UPDATE: Komen Foundation will continue to fund Planned Parenthoo - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

UPDATE: Komen Foundation will continue to fund Planned Parenthood


After a wave of criticism from lawmakers, advocacy groups and even donors, the Susan G. Komen Foundation has reversed its decision to end grants to Planned Parenthood.

The breast cancer charity announced earlier this week it would no longer issue grants to Planned Parenthood because of changes in its policies regarding organizations under investigation. There is an ongoing Congressional investigation into whether Planned Parenthood used public funding to pay for abortions.

The Komen Foundation funds went toward breast exams at Planned Parenthood locations. Critics accused the Susan G. Komen Foundation of bowing to political pressure from anti-abortion groups.

The Foundation says that's simply not the case, that the changes were part of routine restructuring to help grant money have the biggest possible impact.

On Friday, Komen issued a statement apologizing for its recent decision and saying it will continue to fund Planned Parenthood. Click here to read the statement.

"Our original desire was to fulfill our fiduciary duty to our donors by not funding grant applications made by organizations under investigation," the statement from the board of directors said. "We will amend the criteria to make clear that disqualifying investigations must be criminal and conclusive in nature and not political."

Planned Parenthood is the leading provider of abortions in the United States and many conservative religious and anti-abortion groups were in favor of Komen's previous decision to end funding to the organization.

Groups like the Dubuque County Right to Life, an anti-abortion group, applauded the move.

"It's a huge victory for the pro-life movement, and it's a huge victory for people who want to support Susan G. Komen," Executive Director Steve Brody said. "We're very glad of the new guidelines that are put in place that's going to prevent them from giving money to Planned Parenthood."

Brody says Komen's relationship with Planned Parenthood has prevented some groups from donating to breast cancer research.

"For those individuals who have loved ones touched by breast cancer, you know, they want to be able to support Susan G. Komen, but they weren't able to before because of the connection with Planned Parenthood," he said.

Planned Parenthood says it received more than $400,000 from 6,000 donors in the 24 hours after news broke that its affiliates would be losing grants for breast screenings.

Locally, Planned Parenthood of the Heartland has 31 clinics in four states, including Iowa.

President and CEO Jill June said it provided more than 23,000 breast exams in 2010.

"Many women depend on Planned Parenthood for their breast health exams, screenings and referrals for mammograms," June said.

Planned Parenthood of the Heartland has received an $8,400 annual grant in past years from the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation.

"It provided a small subsidy, some underwriting costs, for over 300 women in southeast Iowa," June said, calling it, "an area that's been hard-hit by the economy."

"Any subsidy that we can receive helps lower the cost for low-income women, and that's why the partnership between Planned Parenthood and Komen was so valuable," June said.

Last year, nationwide, Planned Parenthood received more than $650,000 in grant money for breast exams fro the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation.

June said less than three percent of Planned Parenthood of the Heartland services are abortions.

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