Local Komen Affiliate Reacts to Planned Parenthood Controversy

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Separating fact from misconception -- Rebecca Newhouse, president of the West Virginia affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, spent much of Friday on conference calls and social media sites -- trying to do just that.

"We really are not in a situation where Planned Parenthood funding has been an issue," Newhouse says. "There's a misconception, somehow, we would be taking funding from Planned Parenthood. Nothing could be further from the truth."

Funding in West Virginia doesn't have to funnel through Planned Parenthood to get women a mammogram.

Nationally, The Susan G. Komen for the Cure breast-cancer charity on Friday abandoned plans to deny funding to Planned Parenthood. The startling decision came after three days of criticism that resounded across the Internet, jeopardizing Komen's iconic image.

"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," a Komen statement said.

As first reported Tuesday by The Associated Press, Komen had adopted criteria excluding Planned Parenthood from future grants for breast-cancer screenings because it was under government investigation, citing a probe launched by a Florida congressman at the urging of anti-abortion groups.

Komen said it would change the criteria "to make clear that disqualifying investigations must be criminal and conclusive in nature and not political."

"We will continue to fund existing grants, including those of Planned Parenthood, and preserve their eligibility to apply for future grants," the statement said.

"The Komen Foundation doesn't provide us with direct funding" says Kira Miskimmin, public affairs director for Planned Parenthood Health Systems, Inc. in West Virginia.

Miskimmin says lost in this nationwide controversy is the tact that both organizations have about saving people's lives.

"Everyone should care," Miskimmin says, "because anytime women's health is politicized in the manner we've seen over the past week, that harms all of us, particularly women who are most vulnerable."

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