After Public Backlash, Komen Reverses Position, Will Support Planned Parenthood

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Susan G. Komen for the Cure has reversed its decision to pull funding for Planned Parenthood.

LISTEN: WCBS 880’s Alex Silverman reports

“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,” Komen said in a statement. “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 community.”

EXTRA: Read The Full Komen Statement

Earlier this week, the Komen foundation said it was halting grants that Planned Parenthood affiliates used for breast exams and related services.

Komen cut off money, citing a congressional investigation into whether the organization used public money to pay for abortions.

“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,” Komen said.

Planned Parenthood officials believed the charity had caved under pressure from anti-abortion groups, but the Komen Foundation said that wasn’t true. Komen donates nearly $700,000 a year to Planned Parenthood.

Cecile Richards of Planned Parenthood Federation of America released a statement welcoming Komen’s reversal:

“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.”

EXTRA: Read The Full Planned Parenthood Statement

“I think we’ve seen in this week a disgraceful display in Planned Parenthood using real thug tactics to try to bring political pressure on the Komen Foundation,” said Charmaine Yoest, of Americans United for Life.

Millions of women served by Planned Parenthood’s breast health programs could’ve lost out on life-saving screening and education if the organization had gone through with its original plan to suspend funding.

Planned Parenthood received an outpouring of support in response to the cutoff.

In addition to $400,000 in smaller donations from 6,000 people, it is receiving $250,000 from a family foundation in Dallas and a $250,000 pledge announced Thursday by Mayor Michael Bloomberg to match future donations.

Some pin the controversy on Karen Handel, a Georgia politician opposed to abortion who took a top job with Komen a few months before the decision to defund Planned Parenthood.

“Unfortunately there are groups that have an extreme agenda that have been bullying the Komen Foundation trying to get them to end their relationship with Planned Parenthood,” said Richards.

“That really is the takeaway from this. These non-profits try as they might to remain non-political, get into the mix and sometimes they do get burned,” Christopher Malone, political scientist with Pace University, told CBS 2’s Tony Aiello.

Planned Parenthood New York sounded anxious to repair the relationship with the Komen Foundation.

“We’re pleased. We’re delighted. We share a common mission, which is women’s health, so to be able to work again together I think is just terrific,” said Joan Malin of Planned Parenthood.

Joann Smith runs the Planned Parenthood in Nassau County, which was in jeopardy of losing $100,000 in funding.

“What it means is the women on Long Island are going to continue to get info about breast cancer prevention,” she told CBS 2’s Sean Hennessey.

“Me and my four sisters are at high risk for that and coming here and getting affordable health care means everything in the world to us,” said Stefanie Lew, who says breast cancer runs in her family.

Bloomberg said politics “have no place” in health care.

“Breast cancer screening saves lives, and hundreds of thousands of women rely on Planned Parenthood for access to care,” he said in a written statement. “We should be helping women access that care, not placing barriers in their way.”

The United Federation of Teachers also announced Friday that it would donate $125,000 to Planned Parenthood.  The union said the donation was a statement on behalf of its members to fight off “present and future threats to Planned Parenthood.”

“People will see that others are willing to stand up and say ‘enough is enough.’ If there’s an organization out there supplying vital health services to so many women across this country, then leave it alone — and actually you should be supporting them,” UFT President Michael Mulgrew told 1010 WINS.

“A great cheer went out across America from American women with the news of Mr. Bloomberg’s gift,” said Planned Parenthood Foundation president Cecile Richards. “It really is an extraordinary demonstration of his support for women’s health.”

Bloomberg also sent out a Twitter message Thursday afternoon urging other donors to come forward.

“Join me in standing with Planned Parenthood to protect and promote women’s health,” he tweeted.

Thousands of messages have swamped Komen’s Facebook page, the vast majority of them being negative.

“Komen is a wonderful organization and does tremendous things for women, but this is straying from their mission,” said Dr. Kathy Plesser, a radiologist and member of the Komen affiliate’s medical advisory board in New York City.

What do you think? Sound off below in our comments section…

(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

  • Michelle

    Cut off funding to Susan G Komen! Give your money directly to the cancer research institute! Susan G Komen foundation is a coward! They should have stuck to their guns and given the funding to a real agency that cares about women’s health. Planned Parenthood does nothing for women’s health. Look at their financials all their money is from providing abortions!.

  • Barbara Meara

    Channel 2’s story about the Komen-Planned Parenthood flap was very misleading. They kept showing women getting mammograms, but the truth is that Planned Parenthood does not provide mammograms. they only do manual breast exams which doctors say are not sufficient. Also, abortion, especially of first pregnancies,is one of the causes of breast canccer.
    Planned parenthood has a budget of $1.1billion. Can you explain why they have to divert funds that are collected for research”for the cure”

    • Niko

      You are seriously retarted to think that abortion has anything to do with cancer. You pro lifers are seriously ill, mind your own business, and if you dont want one then dont have one. If a woman isnt meant to be a mother, she will not be one.
      If a mother is not allowed to have an abortion, she will have one one way or another, her choices will have to be using a coat hanger and torturing the “supossed” baby until it comes out, waiting until it is born and leaving it in a dumpster or thrown into the trash, or the third and worst option….. remember the stories of mothers killing their kids, some drive them into lakes, or throw them off bridges, or shoot the kids in the head, them shoot themselves. Actually there is another option that is really popular right now, it is abusing them and starving them and locking them in their rooms, or basements or even tied to a chair! Which one of those do you like better?
      Some people cannot be mothers and should never be parents. Think about it before you tell other people how to live their lives, you dont know anything!!! My bumper sticker on my car reads: abortion should be manditory for some parents!

