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Mollie Williams, top Susan G. Komen official, resigned over decision to cut Planned Parenthood

Mollie Williams, a senior official at the Susan G. Komen foundation, resigned over the decision to cut funding for Planned Parenthood.

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In this picture from last year, protesters shouted slogans during a rally to "stand up for women's health" in support of Planned Parenthood at the National Mall in Washington, DC, on April 7, 2011. AFP PHOTO/Jewel Samad (JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

UPDATE: Reuters is reporting that two dozen Democratic Senators have urged the Susan G. Komen Foundation to reconsider its decision to cut off funding to Planned Parenthood. A letter drafted to be sent late Thursday noted that Komen helped fund 170,000 clinical breast exams. Senators Frank Lautenberg and Patty Murray were among the group signing the letter which read, "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."

Mollie Williams, Susan G. Komen Foundation's top public health official, resigned in protest over the decision to cut funding to Planned Parenthood, according to The Atlantic, which confirmed the information with three sources.

Williams was in charge of distributing $93 million in annual grants at Komen. John Hammarley, who served as Komen’s senior communications adviser, told The Atlantic: “The Komen board of directors are very politically savvy folks, and I think over time they thought if they gave in to the very aggressive propaganda machine of the anti-abortion groups, that the issue would go away. It seemed very short-sighted to me.”

More on GlobalPost: Susan G. Komen ends funding for Planned Parenthood

Since the news about Komen cutting off funding to Planned Parenthood broke yesterday, controversy has been raging over whether the move was politically motivated. The Komen foundation has felt a fierce backlash, especially facing attacks from women’s health advocates who viewed the decision as caving to pressure from conservatives aiming to weaken Planned Parenthood, reported Forbes.

The Komen website was hacked briefly around 12:30 a.m. on Thursday, with a graphic that said, “Help us run over poor women on our way to the bank,” reported The Atlantic.

Nancy Brinker, the founder and CEO of Susan G. Komen, talked about the motivations behind the decision:

The Washington Post published an article with the headline, “Meet the woman who got Komen to defund Planned Parenthood,” mentioning Komen’s avowedly pro-life Vice President for Policy, Karen Handel, but also shining a spotlight on Charmaine Yoest, the president of Americans United for Life. Yoest’s group published a report last fall which prompted an investigation by the Energy and Commerce Committee, which in turn bars Planned Parenthood from fitting the criteria allowing Komen to fund them.

More on GlobalPost: Universal access to reproductive health

Referring to the rule barring funding of organizations that are under investigation, a source told The Atlantic that, "The rule was created to give the board of directors the excuse to stop the funding of Planned Parenthood. It was completely arbitrary.”

Hammarley said of Williams’ resignation: “Mollie is one of the most highly respected and ethical people inside the organization, and she felt she couldn't continue under these conditions.”

Meanwhile, The Washington Post reported that Planned Parenthood has already raised $650,000 within the span of 24 hours, nearly making up the $680,000 deficit that the Komen foundation withdrawal left behind. Nearly 6,000 online donors contributed more than $400,000 to the organization. A Texan couple, Lee and Amy Fikes, donated another $250,000.

Mayor Mike Bloomberg was the latest donor to step up on Thursday reported The New York Times. He pledged to match up to $250,000 donated to Planned Parenthood, saying in a statement, "Politics have no place in health care."

This storify shows some of the reactions to the controversy surrounding the Komen foundation's decision:

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/united-states/120202/mollie-williams-resigned-komen-over-planned-parenthood