Offering its apology, the Susan G. Komen for the Cure announced today it is changing its mind and will continue financial grants to the abortion-provider Planned Parenthood.
"We apologize to the American public for recent decisions that cast doubt upon our commitment to our mission of saving women's lives."
Those were the words of Komen Foundation founder Nancy Brinker as she cited "distress" at the "presumption" that the breast-cancer awareness charity succumbed to political pressure from pro-life groups in making its decision earlier this week  to cease awarding grants to Planned Parenthood.
In a released statement, Brinker says the events surrounding the initial decision have been "deeply unsettling" for Komen's supporters. "We have been distressed at the presumption that the changes made to our funding criteria were done for political reasons or to specifically penalize Planned Parenthood. They were not. Our original desire was to fulfill our fiduciary duty to our donors by not funding grant applications made by organizations under investigation."
Congressman Cliff Stearns (R-Florida) launched a congressional investigation in September into the practices of Planned Parenthood -- specifically its possible use of federal funding for abortion (which is banned under the Hyde Amendment) and what he described as its "extensive record" of violating state reporting laws regarding sexual assaults and child abuse.
Brinker explains the charity will amend its funding criteria to make clear that disqualifying investigations "must be criminal and conclusive in nature and not political." Doing so, she claims, "will ensure that politics has no place in our grant process."
Did Komen cave?
The charity has announced it will "continue to fund existing grants" and will "preserve [Planned Parenthood's] eligibility to apply for future grants." Lawmakers, supporters, and abortion activists sharply criticized the organization after it was revealed that it withdrew breast-screening grants to Planned Parenthood because it is under government investigation. A Christian leader and an attorney are accusing the Foundation of bowing to political pressure in reversing its decision to stop funding Planned Parenthood.
"I think that the pro-family communities are all very disappointed … because we thought that they would not be political, and obviously they were," laments Michele Combs, a spokesperson for the Christian Coalition of America. "They were buckling to political pressure."
Komen says it will amend its policy so groups under similar government investigations will not be excluded from receiving funding. Officials have apologized for the initial decision that "cast doubt upon our commitment to our mission of saving women's lives."
"I think that the Komen Foundation should go back to their original goal, which is to stop breast cancer and to help [raise] awareness of breast cancer, and not to give money to Planned Parenthood, who promotes abortions and other things that really hurts families," Combs suggests.
After the statement was released, John Raffaelli spoke with The Washington Post to assure that the new announcement does not necessarily mean there is any reversal. He says it would be unfair to expect the group to commit to future grants.
Matt Barber of Liberty Council Action finds the relationship between Komen and Planned Parenthood strange because of the scientific link between abortion and breast cancer.
"Komen purports to fight to find a cure for breast cancer, yet they are associating with an organization that helps cause breast cancer," he argues. "So Komen, through this political decision and caving to pressure, has now -- rather than becoming a part of the solution -- has become part of the problem."
And Barber notes that donations to the abortion-provider dramatically increased when Komen announced it was dropping Planned Parenthood's funding. He believes the Foundation should focus on partnering with other reputable organizations in the country that are seeking to find a cure for breast cancer and are worthy of financial support.
"It's unfortunate," Barber says of the flip-flop. "It does not speak well for the organization, and it shows that they are putting politics ahead of what is in the best interest of women and children."
Jeanne Monahan of the Family Research Council offers similar criticism -- but of Planned Parenthood: "I do think it's truly unbelievable that in the matter of 24 hours, the nation's largest abortion-provider has been able to take what we've considered one of America's most well-respected and beloved organizations [Susan G. Komen for the Cure] and basically demonize it overnight because they are making their grants more results-oriented. And I think that Planned Parenthood is again putting their abortion ideology above women's health."