komen to Capitulate
A stacked deck of headlines ushered in Friday's lead New York Times story by Jennifer Preston and Gardiner Harris on the decision (since rescinded) by the breast cancer group Komen to cut off funding from the abortion provider Planned Parenthood: 'Outcry Is Fierce To Cut In Funds By Cancer Group – Komen Feels Pressure – $250,000 Donation for Planned Parenthood From Bloomberg.'
Below are excerpts from the original print story, printed before Komen caved in to pressure in a Friday morning apology, with the Times hailing the power of 'social media to harness protest,' at least for liberal causes.
The nation's leading breast cancer advocacy organization confronted the growing furor Thursday over its decision to largely end its decades-long partnership with Planned Parenthood, with rising dissension in its own ranks and a roiling anger on the Internet showing the power of social media to harness protest.
All seven California affiliates of the organization, the Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation, released a statement saying they opposed its decision. Twenty-six senators urged the foundation to reconsider its decision. And a pledge of $250,000 from Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg of New York helped Planned Parenthood, which provides family planning and abortion services in hundreds of clinics across the country, to more than make up the money it lost.
'Politics have no place in health care,' Mr. Bloomberg said in a statement, an echo of the complaints voiced by many women elsewhere. 'Breast cancer screening saves lives, and hundreds of thousands of women rely on Planned Parenthood for access to care.'
The deluge of criticism Komen faced on Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr came two weeks after online protests led Congress to suspend an effort to pass anti-piracy legislation that some in the Internet community saw as a threat to online freedoms. It demonstrated again how social media can change the national conversation with head-snapping speed.
With help from friendly front-page coverage by the nation's most influential newspaper.
Over 30 years, Komen became one of the most successful disease advocacy organizations in the world by making pink ribbons and the fight against breast cancer as prevalent a symbol here as baseball and apple pie.
Avoiding this kind of controversy was the very reason Komen chose a quiet ending to its relationship with Planned Parenthood, Mr. Raffaelli said. And he said Komen was bitterly disappointed that Planned Parenthood was using Komen's decision to raise money.
The Komen foundation posted a video on its Web site and on YouTube with Ms. Brinker defending its decision.
But the video, which drew more than 2,800 comments and was viewed more than 39,000 times, did not appease the growing number of people online, mostly women, who decried what they view as the politicization of women's health care.
Since Planned Parenthood receives federal funding ($360 million dollars in 2009) aren't they already "politicized"?
Komen's decision prompted thousands of donations to Planned Parenthood and threats by longtime Komen supporters to toss their pink ribbons and no longer join its fund-raising walks and runs. Mr. Bloomberg has been a longtime supporter of both the Komen foundation and Planned Parenthood. According to his office, he has given $555,000 to Planned Parenthood over the years. And he has given $200,000 to the Komen foundation, much of it in the form of matching grants.
Editorial page editor Andrew Rosenthal joined the liberal mob with a Monday posting, 'Muddying the Pink Ribbon,' calling abortion 'safe,' which makes sense only if you assume unborn children have no rights.
I know that political forces on the right are determined to restrict access to abortion and to vilify the legal procedure, even if it means diminishing the availability of other health services that help women and children. But, naively I suppose, I'm still shocked by the lengths they'll go to get their way....Abortions, it bears repeating, are safe and relatively rare. In a given year, about 2 percent of American women have one. It is also a completely legal procedure. But having lost the legal battle, anti-abortion forces decided that they would use political influence and intimidation to stop women from exercising their constitutional right to privacy...