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Komen Responds to Criticism

Yesterday influential breast cancer charity Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation defended its decision to withdraw a grant to Planned Parenthood that supports the breast cancer screening of about 170,000 women annually as not being politically motivated, as has been characterized by Planned Parenthood and other groups.

The statement said, "We are dismayed and extremely disappointed that actions we have taken to strengthen our granting process have been widely mischaracterized ... Throughout our 30 year history, our priority has always been and will continue to be the women we serve. As we move forward, we are working to ensure that there is no interruption or gaps in services for the women who need our support most in the fight against breast cancer."

The decision, said the statement, had to do with the implementation of "more stringent eligibility standards" to organizations who receive grants, and one of those standards is that the organizations are not under Congressional investigation. "Our grant-making decisions are not about politics."

The investigation in question has not yet even held a hearing, causing considerable skepticism. In addition, critics claim the decision has much to do with Komen's hiring of vice president Karen Handel, who during a run for the Governor's office in Georgia made clear her stringent pro-life views, as well her opposition to Planned Parenthood. During her unsuccessful run, Handel specifically wrote, "I do not support the mission of Planned Parenthood," and promised that as Governor she would eliminate all state-supplied grants to the organization.