The story may have been broken by traditional media – the Associated Press had it first – but the news that breast-cancer giant Susan G. Komen for the Cure would no longer fund most Planned Parenthood centers went viral via social media.
“ALERT: Susan G. Komen caves under anti-choice pressure, ends funding for breast cancer screenings at PP health centers bit.ly/AloRdK,” Planned Parenthood’s action fund, @PPact, tweeted on Tuesday.
Komen was uncharacteristically quiet at first, having commented for the AP piece but not responding to interview requests for a day. On Wednesday, Komen founder Nancy Brinker took the argument to another social-media site – YouTube.
“Contrary to what some are saying, we are not pulling any grants,” Brinker said. She said the group had reviewed its grants, adding “more stringent eligibility and performance criteria.” The YouTube posting ensured that Brinker could deliver her message uninterrupted.
“We appreciate all who continue to support our mission. Thank you,” @komenforthecure tweeted later, “It’s not about politics. It never has been and never will be. Get the straight story from me: youtube/I4oOh6JhayA,” Brinker added from her own @NancyGBrinker Twitter account – and linking to the YouTube video.
Facebook and the Twittersphere are still alive with opinions, hashmarked #komen or #plannedparenthood. Members of Congress turned to the oldest medium of all – the snail-mail letter – to express disapproval but tweeted as well.
California Democratic Rep. Mike Honda got a little more modern with voice mail, but he told constituents about it on his Facebook page. “I am organizing my fellow colleagues in the House to write a joint letter encouraging the Komen Foundation to reconsider its decision. I left a voice mail for the Founder and CEO of Susan G. Komen yesterday; it is my sincere hope that the years of life-saving work that this organization has encouraged is not undone by this one ill-advised action,” he wrote.
Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., signed the letter but also signaled his 21st-century hipness with a tweet. “Ask @KomenfortheCure to reverse their decision and restore funding to @PPact: call 972-701-2168 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. #StandwithPP,” he said.
Planned Parenthood tweeted every development. “RT @nytmetro: Breaking: In wake of Komen controversy, [New York Mayor Michael] Bloomberg says he will personally give $250,000 to Planned Parenthood.”
Komen finally caved on Thursday, holding an old-fashioned telephone briefing. Brinker said her organizations donations were up 100 percent over the past two days, said three of 19 Planned Parenthood clinics would keep funding, and called reports a “gross mischaracterization” – according to USA Today’s Liz Szabo who – how else? — live-tweeted the briefing.