Komen founder Nancy Brinker said the foundation has been "distressed at the presumption that the changes made to our funding criteria were done for political reasons or to specifically penalize Planned Parenthood," which provides family planning services, with affiliates in Shrewsbury and Freehold in Monmouth County.
"We want to apologize to the American public for recent decisions that cast doubt upon our commitment to our mission of saving women's lives," Brinker said.
The breast cancer advocacy organization, which raises money nationally via , had eliminated grant funding for Planned Parenthood under internal guidelines that bar it from working with organizations under investigation. Planned Parenthood has been subject to a congressional probe.
However, critics charged that the move was a political capitulation to anti-abortion and conservative activists who object to Planned Parenthood's family planning services.
Brinker said the foundation's internal guidelines would be sharpened to allow existing grants to Planned Parenthood while preserving its ability to apply for future monies.
"Our original desire was to fulfill our fiduciary duty to our donors by not funding grant applications made by organizations under investigation. We will amend the criteria to make clear that disqualifying investigations must be criminal and conclusive in nature and not political.
"Our only goal for our granting process is to support women and families in the fight against breast cancer. Amending our criteria will ensure that politics has no place in our grant process. We will continue to fund existing grants, including those of Planned Parenthood, and preserve their eligibility to apply for future grants, while maintaining the ability of our affiliates to make funding decisions that meet the needs of their communities," Brinker said.
Planned Parenthood has more than 800 health centers across the nation and is the largest provider of abortions in the country. The organization provides reproductive health care for women and men, as well as cancer screenings, including 4 million breast exams in the last 5 years. The Komen foundation has been working in partnership with Planned Parenthood since 2005 to provide breast cancer screenings.
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