The Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation Feb. 3 reversed its decision to sever funding for Planned Parenthood and issued a public apology for appearing to be driven by politics.
Reversal of the decision came amid mounting pressure from pro-choice advocates and reflected reluctance by the breast-cancer awareness organization to bow to anti-abortion pressure.
“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 group said in a statement from Komen founder Nancy Brinker and the Board of Directors.
“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,” the group said.
The foundation killed funding for Planned Parenthood after revising its criteria for funding to bar groups that are under investigation. Planned Parenthood is being probed by Congress over whether it has used federal money improperly for abortions.
The foundation had been funding breast cancer screenings at Planned Parenthood in grants that last year totaled $680,000.
The decision to cut off the funds touched off a firestorm of criticism and a deluge of donations and pledges to replace the foundation money.
CREDO, a San Francsico-based mobile phone company and one of the largest donors to Planned Parenthood, assailed the foundation’s action, labeling the fund cutoff as an action “clearly connected to attempts by Republicans in Congress to defund Planned Parenthood.”
Planned Parenthood is the target of an investigation launched by Rep. Cliff Steans (R-Fla.) to link Planned Parenthood to federally-funded abortion. CREDO labeled Steans “one of the most militant anti-choice members of Congress.”
Within a day of the Komen fund cutoff, financial pledges began pouring in to the Dallas-based group, including $250,000 from Dallas’ Amy and Lee Fikes’ Foundation and $250,000 from New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Planned Parenthood provides sexual counseling and reproductive health care and prenatal services and has long been a prime source of health care for poor women. In 2010 Planned Parenthood reported conducting 1,596,741 cancer screening and prevention procedures, including 747,607 breast exams, and 769,769 Pap smear tests.
Breast cancer is the most common forms of cancer disease for American women. According to statistics released by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), 2007 saw 40,598 women die from breast cancer, with 202,964 women diagnosed in the same year.
Reports from the American Cancer Society (ACS) show that while Caucasian women suffer disproportionately from the disease after age 45, African American women are diagnosed with breast cancer before 45 at higher rates and are more likely to succumb from illness regardless of the age.