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Democrats applaud Komen reversal on Planned Parenthood

February 03, 2012|By Kim Geiger
(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times )

Reporting from Washington — Democrats in Congress applauded Susan G. Komen for the Cure for deciding to amend a new policy that led to the controversial decision to end grants for Planned Parenthood’s breast health services.

“This is a major victory for the men and women across America who made their voices heard over the last few days to express their shock and dismay at Komen’s initial decision,” Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) said in a statement.

The decision had caused an uproar amid speculation that it was politically motivated.

Komen CEO Nancy Brinker said Thursday that the decision was the result of a new policy not to fund organizations that are under investigation by federal, state or local authorities. Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) is investigating whether Planned Parenthood used federal money to fund abortion services, which is not allowed.

Liz Thompson, president of the Komen group, had insisted the decision had nothing to do with Planned Parenthood’s position as a well-known provider of abortions.

"We're not in the abortion business," Thompson said. "That is not something we ask people about."

The group announced Friday that it will “amend the criteria to make clear that disqualifying investigations must be criminal and conclusive in nature and not political. That is what is right and fair.”

Planned Parenthood’s Cecile Richards thanked supporters for making an issue of the decision and ultimately forcing its reversal.

“During the last week, millions spontaneously joined a national conversation about lifesaving breast cancer prevention care and reinforced shared values about access to health care for all,” Richards said in a statement. “This compassionate outcry in support of those most in need rose above political, ideological, and cultural divides, and will surely be recognized as one of our nation’s better moments during a contentious political time.”

Others were less diplomatic.

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) cast Komen’s reversal as a triumph “over right-wing politics.”

Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) said the ordeal was an embarrassment. “They shouldn’t have made that decision in the first place,” he said.

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