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Komen: Restore Stem Cell Research Funding & Get Back to Your Mission
  • Petitioned Nancy G. Brinker

This petition was delivered to:

Founder and Chief Executive Officer
Nancy G. Brinker
Chair, Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation
Dr. LaSalle D. Leffall
Chief Scientific Advisor for Susan G. Komen for the Cure
Eric P. Winer, M.D.,
Associate Director of Cancer Prevention, Dan L. Duncan Cancer Center, Baylor College of Medicine
Powel Brown, MD, PhD
Institute for Health Promotion Research, UT Health Science Ctr (UTHSCSA)
Amelie G. Ramirez, DrPH
Co-leader, Breast Cancer Program Indiana Univ Simon Cancer Center
George W. Sledge, M.D.
Professor of Medicine, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Myles Brown, M.D.
Board of Directors, Susan G Komen Foundation
President/Public Policy Chair of the Orange County Affiliate SGK
Chris Tannous, Ph.D.

Komen: Restore Stem Cell Research Funding & Get Back to Your Mission

    1. Petition by


End divisive partisan politics and return to a non-partisan, science-based approach to supporting breast cancer screening and research for a cure.

The Susan G. Komen Foundation can do this in 3 ways:

1. Fire Karen Handel as SVP of Public Policy, [UPDATED -- she resigned on 2/7/12]

2. Reaffirm a non-partisan approach to breast cancer prevention for women which includes funding organizations that provide women's health services,

3. Continue to support embryonic stem cell research centers, which could one day be crucial in the search for a cure for breast cancer.

Why is this important?
An empty chair at the table during the holidays: a woman who flies to be at the bedside of her dying sister, or perhaps a woman with breast cancer who’s left for hospice knowing she’ll never sit in celebration at the family dinner table again. A very much missed and loved aunt, mother, daughter, wife, cousin, grandmother, or partner. Laughter we won’t ever hear again, a hug that’s gone forever. These are the holes left in our lives when we lose the women we love. We try to fill them with memories, and honor those absences with support for the survivors of breast cancer -- hoping, always, for a cure.

You, the Susan G. Komen Foundation, have betrayed that grief and those hopes.

With one act you’ve nearly destroyed yourselves. Put it right. Do these three things.

1. As SVP of Public Policy for the Komen Foundation, Karen Handel has introduced controversy and political divisiveness into a formerly universally inclusive campaign to help ALL women with breast cancer achieve early detection and treatment. Speaking on behalf of the Komen Foundation, a self-proclaimed non-partisan non-profit, Handel claims the organization’s recent decision to end funding for breast cancer screening exams at Planned Parenthood is a result of a new policy that excludes funds from organizations “under investigation” for wrongdoing. But the current Congressional investigation into Planned Parenthood has been widely criticized as a baseless political stunt.

Other grantees awarded money by the Komen Foundation have recently been "under investigation" in apparent violation of the same policy that caused Komen, to defund Planned Parenthood. For example, the Komen Foundation recently granted $7.5 million to Penn State University, which is currently under federal investigation in the wake of an alleged coverup of child sex abuse by former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky. That grant has not been rescinded.

Karen Handel herself was the center of a Department of Justice investigation into her failure to impartially uphold voting rights laws while Georgia's Secretary of State. According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution's reporting on the story: "Justice Department lawyers said Handel’s office had created a system that 'does not produce accurate and reliable information and that thousands of citizens who are in fact eligible to vote under Georgia law have been flagged.'” The Department of Justice found Handel's policies to have actual measurable disparate effect on African American, Hispanic, and Asian American voters wrongly struck from the eligible voters database. By the rules Handel developed for the Komen Foundation, she herself should not be able to serve the Foundation.

Before joining the Komen Foundation, Karen Handel, as a candidate for Governor of Georgia, publicly stated her intention to de-fund Planned Parenthood. In 2010, Handel wrote on her campaign blog, “Let me be clear, since I am pro-life, I do not support the mission of Planned Parenthood,” and promised to end grants that allow Planned Parenthood to provide basic health care to low-income women in the state.

Even Susan G Komen affiliates in numerous states have stated their disagreement with the national Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation's decision.

And key Komen Foundation staffers have resigned in response to this violation of the organization’s original mission to put breast cancer awareness, prevention and treatment first. The Komen Foundation should not allow partisan politics, or Karen Handel’s personal political views, to interfere with low-income women’s access to breast cancer screenings.

