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The Globe and Mail

Komen reverses cuts to Planned Parenthood funding

The Susan Komen For The Cure international headquarters are shown in the Dallas suburb of Addison, Texas, Friday, Feb. 3, 2012.

LM Otero/LM Otero/AP

The world's largest breast cancer charity announced on Friday it was reversing a highly controversial decision to cut funding to Planned Parenthood, an organization that provides birth control and abortion services.

On Wednesday, Komen announced it would withhold an annual $700,000 grant from Planned Parenthood, saying under new eligibility rules it could no longer provide the funds. The move sparked outrage among critics, and prompted New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg to pledge $250,000 to Planned Parenthood.

"Breast cancer screening saves lives, and hundreds of thousands of women rely on Planned Parenthood for access to care," Mr. Bloomberg said in a written statement. "We should be helping women access that care, not placing barriers in their way."

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In the wake of the announcement, a handful of Komen leaders stepped down in protest, including the executive director of the Los Angeles County chapter and a member of the organization's medical advisory committee.

Komen issued an apology on Friday following the huge outcry.

"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," the foundation said in a statement. "We will continue to fund existing grants, while maintaining the ability of our affiliates to make funding decisions that meet the needs of their communities."

The organization added that its new funding criteria will be changed to "ensure that politics has no place in our grant process."

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