Top Komen officials resign as Planned Parenthood criticism grows

By Stephen C. Webster
Friday, February 3, 2012 9:48 EDT
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Women participate in a Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in Sacramento, Calif. on May 10, 2008. Photo: Flickr user Renee V.
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Three top officials with the Susan G. Komen charity have resigned following the group’s decision to withdraw their funds from the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA).

Mollie Williams, the group’s top public health official, resigned immediately following the board of directors’ decision to pull funding from PPFA, according to reports. She was quickly followed by Deb Anthony, director of Komen in Los Angeles County, and Dr. Kathy Plesser, a radiologist and medical adviser to Komen in New York.

“Eliminating this funding will mean there’s no place for these women to go,” Plesser told reporters with The Huffington Post. “Where are these women to go to have a mammography? Do they not deserve to have mammography?”

“I have dedicated my career to fighting for the rights of the marginalized and underserved,” Williams told The Atlantic. “And I believe it would be a mistake for any organization to bow to political pressure and compromise its mission.”

“There are several decisions that Komen has made in the past year that have led me to decide that my skills and talents no longer fit their model,” Anthony told a CBS News affiliate in Los Angeles. “I wish them the best.”

The three women are likely just the beginning of an exodus from the charity, which used to have a lobby shop in Washington, D.C. staffed largely by Democrats, although Komen has for years been a non-partisan organization. They hired Karen Handel, the former Republican attorney general of Georgia, as a top consultant early last year.

Komen’s founder, Nancy G. Brinker, has insisted that they did not specifically target PPFA, but that they adopted stringent new policies on how the organization gives out grants. Because House Republicans are investigating PPFA, they claimed it was reason enough to cut off funds. Critics argue the move was politically motivated, aimed at reducing critical health care services for low-income women in keeping with the Republican party’s so-called “war on women.”

Despite 26 U.S. Senators writing to Brinker asking her to reconsider their stance on PPFA, she’s insisted that the responses the group is hearing are “very, very favorable.”

Photo: Flickr user Renee V.

Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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