News that Susan G. Komen for the Cure planned to halt all grants to Planned Parenthood caused an uproar over the past two days, prompting the charity's founder to address the issue in a video uploaded to YouTube and Facebook.
The Associated Press learned that nation’s leading breast-cancer charity was halting their partnership with Planned Parenthood because of recently adopted criteria prohibiting grants to organizations under local, state, or federal investigation.
Nearly 170,000 clinical breast exams performed by Planned Parenthood, which provides more low-cost women’s health services than any organization in the country, were supported by Komen grants.
"Recently we implemented new granting strategies and criteria, that some have regrettable mischaracterized," Komen's Founder and CEO Nancy G. Brinker said.
Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL) has called for an investigation of Planned Parenthood to ensure that no public funds have been spent to carry out abortions, but a hearing has yet to take place. The use of public funds for elective abortion procedures is prohibited by law, and the group insists they do not put tax dollars to use for such purposes.
Planned Parenthood is audited every year, and the results are published online.
"Starting in 2010, I initiated a comprehensive review of our grants and standards," Brinker continued. "This isn't unusual. We are always looking at our policies and procedures to be sure that we are doing the right thing for our supporters and the women we serve. These changes mean that we will be able to do more to help women and advance the fight against breast cancer."
"Over the past three decades, people have given us more than their money. They've given us their trust and we take that very seriously. Regrettably, this strategic shift will affect any number of long standing partners, but we have always done what is right for our organization."
Planned Parenthood and others claimed that Komen's had given in to pressure from anti-abortion lawmakers and activists who have demonized the organization.
Others have suspected Karen Handel, who recently became vice president of public policy for the charity, is responsible for the decision. During an unsuccessful run for governor of Georgia, she vowed to cut off state funds to Planned Parenthood. But there is no proof that Handel had anything to do with the decision.
Brinker responded to those critics on Wednesday night, saying the charity would "never bow to political pressure."
"The scurrilous accusations being hurled at this organization are profoundly hurtful to so many of us who have put our heart, soul, and lives into this organization," she said. "But more importantly, they are a dangerous distraction from the work that still remains to be done in ridding the world of breast cancer."
Watch video, uploaded to YouTube, below: