Planned Parenthood’s $3M Bonanza

Susan G. Komen for the Cure’s decision to cut off grants to Planned Parenthood—which the breast cancer organization reversed Friday after a firestorm of criticism—has turned out to be a blessing in disguise for Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

Over the last three days, Planned Parenthood has raised more than $3 million in emergency funding from thousands of people across the country for its breast health fund, according to the New York-based nonprofit.

“Every dollar we receive for this fund will go directly for breast exams, diagnostic services, breast health outreach, and education, so that more women can receive this critical care,” a spokesman for Planned Parenthood said.

The bulk of the funds have come from small donations made online from thousands of people. But they are bolstered by gifts from three major donors. The Amy and Lee Fikes’ Foundation, run by the head of Dallas-based Bonanza Oil Co. pledged $250,000; Credo, a mobile-phone company, pledged $200,000; and Mayor Michael Bloomberg made a $250,000 matching grant.

A spokeswoman for Mr. Bloomberg said the mayor had no plans to withdraw his grant now that Komen had reversed its decision to cut Planned Parenthood's funding.

The new funds more than make up the losses that Planned Parenthood would have incurred. Komen grants paid for about 4.3% of the 4 million breast exams and 9% of the 70,000 mammogram referrals provided at Planned Parenthood clinics in the past five years, Planned Parenthood said.

The media storm around the fight between the two organizations may also fuel further donations, as it put the issue of women’s rights front and center for their supporters.

“We think the reaction over the last 48 hours really demonstrates the power for women when we act together and speak loudly,” said Julie Burton, president of the Women’s Media Center.

Sources close to Planned Parenthood said the organization had been trying to resolve the funding issue with Komen quietly for the past two months to avoid a damaging public fight. But the issue became public earlier this week.

In a blog post Friday, Komen’s founder and CEO Nancy Brinker said she was reversing the group’s decision to stop its grants to Planned Parenthood.

“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,” Ms. Brinker wrote. “We do not want our mission marred or affected by politics—anyone’s politics.”

Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards issued a statement about Komen’s announcement Friday morning saying “the outpouring of support for women in need of lifesaving breast cancer screening this week has been astonishing and is a testament to our nation’s compassion and sincerity.”

“In recent weeks, the treasured relationship between the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation and Planned Parenthood has been challenged, and we are now heartened that we can continue to work in partnership toward our shared commitment to breast health for the most underserved women,” Ms. Richards said.

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