Karen Handel, the former senior vice president of public policy at Susan G. Komen for the Cure, accused Planned Parenthood of extortion during an appearance on the Christian Broadcasting Network.
The charity faced a public backlash after the Associated Press learned that it was halting their partnership with Planned Parenthood because of recently adopted criteria prohibiting grants to organizations under local, state, or federal investigation. Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL) had called for an investigation of Planned Parenthood to ensure that no public funds had been spent to carry out abortions.
“It’s clear that Planned Parenthood proactively went to [the Associated Press],” Handel said. “On top of that, what is even more disturbing is the gross mischaracterization of the decision, the solid evidence that this was a premeditated, orchestrated attack on a breast cancer organization.”
Funds from Komen helped underwrite cancer screenings for over 170,000 lower-income women in the last five years.
The organization later altered their grant criteria to restrict funds only after an investigation has concluded, and only if it is criminal in nature.
“And lets remember Komen is a breast cancer organization,” Handel continued. “We’re not involved in politics or this type of guerrilla grassroots campaigning that Planned Parenthood unleashed on us. All for, not the sake of women’s health, but for the sake of politics and their political agenda, which should make all of us very, very concerned.
“This was nothing sort of a shake down,” she said. “To watch what played out, and somehow an organization like Planned Parenthood to be held up as sort of the face of the women’s movement was stunning to me. There is clearly a real bias around this, that somehow the right to an abortion equals women’s rights, and I reject that. It is outrageous, absolutely outrageous.”
Handel ran in the Republican primary for Georgia governor in 2010, but lost in a tightly contested runoff to Nathan Deal. Part of her political platform was ensuring no taxpayer funds were used by Planned Parenthood.
Emails that have surfaced since the controversy began show that Handel was in fact behind the decision, although Komen founder Nancy G. Brinker has repeatedly denied that.
Handel resigned from the organization in early February.
Watch video, courtesy of Right Wing Watch, below: