Three days after withdrawing funding for Planned Parenthood, the Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation reversed its decision and apologized, paving the way for approximately $600,000 in funding to pay for breast cancer screening and other routine examinations for lower-income women.
Nancy G. Brinker, founder and CEO of the foundation said in a statement, “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.”
The Komen foundation, the nation’s largest breast cancer charity, initially announced it was pulling funding for the women’s health organization because Planned Parenthood is the subject of a Congressional investigation for allegedly using federal dollars toward providing abortions. The Komen Foundation said its decision was not political – a charge Planned Parenthood supports take issue with – and in her statement today, Brinker maintained it was not about politics.
“Our original desire was to fulfill our fiduciary duty to our donors by not funding grant applications made by organizations under investigation,” Brinker asserted.
According to the statement, the Komen Foundation will amending its policy to clarify that it will only bar funding for organizations under investigation if that investigation is “criminal and conclusive in nature and not political.”
The policy change doesn’t guarantee the Komen Foundation will continue to fund Planned Parenthood’s cancer prevention efforts. During a conference call on Thursday, Brinker suggested that in addition to the congressional investigation, Komen cut ties with Planned Parenthood because they provide “pass-through” services, like clinical exams, rather than mammograms.
As of Thursday afternoon, 26 Democratic senators had attached their names to a letter urging Komen to reverse the decision. Meanwhile, Planned Parenthood had created a Breast Health Fund which collected more than $3 million in donations from thousands of people in only three days.
Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards in a statement. “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.”
Richards added, “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. … 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.”