The Dallas Morning News reports that Susan G. Komen For the Cure is reversing its decision to stop funding cancer screenings at Planned Parenthood health centers.
Facing an avalanche of criticism for caving to pressure from anti-abortion activists, Komen founder Nancy Brinker issued the following statement:
We want to apologize to the American public for recent decisions that cast doubt upon our commitment to our mission of saving women’s lives. The events of this week have been deeply unsettling for our supporters, partners and friends and all of us at Susan G. Komen. We have been distressed at the presumption that the changes made to our funding criteria were done for political reasons or to specifically penalize Planned Parenthood. They were not. [...]
We will amend the criteria to make clear that disqualifying investigations must be criminal and conclusive in nature and not political. That is what is right and fair. [...]
Our only goal for our granting process is to support women and families in the fight against breast cancer. Amending our criteria will ensure that politics has no place in our grant process. 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.
Since announcing on Tuesday that they would end their relationship with Planned Parenthood, which provides cancer screenings and mammogram referrals for low-income women, Komen has faced a revolt from allies in the health community and its own employees.
Furthermore, Komen discovered that if they applied their new policy evenly to all organizations that receive their grants, they would be forced to stop funding institutions including Penn State University, not just Planned Parenthood.
Planned Parenthood, on the other hand, has been overwhelmed with an outpouring of support from across the country. They raised enough money in just a few days — $650,000 — to nearly make up for the funds they lost from the Komen grant. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg pledged to give $250,000 to Planned Parenthood.
John Aravosis writes, “If Komen really wants to do penance, they’ll approve PPFA’s grant now.”
Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards responded to the reversal in a statement, saying, “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.”