The Washington Post is reporting that Karen Handel, the anti-choice former GOP candidate for governor of Georgia at the heart of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure breast-cancer charity dust up with Planned Parenthood, has resigned as Koman’s vice president of policy today.
From the story: “I am deeply disappointed by the gross mischaracterizations of the strategy, its rationale, and my involvement in it,” Handel said in her letter. “I openly acknowledge my role in the matter and continue to believe our decision was the best one for Komen’s future and the women we serve.”
Handel had supported a decision that Komen announced last week to exclude Planned Parenthood, which provides a range of women’s health care services including abortions, from future grants for breast-cancer screenings because it was under government investigation. The charity cited a probe launched by a Florida congressman at the urging of anti-abortion groups.
The breast cancer charity reversed course after its decision created a three-day firestorm of criticism. Members of Congress and Komen affiliates accused the group’s national leadership of bending to pressure from anti-abortion activists. Komen’s founder and CEO, Nancy Brinker, denied the decision was driven by pressure from anti-abortion groups.”
Both organizations received an outpouring of donations from pro-choice and anti-choice movements in the wake of the decision. But for Handel, who was endorsed by Tea Party darling Sarah Palin in 2010, today’s resignation must be bittersweet indeed.
Crooks and Liars added this to the story:
“The emails show that Karen Handel was behind the entire decision to defund Planned Parenthood,” The Huffington Post’s Laura Bassett told CNN’s Soledad O’Brien Monday. “She was behind the strategy to develop the new criteria for who can be funded and she’s been behind the PR effort to clean up what’s happened since the decision was announced.”
“What I understand is that Karen Handel, since she was hired back in April, has been kind of pumping up and magnifying the attacks against Komen and the anti-Planned Parenthood protests and whatnot, and trying to get the board and trying to get Komen leadership on her side as part of this decision to defund Planned Parenthood.”
In a posting on her blog last year, Handel made no secret of her opposition to Planned Parenthood.
“First, let me be clear, since I am pro-life, I do not support the mission of Planned Parenthood,” she wrote.
In a video posted to YouTube last week, Komen’s Founder and CEO Nancy G. Brinker denied that politics played any role in the decision.
“It was a boldface lie,” Bassett explained. “Karen Handel had a political agenda against Planned Parenthood. And I know that Komen founder Nancy Brinker went on Andrea Mitchell Thursday and said that Karen Handel had nothing to do with this; this was not political. That’s simply not true. And if you’re a cancer charity, you have no business lying to the public about what’s going on behind closed doors.”
While Komen reversed its decision on Friday and made Planned Parenthood eligible for future grants, many will not be satisfied until Handel is ousted from the organization.