Planned Parenthood donations swell

Feb. 2, 2012 at 7:20 PM
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WASHINGTON, Feb. 2 (UPI) -- Donations to Planned Parenthood have soared since the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation cut donations to the group, officials said.

Planned Parenthood executives said Wednesday donors reacting to the cutoff had contributed $650,000 in 24 hours, nearly replacing the $700,000 lost through the Komen cutoff, The Washington Post reported.

The number of donors online spiked, rising to 6,000 Wednesday compared with the 100 to 200 donors who normally contribute each day, the Post said.

Planned Parenthood also set up a Breast Health Emergency Fund for affiliates that lost their Komen grants. The Post said the fund received a $250,000 donation from the family foundation of Dallas philanthropist Lee Fikes and his wife, Amy.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Thursday he will donate $250,000 to the Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

"Politics have no place in healthcare," Bloomberg said in a statement issued by his office. "Breast cancer screening saves lives, and hundreds of thousands of women rely on Planned Parenthood for access to care. We should be helping women access that care, not placing barriers in their way."

CREDO, which says it is Planned Parenthood's largest corporate donor, said Thursday 250,000 of its members have signed a petition calling on the Komen Foundation to rescind its decision, CNN reported. In a statement, the organization said the move "is clearly connected to attempts by Republicans in Congress to defund Planned Parenthood."

Komen officials had said they were cutting funding for groups under investigation. A House committee has announced it is looking into whether Planned Parenthood is adhering to restrictions on federal funding for abortions.

Planned Parenthood officials said Komen had knuckled under to pressure from anti-abortion activists, the Post said.

But Nancy Brinker, Susan G. Komen for the Cure founder and chief executive officer, said there had been a "gross mischaracterization" about the decision to halt funding to Planned Parenthood, USA Today reported.

Brinker said three of the 19 Planned Parenthood clinics will still get Komen funding because they are the only services available to low-income women in their communities, the newspaper reported. The rest would be funded through the end of the year.

Brinker told MSNBC, "This is not a political decision," just a new set of funding standards. Despite a huge response on Facebook and Twitter, with longtime supporters saying they are cutting up the pink ribbon Komen symbol, Brinker said, "The responses that we are getting are really, really favorable."

The Atlantic reported Thursday Komen's top public-health official, Mollie Williams, resigned in protest after the organization's board decided in September to cut Planned Parenthood funding.

In a statement, Williams told The Atlantic she would not comment on the funding issue because she "must honor the confidentiality of my former employer," but she said she believes "it would be a mistake for any organization to bow to political pressure and compromise its mission."

"The divide between these two very important organizations saddens me," Williams said. "I am hopeful their passionate and courageous leaders, Nancy Brinker and Cecile Richards, can swiftly resolve this conflict in a manner that benefits the women they both serve."

At least 22 Senate Democrats signed a letter to Komen urging the organization to reverse its decision, which they said "threatens to reduce access to necessary, life-saving services."

"It would be tragic if any woman -- let alone thousands of women -- lost access to these potentially life-saving screenings because of a politically motivated attack," the senators said.

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