    • Vernon Hell

      Abortion has nothing to do with breast cancer. You are a damn liar. BURN IN HELL!

  • cygon

    YOu don’t need so many research projects to find THE cure. Stop promoting pills on women and a big factor that triggers this cancer will be eliminated.

  • cygon

    PP promotes synthetic estrogens (pills) SYnthetic estrogens promote breast cancer (and other cancers). BotheSGK & PP are idiots. Oh, correction… SGK stupid PP just being true to its ideology.

  • Mayor_McCheese

    I also heard that these SGK rightting embrionic stem cell research.

    After these revelations, wht would anyone donate to this organization. There are so many good breast cancer orientyed charities that are apolitical. Why would anyone continue to support SGK now that their national management has been exposed? the entire organization has become a huge marketing machine with high executive salaries to boot!

    • Whiff M'Crack

      You tell em’ Cheesey, make em’ smell your butt.

  • Mayor_McCheese

    I doubt SGK will ever receive the same level of support that they have enjoyed over the last decade. Now that they have shown that they are really run by right wing nuts, many of their supporters have been surprised and disheartened by this. Good that they revered their decision, but the fact that it was made in the first place ought to send a shivver down the spines of their many doners. There are several completely apolitical organizations that have similaar purposes as SGC. My guess is that they will be the beneficiaries of this terrible decision of SGK. Until the management of SGK is replaced, they will see their donros going elsewhere.

  • Angelica

    When is a reversal not a reversal? When you see Brinker’s lips moving!

    After 3 different explanations why they were going to de-fund PP, SGK is now apologizing…but what exactly are they apologizing for? Here are Brinker’s own words:

    “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 community.”

    ‘They will continue to fund existing grants’, but nowhere does it say they will continue to fund PP.

    They are giving us the proverbial “happy ending” but are still using the “direct service” bs to continue their de-funding!

  • The truth

    The Susan G. Koman foundation is a big money making organization. It’s main purpose now is to get bigger and collect more money, not cure breast cancer.

    • Vernon Hell

      SGK will not fully recover from this fiasco because there are 2 other important issues. First is litigiousness. SGK employs shark shysters who routinely sue small charities that use any slogan containing the word “cure” or any artwork with the color pink. That’s right folks, pink.

      Then there is the blowhard issue; they make a lot of noise, wave a lot of ribbons but have yet to take one substantive step toward a REAL cure. So, most of what one donates to SGK pays for noisemaking and litigation.

  • Vik

    So! You decided to go back into he!! and support murderers. Nice job, SGK!!! You lost my support.

    • Vernon Hell

      ABORT JESUS. Anyone who preaches that fraud will BURN IN HELL!!

  • Ziggy

    Make your donations directly to Planned Parenthood – why go through another layer that takes a cut of the money?


    The only thing pandering to the Religious Right will get you is syphilis.

  • Omar

    Their decision to de-fund Planned Parenthood was a political one and their reversal of this decision wasn’t made in the best interests of women; it was made because they were losing support and money. Anything they say is just to save face beacuse people are not stupid and will not tolerate this political nonsense getting in the way of saving lives. Bottom line: SGK wants people to feel they are sorry so they don’t stop receiving money.

    Make them understand what this decision means and stop walking in their events and donate your money directly to PP instead of SGR to send them a real message.

  • Deborah Jeffries


    • Michelle

      Now that’s ironic…..because Planned Parenthood does not do breast cancer screening! They don’t even have mammogram machines. They refer people out for those services. The Susan G Komen foundation should open up their own breast cancer screening center for women that way they know for sure the money is going for breast cancer screening and research.

  • mary Klien

    What does planned parenthood have to do with breast cancer research? Tthe SBK foundation was set up for breast cancer. Do they have that much money that they don’t know what to do with it. Has a cure been found ??? Why not let the donating public know when they reach full breast cancer funding each year so they don’t keep collecting funds they don’t need. Bizzzarrro!

    • Fire

      SBK doesn’t just fund research. They also fund women’s health, like breast cancer screening.

      • Fier

        :SGK” Sorry!

  • chrissygnj

    “What would Susan Do” should be the question! To bring politics into Women’s Health is so wrong! What is occuring is a scary glimpse into the future where any and all organizations that pledge to be APOLITICAL find themselves bullied into decisions that have NOTHING to do with their vision but everything to do with POLITICS. I gave a donation to Planned Parenthood because NO woman should be without a mammogram! And I will continue to donate to Planned Parenthood any and all monies that were to be sent to SGK. If it happens once, it could happen again and I refuse to allow bullies to run any organization!

    • LMG517

      I agree. I do not trust SGK and will no longer support them. They lost sight of their goals to save lives and let politics and religion interfer with their decision making.

      All corporate sponsors shoiuld reconsider their support. Pink Ribbons on merchandise just does not mean the same thing and are actually a turnoff. It just reminds me how callous and cruel SGK decision making can be.

      All the upper management should resign as again they lost sight of their goals. They do not deserve or are capable of running such an organization. Their decision making hurt SGK and I wonder if they will ever be what they once were.

      I donated to Planned Parenthood and will continue to do so.

      • Vernon Hell

        Cut off corporate funds to SGK by boycotting the endorsed products.

        If the item shows pink
        Surely it must stink
        Protect yourself
        Put it back on the shelf

  • CT Native

    So they said “Mea Culpa”..What took so long???

  • JB

    I’d say whomeever made the decision to stop the funding based on a ‘brand new’ policy that was obviously put in place to support the decision, should resign in disgrace.

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