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ha_breast_cancer10208.JPGThe Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation's efforts to diffuse controversy surrounding its funding dispute with Planned Parenthood hasn't improved the breast cancer charity's standing with the California Legislative Women's Caucus.

Sen. Noreen Evans, D-Santa Rosa, said Monday that the caucus has no plans to restore its partnership with Komen. She said the incident left lingering questions about "whether their highest priority is women's health care."

"Basically the fundamental problem is this incident politicized women's health care. And I don't believe that should be political football," Evans said in an interview.

Evans had announced last week that the caucus had decided to cancel its annual bake sale to raise money for the charity and pull sponsorship of a breast cancer awareness event that turns the Capitol dome pink each year in response to Komen's decision to cut breast cancer screening grants it had provided to Planned Parenthood affiliates.

Komen, which cited a congressional inquiry into Planned Parenthood as the reason for the decision, backed off its position after coming under fire from women's health advocates, Democratic lawmakers and others who said the move was sparked by pressure from anti-abortion groups. Komen Vice President for Public Policy Karen Handel, who supported cutting the funding, resigned in the wake of the controversy.

APNewsBreak: Komen exec quits after funding flap
California lawmakers cut ties with Komen over funding decision

PHOTO CREDIT: Naomi Gonzalez, left, and Elvia Castro, right, both of Salinas, leave a breast cancer awareness event at the Capitol after it was lighted pink during a day long of events at the Capitol's north steps on Monday, February 8, 2010. Hector Amezcua, Sacramento Bee.


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