After a turbulent week for the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation which saw the charity threaten to withdraw future funding for Planned Parenthood’s breast cancer screening programs due to a right-wing based investigation that launched a probe at the urging of anti-abortion groups, and the subsequent mealy-mouthed reversal of their policy amid the backlash — now a top executive with the foundation has resigned under what can best be described as ideological differences, despite her claim otherwise, of the current trajectory of the foundation.
The AP reports, Karen Handel, a Republican anti-choice advocate, and also-ran for Georgia Governor in 2010, has resigned from Komen and is now speaking out about the actions the foundation took regarding Planned Parenthood, which began prior to this year’s announcement. Handel says the plan to remove funding for Planned Parenthood, a move that she supported, was fully vetted by the Komen organization without objection from the foundation’s board when proposed in November of last year.
In fact, an anonymous source claims that the new criteria which would exclude Planned Parenthood from further funding, targeted the organization specifically and was highlighted in a memo that was distributed to Komen affiliates in December. So if the decision was so well known and discussed why does Handel mention her role here?
“I am deeply disappointed by the gross mischaracterizations of the strategy, its rationale, and my involvement in it,” Handel said. “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.”
Reports say that Handel was actually instrumental in pushing forward the de-funding, which shouldn’t be surprising given her strong anti-abortion views and frequent denouncing of Planned Parenthood during her failed campaign in 2010. Those reports led many to call for her firing in the wake of the scandal.
For her part, Handel says the decision wasn’t politically or ideologically motivated, but simply a PR issue that pushed the Komen foundation’s need to distance itself from the controversy an investigation into Planned Parenthood could bring. Oh, you mean the kind of controversy that comes from Congress asking you to reverse your decision, gaining the ire of citizens nationally, going on the defensive for more than a week, then reversing the decision in a statement full of loop holes and platitudes before this latest stink bomb set by your now former vice president for public policy has launched — you mean this controversy? Brilliant.
Here’s the whole letter of resignation:
February 7, 2012
The Honorable Nancy Brinker
CEO, Susan G. Komen for the Cure VIA EMAIL
5005 LBJ Freeway, Suite 250
Dallas, Texas 75244
Dear Ambassador Brinker:
Susan G. Komen for the Cure has been the recognized leader for more 30 years in the fight against breast cancer here in the US – and increasingly around the world.
As you know, I have always kept Komen’s mission and the women we serve as my highest priority – as they have been for the entire organization, the Komen Affiliates, our many supporters and donors, and the entire community of breast cancer survivors. I have carried out my responsibilities faithfully and in line with the Board’s objectives and the direction provided by you and Liz.
We can all agree that this is a challenging and deeply unsettling situation for all involved in the fight against breast cancer. However, Komen’s decision to change its granting strategy and exit the controversy surrounding Planned Parenthood and its grants was fully vetted by every appropriate level within the organization. At the November Board meeting, the Board received a detailed review of the new model and related criteria. As you will recall, the Board specifically discussed various issues, including the need to protect our mission by ensuring we were not distracted or negatively affected by any other organization’s real or perceived challenges. No objections were made to moving forward.
I am deeply disappointed by the gross mischaracterizations of the strategy, its rationale, and my involvement in it. 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. However, the decision to update our granting model was made before I joined Komen, and the controversy related to Planned Parenthood has long been a concern to the organization. Neither the decision nor the changes themselves were based on anyone’s political beliefs or ideology. Rather, both were based on Komen’s mission and how to better serve women, as well as a realization of the need to distance Komen from controversy. I believe that Komen, like any other nonprofit organization, has the right and the responsibility to set criteria and highest standards for how and to whom it grants.
What was a thoughtful and thoroughly reviewed decision – one that would have indeed enabled Komen to deliver even greater community impact – has unfortunately been turned into something about politics. This is entirely untrue. This development should sadden us all greatly.
Just as Komen’s best interests and the fight against breast cancer have always been foremost in every aspect of my work, so too are these my priorities in coming to the decision to resign effective immediately. While I appreciate your raising a possible severance package, I respectfully decline. It is my most sincere hope that Komen is allowed to now refocus its attention and energies on its mission.
Yeah, that’s all well and good. Blah, blah, not political, Komen wanted it this way, yadda, yadda. Wait, this is interesting:
“However, the decision to update our granting model was made before I joined Komen, and the controversy related to Planned Parenthood has long been a concern to the organization.”
Hmm, so maybe Komen, or some influential persons within the foundation, have been thinking about throwing women under the bus for some time then?
This nugget is fascinating too:
“…the need to protect our mission by ensuring we were not distracted or negatively affected by any other organization’s real or perceived challenges.”
What challenge? A probe led by one Congressman who’s in bed with anti-abortion groups? For this you would sacrifice the healthcare of thousands of women?
Oh, right. Here’s a re-tweet she sent on February 1st.
“Just like a pro-abortion group to turn cancer orgs decision into a political bomb to throw. Cry me a freaking river.”
Oh, sure, yes, this is all an altruistic move to help women and it’s not political one bit. Haha! No, really, we believe you. No. One would question if they even know what the word political means. Perhaps they think it means OBVIOUS THING IS NOT OBVIOUS! You know what guys? You’ve been foiled! At last count, Planned Parenthood has raised over $3 million dollars since the Komen debacle began.
Apparently Handel will head up a press conference on the matter later today. That should be fun and exasperating.
Awesome guy, Cenk Uygur, over at Current TV gives a pretty nice timeline of Handel’s double speak and motivations, based on HuffPo’s reporting and subsequent calls for her firing.
Thanks to BadKarma and GtCosita for their tips.