Minn. Komen branch lauds Planned Parenthood funding reversalby Curtis Gilbert, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — The Minnesota affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure is applauding the national organization's decision to restore funding for breast cancer screenings at Planned Parenthood clinics.
The organization's original decision to deny funding stemmed from congressional Republicans' investigation into whether Planned Parenthood uses federal funds to perform abortions. Komen had a policy of denying funding to groups under federal investigation.
"We don't base our funding decisions ... on whether one side or the other will be pleased," said Komen's founder and CEO, Nancy Brinker, depicting the criticism as a mischaracterization of the charity's goals and mission.
David Egan, co-executive director of Susan G. Komen for the Cure Minnesota, said reversing that decision makes sense.
"The past criteria essentially would disqualify any organization under investigation, whereas now there has to be something conclusive about that investigation," he said. "We wouldn't want to see any organization across our state penalized for an investigation that ultimately could ultimately have no basis."
The Minnesota Komen chapter never directly funded Planned Parenthood. Egan says the regional Planned Parenthood chapter has never applied for a grant.
Sarah Stoesz, president of Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, said her local offices were flooded with calls and donations this week.
"A whole spectrum of women in Minnesota — and men — have been voicing clear outrage about Komen and now I believe they will be voicing strong support for Komen in reversing this decision," she said. "It's a very, very good decision on their part."
Both Minnesota U.S. Sens. Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar were among those critical of Komen's initial move.
Many of Komen's affiliates across the country had openly rebelled against the decision to cut the funding, which totaled $680,000 in 2011. One affiliate, in Aspen, Colo., had announced Thursday that it would defy the new rules and continue grants to its local Planned Parenthood partner.
In addition, Komen was inundated with negative comments via emails, on Twitter and on its Facebook page. Many of the messages conveyed a determination to halt gifts to Komen - organizer of the popular Race for the Cure events - because of the decision.
Meanwhile, Planned Parenthood was reporting an outpouring of support - donations large and small, triggered by the Komen decision, that it said surpassed $900,000.
Through the Komen grants, Planned Parenthood says its health centers provided nearly 170,000 clinical breast exams and more than 6,400 mammogram referrals over the past five years.
Komen, in its statement, said it was immediately starting an outreach to its affiliates and supporters to get the charity back on track.
"We urge everyone who has participated in this conversation across the country over the last few days to help us move past this issue," Komen said. "We do not want our mission marred or affected by politics - anyone's politics."
(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)