Komen officials resign after pulling of Planned Parenthood funds

Posted February 2, 2012 9:26 p.m. EST
Updated February 3, 2012 5:23 a.m. EST

— The communications manager for the Susan G. Komen for the Cure's affiliate in the Triangle has resigned due to the national office's decision to pull hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants to Planned Parenthood for breast cancer awareness and screenings. 

The cancer charity recently decided to halt the grants – $680,000 last year and $580,000 the year before to 19 Planned Parenthood affiliates over the past two years to target the underinsured – because Planned Parenthood is under investigation in Congress. The probe was launched by a conservative Republican who was urged to act by anti-abortion activists.

In an email to WRAL News, communications manager Carrie Kovalick said the decision to pull the funds was the reason she decided to leave.

Mollie Williams, the top public health official nationally for Komen, has also stepped down citing the same reason. 

Susan G Komen CEO Nancy Brinker started the foundation in memory of her sister. In explaining why the organization pulled the funds, she said many of the grants being given to Planned Parenthood didn't meet the "standards of criteria for how we can measure our results and effectiveness in communities." 

Komen has long faced pressure from conservative groups to drop funding to Planned Parenthood because the group also performs abortions.

Brinker denies the organization buckled to political pressure. 

The Komen North Carolina Triangle Affiliate, which is gearing up for its annual Race for the Cure, said it had fielded 26 concerned calls and emails since the news broke Tuesday.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg pledged $250,000 to Planned Parenthood on Thursday, meaning the group has raised more money over the past two days than it received from Komen all last year. 

Komen officials say its donations are also up 100 percent over the past day.