Democrats laud, GOP laments Susan G. Komen reversal

Senator Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., at an August 2010 labor rally in Los Angeles. AP

Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., was one of several lawmakers on Friday to speak out about the flap between Planned Parenthood and the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation.
AP

Democrats and Republicans in Congress today had strong -- and, not surprisingly, ideologically divided -- reactions to the news that the the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation is changing a policy to once again make Planned Parenthood eligible for grants.

House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi called the development a "big victory." The decision "just goes to show you when women speak out, women win," she said.

Democratic Sen. Patty Murray of Washington also called the decision a "victory" for women.

"Politics should never come between women and their health care, and I am very glad that Komen did the right thing and reversed their misguided and deeply damaging decision," she said in a statement.

The Komen Foundation on Tuesday announced a new policy that would bar Planned Parenthood from receiving funding for its breast health services, but after facing a strong backlash against the decision, the cancer charity reversed course Friday. Murray is one of 25 senators who called on Komen to reverse the decision, which the breast cancer charity insisted was not political.

"Our fight for women's health does not end here," Murray said Friday. "There are still many who will continue to put partisan politics ahead of women's health, and we need to make sure that the grassroots support and energy that successfully came together to right this wrong stands ready to be there for women the next time we're needed."

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Democratic Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., commended Komen for "depoliticizing its grant-making process and refocusing itself back on its core mission: saving women's lives."

Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer of California added in a statement: "It's a great day when our deeply held belief that breast cancer can only be wiped out if we all work together has triumphed over right-wing politics."

On the other side of the aisle, Rep. Cliff Stearns, R-Fla. -- the leader of the congressional investigation into Planned Parenthood's use of public funds -- suggested Komen should have held firm.

"Although I wasn't involved in either decision, it is clear that Planned Parenthood does not need the Komen funding," Stearns said, pointing to the organization's claim it raised $3 million in donations since Tuesday. "I believe that Planned Parenthood could be, and should be, totally self sufficient, as with so many other non-profit organizations, and spare America's hard-pressed taxpayers the $487 million Planned Parenthood received in public funding."

Sen. David Vitter, R-LA, said he was "extremely disappointed In Komen's decision to restore Planned Parenthood's eligibility for funding."

"While Komen now claims that they don't want their mission to be 'marred by politics,' unfortunately it seems that Komen caved to political pressure from the pro-abortion movement and its enforcers in the media," he said.

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