Local Komen group relieved at reversal on Planned Parenthood ban

SARASOTA -- Not only have many survived cancer, but hundreds of Susan G. Komen supporters had to survive protestors Friday in downtown Sarasota.

Not realizing that the national Komen organization had reversed its controversial stance regarding Planned Parenthood, about seven protestors held signs, including, "Komen Deserts Women" Komen supporters said.

The protest took place in front of the Hyatt Sarasota where Komen was hosting its annual "Lunch for a Cure."

Moments later, during the lunch, master of ceremonies Troy Larkin told the crowd the decision had been reversed.

"It was very dramatic," said Komen supporter Virginia Camp of University Park.

There was also massive relief.

"We're so thankful it was reversed," said Gina Kravitz, executive director of Susan G. Komen Florida Suncoast Affiliate.

Officials with the local Planned Parenthood chapter held a press conference later Friday afternoon to discuss the latest development.

"This story has been about making women's health a political football and the American public's refusal to be bullied that way," said Barbara Zdravecky, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Southwest and Central Florida. "I think lawmakers have seen that women are watching."

Since the story broke Tuesday, Planned Parenthood has raised $3 million nationally, Zdravecky said.

Locally, Planned Parenthood got a donor who pledged $300,000 if it can be matched.

Zdravecky said she was grateful that Komen reversed its decision.

"I think they got a clear message that you can't play politics with women's health," Zdravecky said.