Planned Parenthood says the majority of its clients are low income, and 98 percent of its work is preventive care. Still, Komen pulled its support because of a Republican congressional investigation related to public funds and Planned Parenthood's role as an abortion provider. Komen's founder and CEO vigorously defended the decision in a website video.
The Susan G. Komen for the Cure charity says its decision to end grants to Planned Parenthood has been mischaracterized, that it is not a political decision, but a result of a change in policy. Komen says it will no longer give grants to organizations under investigation by Congress, but critics think Komen is bowing to pressure from anti-abortion groups.
Planned Parenthood uses Komen funding for breast cancer screenings only.
"The Komen foundation has been under a lot of pressure from anti-abortion groups for years; at the end of the day what the motivation is is less important than the women it's going to hurt," Planned Parenthood spokesperson Adrienne Vivilli said.
Thursday, 22 Democratic senators, including Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein sent a letter to Komen, saying "it would be tragic if any woman - let alone thousands of women - lost access to these potentially life-saving screenings because of a politically motivated attack."
Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., says she's always known Komen as a professional organization with a good purpose.
"I feel sad that this decision on their part will be to the detriment of women's health," she said.
And in Sacramento, state Sen. Noreen Evans, D-Santa Rosa, passed a petition asking Komen to reinstate funding.
"Personally, I went on the Planned Parenthood website and made an immediate donation; my understanding is over the last 48 hours they've almost been able to raise as much as Komen pulled away from them in funding," Evans said.
As perhaps an unintended consequence, Planned Parenthood has received an outpouring of support. In addition to $400,000 in smaller donations from individuals, it's getting $250,000 from a family foundation in Dallas and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has pledged to match future donations up to $250,000.