Susan G. Komen Foundation relents: Planned Parenthood grants restored

The Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation, amid a flurry of controversy, decided to resume grants to Planned Parenthood. Critics say Komen pulled the grants to appease abortion foes.

Jonathan Ernst/REUTERS
Susan G. Komen for the Cure's Nancy Brinker attends a dinner at the White House in Washington in this 2011 file photo. Susan G. Komen for the Cure said Friday it was retreating from a decision to cut funding to Planned Parenthood, which provides abortion and birth control services, and apologized for a move that thrust the world's largest breast cancer charity into a deeply politicized controversy.

The Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation has relented. Three days after news broke that the nation’s largest breast-cancer charity was ending grants to the Planned Parenthood, citing changes to its grant criteria, the Komen Foundation is restoring the grants.

The Dallas-based foundation, back on its heels as furious supporters pledged to stop donating, issued a statement Friday.

"We will continue to fund existing grants, including those of Planned Parenthood, and preserve their eligibility to apply for future grants, while maintaining the ability of our affiliates to make funding decisions that meet the needs of their communities," the Komen statement said.

"It is our hope and we believe it is time for everyone involved to pause, slow down, and reflect on how grants can most effectively and directly be administered without controversies that hurt the cause of women. We urge everyone who has participated in this conversation across the country over the last few days to help us move past this issue. We do not want our mission marred or affected by politics – anyone's politics."

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Planned Parenthood had asserted that Komen’s original decision was politically motivated, following longtime pressure from abortion foes to end grants to the women’s reproductive-services organization. Some Planned Parenthood facilities perform abortions, but overall, abortions account for only 3 percent of the organization’s activity.

The loss of funds to Planned Parenthood for breast-health services sparked an outpouring of donations, including $250,000 from New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, which more than made up for the $680,000 loss of funds to 19 Planned Parenthood centers.

Komen had stated that it was no longer funding organizations under government investigation. Planned Parenthood is under investigation by a congressional subcommittee for improperly using federal money to fund abortions. Planned Parenthood denies that taxpayer money has been used for abortions.

News that Komen had reversed its decision elicited this statement from the Planned Parenthood federation’s president, Cecile Richards:

“The outpouring of support for women in need of lifesaving breast cancer screening this week has been astonishing and is a testament to our nation's compassion and sincerity.

“During the last week, millions spontaneously joined a national conversation about lifesaving breast cancer prevention care and reinforced shared values about access to health care for all.  This compassionate outcry in support of those most in need rose above political, ideological, and cultural divides, and will surely be recognized as one of our nation's better moments during a contentious political time.  Planned Parenthood thanks each and every person who has contributed to elevating the importance of breast cancer prevention for so many women in need.

“In recent weeks, the treasured relationship between the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation and Planned Parenthood has been challenged, and we are now heartened that we can continue to work in partnership toward our shared commitment to breast health for the most underserved women.  We are enormously grateful that the Komen Foundation has clarified its grantmaking criteria, and we look forward to continuing our partnership with Komen partners, leaders and volunteers.  What these past few days have demonstrated is the deep resolve all Americans share in the fight against cancer, and we honor those who are at the helm of this battle."

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