Denver's Komen Asks To Continue Funding Planned Parenthood

Denver Affiliate Of Susan G. Komen For The Cure Requests Exemption Til March 2013

While the Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation is halting its partnerships with Planned Parenthood affiliates across the country, the Denver affiliate of the group is not.

Komen spokeswoman Leslie Aun said the national cutoff comes from the charity's newly adopted criteria barring grants to organizations that are under investigation by local, state or federal authorities. According to Komen, this applies to Planned Parenthood because it's the focus of an inquiry launched by Rep. Cliff Stearns, R-Fla., seeking to determine whether public money was improperly spent on abortions.

Planned Parenthood says the move comes from Komen bowing to pressure from anti-abortion activists.

Planned Parenthood said the Komen grants totaled roughly $680,000 last year and $580,000 the year before. The money helped pay for breast-cancer screening and other breast-health services at Planned Parenthood.

Denver Affiliate Requests Exemption

On Wednesday, the Denver affiliate of Susan G. Koman for the Cure released a statement on Facebook that said it has requested an exception from the national ban.

The Denver affiliate said it wants to fund Planned Parenthood for the grant cycle of April 1, 2012 through March 31, 2013, pending the grant review committee and board of directors' approval of their grant application.

"The affiliate closely monitors all grantees to guarantee the awarded funds are used as intended and NOT used outside the scope of our promise to end breast cancer," the statement on Facebook said. "The monitoring includes 6-month, 9-month and final reports; site visit; and quarterly coalition meetings."

In 2010, the Denver affiliate grant to Planned Parenthood provided breast health/cancer education to 2,264 women, 601 clinical breast examinations and referred and paid for 57 mammograms, officials said.

Komen said 125 of those women were referred for additional diagnostics.

“It’s an important health issue for women and politics isn’t part of it. It shouldn’t be,” said local breast cancer survivor Sigrid Freese.

Planned Parenthood has been a perennial target of protests, boycotts and funding cutoffs because of its role as the largest provider of abortions in the United States. Its nearly 800 health centers nationwide provide an array of other services, including birth control, testing for sexually transmitted diseases and cancer screening.

According to Planned Parenthood, its centers performed more than 4 million breast exams over the past five years, including nearly 170,000 as a result of Komen grants.

Senior vice president of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains Leslie Durgin said they’re hoping Komen Denver’s request for an extension will go through. She hopes the Komen Foundation will reconsider its decision.

“In Denver, we got 4.3 percent of (our) funding from Komen. We identified 19 percent of cancers,” said Durgin.

Komen, founded in 1982, has invested more than $1.9 billion in breast-cancer research, health services and advocacy. Its Race for the Cure fundraising events have become a global phenomenon.

Komen began its partnerships with Planned Parenthood in 2005.

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