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Planned Parenthood launches new U.S. breast health initiative

Last Updated: 2012-08-20 11:30:07 -0400 (Reuters Health)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Planned Parenthood, a target of U.S. conservatives opposed to its abortion and birth control services, said on Monday it would use $3 million in donations to launch an initiative to fight breast cancer with expanded screenings and education.

The donations poured into Planned Parenthood earlier this year in response to the decision by breast cancer charity Susan G. Komen for the Cure to cut off grant money to the women's health network.

The initiative will add to basic screenings at Planned Parenthood clinics by funding ultrasounds, biopsies and other follow-up services. It will also provide new educational resources for women under age 40, an outreach program for Hispanic women and a new screening tool for the network's doctors and nurses.

The $3 million flooded Planned Parenthood's coffers in four days earlier this year as 77,000 supporters rushed to protect the group after the Komen foundation said it would cut off nearly all of its $700,000 in annual grant money used to fund breast cancer screenings.

Komen's decision triggered an uproar among its own supporters that forced the breast cancer charity to reverse the change.

Komen insiders said later that the foundation had acted under pressure from anti-abortion activists opposed to Planned Parenthood.

"We were overwhelmed with support from people all across the country who wanted to be sure that women could still get breast cancer screenings at Planned Parenthood," the organization's president, Cecile Richards, said in a statement.

"We've spent the last few months developing an expanded program that plays to our strengths while addressing the biggest barriers to care," Richards, of Planned Parenthood, said.

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