LR Diocese Apologizes for Asking Members to Stop Komen Support

LITTLE ROCK, AR - The leader of Little Rock's Roman Catholic diocese apologized yesterday to a national breast cancer foundation for mistakenly linking donations to the group to abortions performed by Planned Parenthood.

Monsignor J. Gaston Hebert issued the statement after a meeting with staffers from the Susan G. Komen for the Cure, a Dallas-based organization known globally for its Race for the Cure events.  In a letter last month, Hebert asked parishioners to withhold their donations as Komen gives money to Planned Parenthood to provide breast exams and offer education to women in its clinics.

Hebert said yesterday that his earlier contention, that those donations could free up funding for abortions and contraceptive services "turned out not to be true."

He said in a statement "It is important that the stance of the Catholic Church always be based upon truth.  The position statement issued on February 7 was based upon unintentional error.  To let that statement stand would be an act of injustice."

Hebert also described Komen's work as "exceptional" and apologized to those "embarassed by this mistaken policy."

Rebecca Gibson, a spokeswoman for the Komen foundation, released a statement thanking the Little Rock diocese for a "very receptive meeting."

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