As the backlash grew against the decision by Susan G. Komen for the Curefoundation to cease awarding grants to Planned Parenthood, Komen officials ended two days of silence on Thursday and tried to manage the uproar.
In a conference call with the media, Komen founder and Chief Executive Nancy G. Brinker said the decision was due to policy changes intended to improve how grantees are selected. It had nothing to do with Planned Parenthood’s position as an abortion provider, she said.
“This has been a contentious issue,” she added of the rift between the two well-known women’s health organizations. “Our position has been lost…. Our only mission is to design treatments and cures for this disease and to take care of women in need of services.”
But Brinker also suggested that the Komen money might be better spent elsewhere: “You have to be sure you are granting to the right people.”
Brinker’s explanation came as Komen weathered continuing waves of criticism from lawmakers, women’s health advocates and public figures, and as donations poured in to both groups.
“It would be tragic if any woman — let alone thousands of women — lost access to these potentially lifesaving screenings because of a politically motivated attack,” the senators wrote.
On Tuesday, Planned Parenthood revealed that 19 of its affiliates would no longer receive grants from the Komen foundation for breast health programs because of revamped criteria barring new grants to groups under local, state or federal investigations. Planned Parenthood is under congressional investigation by Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.), who is looking into whether it used federal funding for abortion services, which is not permitted.
Under Komen’s new rules, organizations under investigation can’t receive new funds until the matter is resolved.
“We’ve always had the right to cancel contracts,” Brinker said.
She added that three Planned Parenthood affiliates, including the one representing Orange and San Bernardino counties, will continue to receive Komen money because they provide services that cannot be replaced through grants to another organization in their area.
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