Planned Parenthood raised nearly $3 million from more than 10,000 donors over three days, following an announcement by the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation that the womens' health organization would no longer be eligible for grants. The Komen Foundation reversed its decision on Friday and said that Planned Parenthood could still get Komen funding.
"I've never seen anything catch fire like this," Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards said on a Friday conference call. "Today it sends an important message about these bullying kinds of tactics. It sends a really important message that women are willing to stand up for women and women's health."
The donations are at least six times the amount that the Komen Foundation gave to Planned Parenthood last year. Richards said that her group would use the donations exclusively to maintain and build the organization's breast-examination centers.
Democrats on Capitol Hill were delighted by the announcement earlier on Friday that the Komen Foundation had reversed its decision to prohibit grant applications from Planned Parenthood. Foundation leaders apologized for their decision earlier this week to block Planned Parenthood from receiving grants because it was under investigation by House Republicans. The decision had quickly earned Komen the ire of dozens of members of Congress as well as donors throughout the country. Komen says it will now prohibit grants only to organizations subject to investigations that are "criminal and conclusive."
"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," the foundation wrote on its blog. "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."
Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards said she was "heartened" that her organization could continue getting funds from the Komen Foundation to provide mammograms and other cancer screenings.
Twenty-four Democratic senators, led by Patty Murray of Washington and Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey, called on the Komen Foundation on Thursday to reconsider its decision to ban grants to Planned Parenthood. "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," Murray said in a statement on Friday. "Our fight for women’s health does not end here. 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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