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February 07, 2012

Karen Handel Leaves Susan G. Komen Foundation

Posted in: Uncategorized

As expected by TBogg yesterday, Karen Handel, the anti-abortion activist who wound up as a Vice President for the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation, has resigned from the organization. She delivered an angry resignation letter that once again contradicts official statements from the Komen Foundation during the week-long furor over their dropping of funding, and then possible restoration, for breast cancer screenings at Planned Parenthood.

Handel, a former gubernatorial candidate in Georgia, confirmed that she had input into the Planned Parenthood decision.

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.

The rest of the resignation letter is an indignant defense of the decision to defund, and her associated martyrdom. Handel declined a severance package.

Handel is only the latest high-level official at Susan G. Komen to leave the organization in the wake of the Planned Parenthood announcement, which has caused a public relations disaster for the company. The difference here is that Handel’s departure is a kind of sacrifice to Komen’s donor base frustrated by the Planned Parenthood decision. I don’t believe anyone thinks this will mollify those who see the Planned Parenthood situation as one where Susan G. Komen showed their true colors. One resignation won’t change that.


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