BALTIMORE (WJZ)-- Controversy erupts between two organizations working to improve women's health after the Susan G. Komen Foundation says it will no longer help support breast exams conducted by Planned Parenthood.
Derek Valcourt has more on the split and the strong reaction it is drawing across the country.
This has set off a wave of anger among women who support both organizations.
Through its massive races and pink ribbon campaigns, the Susan G. Komen Foundation has raised nearly $2 billion for breast cancer research and detection. And for years, the charity giant had been giving grant money to Planned Parenthood-- money that has helped fund more than 170,000 breast exams.
But this week, the Komen Foundation announced it is cutting ties to Planned Parenthood. In a web video, Komen's founder blamed stringent new eligibility standards.
"Regrettably, this strategic shift will affect any number of long-standing partners. But we have always done what is right for our organization," Nancy Brinker said.
But Planned Parenthood says its history of providing abortions is what is really behind the split.
"This decision, as unfortunate as it is, was the result of a political pressure campaign-- a bullying effort against the Komen Foundation, trying to get them to break their relationship with Planned Parenthood," Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards said.
The split will not affect any of the eight Maryland Planned Parenthood branches which don't received any of the Susan Komen grant money, though they do conduct 5,000 breast exams in Maryland each year.
And while the Komen decision has upset many Maryland women...
"They shouldn't have stopped, if it's going toward breast exams and everything."
...others support the move, shocked to learn Komen had any connection to Planned Parenthood.
"I think it was unfair for that money, because people were giving it to one charity and one health issue, and really had no idea that money was going to go somewhere else," Baltimore County resident Pat Jones said.
Planned Parenthood officials say there is an upside. Since the controversy began, they've already raised more than $400,000 from people upset with the Susan G. Komen Foundation's decision.
Last year alone, Planned Parenthood received $700,000 from the Susan G. Komen Foundation.
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