Komen Issues Apology In Planned Parenthood Flap

After a national backlash, the Komen for the Cure breast cancer foundation says it will continue its funding to Planned Parenthood. Earlier this week, Komen said it would cut support for affiliates of Planned Parenthood, which performs breast cancer screenings, amid an investigation by GOP lawmakers into Planned Parenthood and its funding of abortion services.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

NPR's Business News starts with a reversal from the Komen Foundation. The Susan G. Komen For The Cure Foundation has just announced that it will not pull its funding for Planned Parenthood after all. The breast cancer charity endured a massive backlash when it announced, earlier this week, it would no longer give Planned Parenthood money for breast cancer screening. NPR's Julie Rovner joins us to explain the turnaround. And Julie, what exactly did the Komen Foundation say this morning?

JULIE ROVNER, BYLINE: Well, you know, the original explanation was that it was going to no longer fund Planned Parenthood because it wasn't going to give money to organizations under investigation. Planned Parenthood is the subject of a Congressional investigation by Republicans in the House. Then yesterday pivoted a little bit, said that they weren't going to give money to Planned Parenthood anymore because they weren't providing direct services for breast cancer screening. Now they're back to this investigation argument, but they've said that those investigations must be criminal and conclusive, and not political. So that Planned Parenthood is apparently back in their good graces, so they can go ahead and fund them again.

MONTAGNE: Well, in their statement they actually apologized. I mean, do they have to do this?

ROVNER: Well, yeah, the backlash was pretty dramatic. You know, anti abortion groups praised Komen for pulling the Planned Parenthood funding, but there were many, many more groups – and not just abortion rights groups – who jumped to Planned Parenthood's defense. Planned Parenthood was pledged hundreds of thousands of dollars, more than enough to make up the lost Komen funding – just, really, in 24 hours. Mayor Bloomberg, of New York, pledged $250,000. And an awful lot of people came down on Komen very hard and really, you know, said they weren't going to join the Race For The Cure anymore. So I think Komen didn't have a lot of choice but to back down in this situation.

MONTAGNE: Well, just briefly, what does it mean for Planned Parenthood?

ROVNER: Well, Planned Parenthood is still under a lot of political assault. There is still this, obviously, investigation in Congress. They've been de-funded in some of the states and, certainly, they're - there's an effort, you know – Mitt Romney, the likely Republican nominee, has said that he would like to de-fund Planned Parenthood if he becomes president. So, this fight is not over, even though Komen has now backed down.

MONTAGNE: Julie, thanks very much. NPR Health Policy Correspondent, Julie Rovner.

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