S.F. Chapter of Komen Foundation Urges Continued Support of Organization; Statement from Komen Reverses Decision on Planned Parenthood Funding

Photo: Jason Pier/Flickr

UPDATE: 5:45 p.m.: The San Francisco chapter of Susan G. Komen for the Cure is urging its donors to continue supporting the breast cancer charity.

After a storm of criticism, the foundation announced Friday that it’s scrapping plans to pull breast-screening funds from the group Planned Parenthood, which is under Congressional investigation.

Maria Sousa, executive director of the Komen’s Bay Area affiliate says her office received a flood of angry phone calls.

“Many people said to us, ‘We’re not going to donate any money to you,’ and that is really heartbreaking,” said Sousa. “We are the only national breast cancer organization that funds local clinics and hospitals to provide services for low-income women.”

Sousa says her chapter proposed Komen’s new funding policy, which now will only disqualify grant applications from groups convicted of criminal wrong doing.

UPDATE 2:40 p.m.: Local Planned Parenthood groups are applauding the decision to reinstate funding to the family planning organization. Some Planned Parenthood officials blamed the initial decision to cut funding on pressure from abortion foes.

Lupe Rodriguez, who works with the Planned Parenthood affiliate that serves Alameda, Santa Clara and San Mateo counties, spoke with KQED’s Mina Kim.

“People around the country and from our own community proved that they’re really dedicated to the cause. That was very heartening to us and we heard that in the supporters who made phone calls to us, and expressed their concern about this decision.”

Original Post: Susan G. Komen for the Cure announced Friday morning that it will reinstate funding to Planned Parenthood. The declaration comes after days of heated public discourse about Susan G. Komen’s announcement earlier in the week that it would stop funding grants for Planned Parenthood, who provides breast cancer screenings in addition to other reproductive health services.

Komen said its original move was not politically motived but rather intended to “fulfill our fiduciary duty to our donors by not funding grant applications made by organizations under investigation.”

Below is the statement in full.

Senator Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) issued a statement regarding the reversal:

“It’s a great day when our deeply held belief that breast cancer can only be wiped out if we all work together has triumphed over right-wing politics.

“I hope the American people understand that there are still many fights ahead over ensuring that women continue to have access to the full range of health care they need and deserve, including birth control.”

For more coverage on the issue, check out these news articles:

Statement from Susan G. Komen Board of Directors and Founder and CEO Nancy G. Brinker

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.

Our original desire was to fulfill our fiduciary duty to our donors by not funding grant applications made by organizations under investigation. 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.

It is our hope and we believe it is time for everyone involved to pause, slow down and reflect on how grants can most effectively and directly be administered without controversies that hurt the cause of women. We urge everyone who has participated in this conversation across the country over the last few days to help us move past this issue. We do not want our mission marred or affected by politics – anyone’s politics.

Starting this afternoon, we will have calls with our network and key supporters to refocus our attention on our mission and get back to doing our work. We ask for the public’s understanding and patience as we gather our Komen affiliates from around the country to determine how to move forward in the best interests of the women and people we serve.

We extend our deepest thanks for the outpouring of support we have received from so many in the past few days and we sincerely hope that these changes will be welcomed by those who have expressed their concern.

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