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Susan G. Komen Foundation Backs Down, Will Continue Funding Planned Parenthood

Donations surge for Planned Parenthood

Common Dreams staff

Earlier this week the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation had announced that it would no longer provide funding for Planned Parenthood. But today, Komen for the Cure released a statement apologizing and stating that it would continue to fund grants for Planned Parenthood.

Agencies reported that Planned Parenthood had received about $700,000 annually to provide funding for breast exams.

In the days since the announcement, support for Planned Parenthood has surged. Yesterday the Associated Press reported that the group had received $400,000 in smaller donations from 6,000 people, and had also received sizable contributions from individuals.

On Wednesday 18 senators wrote a letter to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure urging the foundation to reverse its politically motivated decision. They wrote:

"It would be tragic if any woman -- let alone thousands of women -- lost access to these potentially life-saving screenings because of a politically motivated attack," the senators wrote in a letter to the founder and CEO of Komen.

"We earnestly hope that you will put women's health before partisan politics and reconsider this decision for the sake of the women who depend on both your organizations for access to the health care they need."

The Huffington Post reported on more backlash Komen got:

Komen has faced a massive social media backlash since announcing the decision, with angry people flocking to its message boards and Facebook wall to announce that they will no longer donate to the breast cancer charity.

Today, apparently bowing to widespread pressure, the foundation has announced that it will continue funding Planned Parenthood.

Responding to the decision, Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, stated:

“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.

“Planned Parenthood has been a trusted partner with the Komen Foundation in early cancer detection and prevention services. In particular, Planned Parenthood helps the Komen Foundation reach vulnerable populations — low-income women, African-American women, and Latinas — especially in rural areas and underserved communities where Planned Parenthood health centers are their only source of health care. With Komen Foundation grants, over the past five years, Planned Parenthood health centers provided nearly 170,000 clinical breast exams and more than 6,400 mammogram referrals. With the outpouring of support over the past week, even more women in need will receive lifesaving breast cancer care.”

While the reversal in funding decision comes as a victory, Jodi Jacobsen of RH Reality Check notes this:

While a reversal of the decision is welcome, it also raises further questions. As I noted just this morning, Komen denied yesterday that the de-funding had anything to do with investigations, even though their original memo said just that. Instead they claimed that the decision was based on "new metrics" and the desire to do "direct service" grants. Here, however, they are back to the "investigations" reason.

And if their only goal was the "cause of breast cancer," then how de-funding Planned Prenthood, one of the most successful parnters reaching a high proportion of women who otherwise did not have access to breast exams, made sense at any level in any discussion with a board of the ostensible poiltical caliber of Komen is mysterious at best.

If one good thing has come out of all of this, it is the continued awakening, begun I believe with the win over the egg-as-person initiative in Mississippi, of women and men a cross the country who are sick of having the right to sexual and reproductive health care politicized by fanatics.

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