The Susan G. Komen for the Cure breast cancer charity has reversed its decision to halt funding of breast-screening grants to Planned Parenthood, the organization announced Friday.
In a statement, Komen for the Cure Founder and CEO Nancy Brinker apologized for "recent decisions" and said the organization would continue to fund Planned Parenthood.
"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 reversal comes after three days of intense backlash over Komen's announcement that it had adopted new criteria that excluded Planned Parenthood from grants because it was under government investigation. Planned Parenthood is currently at the center of a congressional probe into whether taxpayer money was used to fund abortions. Brinker said Friday they would "amend the criteria to make clear that disqualifying investigations must be criminal and conclusive in nature and not political."
"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," she said. While the statement says Komen will not halt current funding, it does not necessarily guarantee future grants.
Brinker's full statement is below, via the Dallas Morning News, which first broke the story:
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.
The events of this week have been deeply unsettling for our supporters, partners and friends and all of us at Susan G. Komen. 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. We 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.
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.
It is our hope and we believe it is time for everyone involved to pause, slow down and reflect on how grants can most effectively and directly be administered without controversies that hurt the cause of women. We urge everyone who has participated in this conversation across the country over the last few days to help us move past this issue. We do not want our mission marred or affected by politics - anyone's politics.
Starting this afternoon, we will have calls with our network and key supporters to refocus our attention on our mission and get back to doing our work. We ask for the public's understanding and patience as we gather our Komen affiliates from around the country to determine how to move forward in the best interests of the women and people we serve.
We extend our deepest thanks for the outpouring of support we have received from so many in the past few days and we sincerely hope that these changes will be welcomed by those who have expressed their concern.
As The Blaze previously reported, the charity was accused of caving to anti-abortion activists opposed to funding Planned Parenthood because of the abortion services it provides.
Friday's announcement is a dramatic about-face for the organization. On Wednesday, Brinker released a video vowing Komen for the Cure would "never bow down to political pressure."
“The scurrilous accusations being hurled at this organization are profoundly hurtful to so many of us who put our heart, soul and lives into this organization,” she said. “But more importantly, they are a dangerous distraction from the work that still remains to be done in ridding the world of breast cancer.”
According to the Associated Press, the grants that Planned Parenthood affiliates used for breast exams and related services totaled $680,000 last year. At least one top Komen official quit over the decision to halt funding, and 26 U.S. senators signed a letter urging the charity to reconsider.
Both Komen and Planned Parenthood reported donation spikes in the aftermath of the initial announcement: Brinker said Thursday donations had been up 100 percent in the last two days, while Planned Parenthood reported bringing in about $650,000 in 24 hours. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg himself pledged $250,000 to Planned Parenthood in the wake of Komen's decision.
This post has been updated since it was first published.