Susan G. Komen for the Cure Vice President Karen Handel drove the foundation’s decision to defund Planned Parenthood for purely political reasons, according to emails reviewed by The Huffington Post.
“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.”
Prior to Handel’s hiring, Komen’s lobbying shop had been staunchly Democratic — from its head to its hired guns, former Democratic aides did most of the heavy lifting on everything from the breast cancer stamp to breast cancer research to its advocacy on the health care bill.
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.
CREDO action, a super PAC run by one San Francisco phone company, has already gathered over 24,000 signatures demanding that Komen fire Handel.
Watch this video from CNN’s American Morning, broadcast Feb. 6, 2012.