One of the most prominent charities working to prevent and cure breast cancer, the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation, has cut its ties with the women's health organization Planned Parenthood, that organization confirmed on Tuesday. Reacting to the news, Planned Parenthood decried Komen for having "succumbed to political pressure" related to abortion politics.
Planned Parenthood said representatives for Komen have been notifying Planned Parenthood divisions throughout the country that it will stop providing funding for breast cancer screenings and prevention.
"We are alarmed and saddened that the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation appears to have succumbed to political pressure," Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America said in a statement. "Our greatest desire is for Komen to reconsider this policy and recommit to the partnership on which so many women count."
Planned Parenthood said Komen did not respond to requests to meet about the termination of the partnership, the support of which has directly enabled 170,000 women to receive breast cancer exams in the past five years.
Planned Parenthood is the subject of investigations by Republican members of Congress for allegedly using federal dollars toward providing abortions. Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.), chair of the House Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee of the Energy and Commerce Committee, opened an investigation into the matter in 2011 but nothing has yet come of it.
A statement by Komen to CBS News denied that the charity was politically pressured. "Grant making decisions are not about politics," Komen wrote. The statement also said the organization did make changes to its grant-making process and "implemented more stringent eligibility and performance criteria."
Leslie Aun, a spokesperson for Komen, told the Associated Press that Komen crafted new guidelines that prohibits organizations under investigation from the government from receiving financial support.
Anti-abortion groups have in recent months been targeting Komen, an organization that raised more than $400 million to fight breast cancer in 2010, for its relationship with Planned Parenthood. The anti-abortion organization Life Issues Institute launched a campaign to persuade Komen to halt its partnership with Planned Parenthood, which, according to the Associated Press, granted $650,000 to Planned Parenthood last year.
On its Facebook page, Bradley Mattes, executive director of the Life Issues Institute wrote: "The continued, collective efforts of the pro-life movement have paid off. Our work to educate Komen donors to the reality that the organization has financially supported the nation's largest chain of abortion mills has caused Komen to halt the financial hemorrhaging. Evidently, Komen had to choose between political ideology and financial viability. They made a good choice."
Planned Parenthood said it's working to raise money so that cancer screenings don't stop. It has received a commitment of $250,000 from the Amy and Lee Fikes' foundation.