2. We, the millions of supporters of the Komen Foundation's goals and the men, women, and children of families whose women have been diagnosed with breast cancer, ask for a public statement of assurance that the Komen Foundation will put the interests of women with breast cancer first, and restore the Planned Parenthood grants.

3. We also ask the Komen Foundation to reaffirm and renew your funding commitment to embryonic stem cell research centers, which could one day reveal the cure for this devastating cancer and many others.


Recent signatures


    1. Calls Grow for Leader of Komen to Step Down

      We succeeded in letting former SVP of Policy Karen Handel know that her anti-Planned Parenthood views were wrong. We urged respected medical researchers to re-affirm their commitment to science by making Komen grants that fund stem cell research -- this has yet to happen. But we're getting close. Help us send a final powerful message to Nancy Brinker that she should heed the flight of many dedicated breast cancer researchers and leaders of affiliates who've departed in the past several weeks.

      Take the politics out of women's health, doctors on the advisory panel, and founder of the Komen Foundation, or be prepared to step down yourself.

    2. Keep up the pressure on Komen, & fight the bigger War on Women April 28,'12

      We won - together, we pressured the Komen Foundation to remove politics from their grantmaking & an SVP of Policy "resigned." We'll keep a watchful eye to see if they renege.

      Since we last communicated, the War on Women (and women's health) has escalated to an unhinged degree, with attacks on contraception, mandatory transvaginal ultrasounds for women seeking abortion, & other despicable remarks about women by the blowhard right (talk radio show hosts and politicians alike).

      It's time to stop the madness. Today on the MOMocrats podcast, we spoke with Karen Teegarden, Desire Jordan, and Kellyann Conway of Unite Against the War on Women, an organization formed just three weeks ago -- which has 20,000 Facebookers who are mad as hell and ready to fight back.

      Karen, Desire and Kellyann talked on our podcast about the battle ahead - and what we can do on April 28 & beyond to protect women's rights. Listen, take action, & signup (link below) with the MOMocrats to end the War on Women.

    3. Success! Karen Handel resigned from Komen. Now, fund stem cell research.

      Karen Handel resigned from Komen under a cloud of disapproval and scandal. Once her past was unearthed, it was clear to see her partisan agenda. (See WaPo story linked below.) But we're not done yet.

      We asked for three things as a minimum requirement for salvaging Komen's battered reputation among its former supporters. Where is the statement affirming science-based decision-making in grant funding, and restoration of funding for embryonic stem cell research, which could lead to a cure for breast cancer and other cancers?

      We've added the members of the <a href="http://ww5.komen.org/Content.aspx?id=6072&terms=scientific%20advisory%20board">Komen Foundation's Scientific Advisory Board</a> -- as recipients of your emails. Let's urge the Scientific Advisory Panel to take the lead on research-based grantmaking decisions and renew our call on the Komen Foundation to restore funding to embryonic stem cell research and put science and women's health ahead of politics.

    4. Reached 1,000 signatures
    5. Komen appears to reverse its position, but is there *real* change?

      Friday morning the Susan G Komen Foundation released a statement affirming that they would continue to fund existing grants and would accept grant applications from Planned Parenthood for new grants. They also said they were changing their grantmaking policy to clarify the language about organizations under investigation, so that political witch hunts launched by politicians would not be considered in their grantmaking criteria. We applaud their decision to reconsider their policy in this regard, but it does not go far enough to repair the damage. Given one board member's statement affirming there are no guarantees of any new grants to Planned Parenthood, we believe more action is necessary on the Susan G Komen Foundation's part.

      See: <a href=" http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/post/komen-caved-or-did-it/2012/02/03/gIQA9tS9mQ_blog.html">2/3/2012 Washington Post</a>

    6. Reached 100 signatures


    Reasons for signing

    • lynn martin LEWISVILLE, TX
      • over 2 years ago

      politics have no place in this org. will not help this group any more. do support Planned Parenthood

    • Sunny Williams MANOR, TX
      • over 2 years ago

      Women have rights. Women have the rights to decide if they want to have a child that will be loved instead of beaten to death during a "bad" day. Women need to be able to decide how they want to feel, without getting a man's viewpoint.

    • Catherine Mikunda CONRATH, WI
      • over 2 years ago

      My 42 year old daughter has stage 4 breast cancer. She'seen fighting it for 10 years. I don't want others to go through what she has.

    • Renee' Rawski EUREKA, CA
      • over 2 years ago

      This is a blatant attack on Planned Parenthood which does so much good for women.

    • Marion Mackles NEW YORK, NY
      • over 2 years ago

      We'll support you again when Karen Handel is gone!


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