After days of controversy and sharp criticism from within its own ranks, the Susan G. Komen Foundation issued an apology and an apparent reversal of its decision to cut breast cancer screening grants to Planned Parenthood.
The group originally said it made the decision because of newly-adopted criteria barring grants to organizations under investigation. Those criteria excluded Planned Parenthood because it was under government investigation.
Critics of Komen's decision said that investigation was launched in Congress at the urging of anti-abortion groups, and accused Komen of caving in to the anti-aborting lobby. As proof, the critics cited hiring of Georgia Republican Karen Handel as Komen's new vice president of public policy — Handel had run for Governor on a strong anti-abortion platform, which emphasized cutting funding for Planned Parenthood in Georgia.
With criticism growing from women's health groups and from within its own ranks, Komen said the decision to de-fund Planned Parenthood was about something else — that Komen wants to support groups directly providing mammograms, and most Planned Parenthood locations only do mammogram referrals.
In Friday's announcement, Komen said nothing about the direct funding of mammograms. Instead, the group said, “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 went on to say that it will "amend the new criteria to make clear that disqualifying investigations must be criminal and conclusive in nature and not political." Under the newly revised criteria, Planned Parenthood will be eligible to apply for future grants. statement said.
Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading reproductive, maternal, and child health organization — its health centers report that they performed more than 4 million breast exams over the past five years, nearly 170,000 of those paid for with grants from the Komen Foundation.
- Washington Post: Komen Foundation Revises Funding Policy
- Lena Sun, Washington Post Health Reporter
The Associated Press contributed reporting to this article
This segment aired on February 3, 2012.