Komen's Brinker denies political pressure in Planned Parenthood cutoff

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by BRAD WATSON

WFAA

Posted on February 2, 2012 at 9:51 PM

DALLAS - Nancy Brinker, the founder of Dallas-based Susan G. Komen for the Cure, broke her silence Thursday about the growing controversy for the group's funding cutoff of Planned Parenthood.

Komen says it dropped Planned Parenthood because Congress is investigating them for possibly spending tax dollars on abortions.

Yet there are new questions about whether Komen's policy is selective.

As News 8 reported Thursday, Dallas County's Parkland Hospital is still getting money from Komen.

Parkland's Breast Health Program has received $150,000 from Komen. Parkland is still under federal oversight by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services for safety deficiencies that continue to threaten the hospital's federal funding. Parkland confirmed to WFAA, it received no contact from Komen about potentially revoking the funds.

Why does Planned Parenthood get cut and Parkland does not?

Planned Parenthood and others point to political connections.

Komen has declined comment since Tuesday, after announcing Planned Parenthood no longer would get grants for breast cancer exams.

Komen still isn't answering questions about the firestorm that's followed but did release a statement from  founder and CEO Brinker.

"The scurrilous accusations being hurled at this organization are profoundly hurtful to so many of us who've put our heart, soul and lives into this organization," Brinker said.

Under its new grant rules, Komen won't fund a group under investigation and cites the audit led by a pro-life Florida congressman of whether Planned Parenthood spent tax dollars on abortions.

Planned Parenthood denies it.

Anti-abortion groups have pressured Komen to drop Planned Parenthood.

Yet The Atlantic reports that Karen Handel, who won the endorsement of Sarah Palin in Handel's 2010 run for governor in Georgia, pushed for cutting off Planned Parenthood funding. Handel, who's anti-abortion, now serves as a Komen's Senior Vice President for Public Policy.

President of Planned Parenthood Cecile Richards is the daughter of the late Texas Governor Ann Richards.

"I think really what this is a result of, is this very ugly and aggressive campaign by right wing organizations to bully the Komen Foundation and keep them from working with Planned Parenthood," Richards said.

After the Komen board cut Planned Parenthood, Mollie Williams, the executive in charge of the grants, reportedly resigned.

Despite the allegations, Brinker says Komen will press on.

"They are a dangerous distraction from the work that remains to be done of ridding the world of breast cancer," Brinker said in the video, in which she never mentions Planned Parenthood.

Pro-life groups support Komen's position, saying Komen is properly seeing the contradiction between Planned Parenthood's women's health screening and abortions that Planned Parenthood provides.

Planned Parenthood says it's still hopeful Komen will change its mind.

E-mail bwatson@wfaa.com

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