Via Fox News Insider, her first interview since Komen learned the hard way that the left treats donations to Planned Parenthood as a lifetime commitment. The lingering question: How much did Handel influence the decision to cut PP off? According to her resignation letter today, not much:
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.
According to HuffPo, it was all her:
“Karen Handel was the prime instigator of this effort, and she herself personally came up with investigation criteria,” the source, who requested anonymity for professional reasons, told HuffPost. “She said, ‘If we just say it’s about investigations, we can defund Planned Parenthood and no one can blame us for being political.'”
Emails between Komen leadership on the day the Planned Parenthood decision was announced, which were reviewed by HuffPost under the condition they not be published, confirm the source’s description of Handel’s sole “authority” in crafting and implementing the Planned Parenthood policy…
“Komen’s been dealing with the Planned Parenthood issue for years, and you know, some right-wing groups would organize a protest or send out a mailing every now and then, but it was on a low simmer,” the source said. “What Karen’s been doing for the past six months is ratcheting up the issue with leadership. Every time someone would even mention a protest, she would magnify it, pump it up, exaggerate it. She’s the one that kept driving this issue.”
A key subplot here that I wasn’t aware of until today was that Handel’s run for the GOP gubernatorial nomination in Georgia two years ago ended up failing in part because it turned out that she had once voted as a county commissioner to approve federal funds for — ta da — Planned Parenthood. Read this nifty AP story on how Nathan Deal made it an issue in the primary; Handel actually beat him by double digits in the first round, but he beat her in the runoff by just 2,500 votes, equivalent to less than one half of one percent. Think she’ll have that problem if/when she runs for office in Georgia next time as a political martyr to the pro-life cause?
Exit question: Why didn’t Komen offer to fund some sort of alternate breast-cancer screening program for poor women with the money it saved by defunding Planned Parenthood? They knew there’d be an outcry once they pulled funds, and they also surely knew that the left would pretend it was angry that they were cutting off money for health services to poor women rather than that they were stigmatizing America’s premier abortion factory. Komen could have prepared for that by reallocating the funds immediately to, say, clinics in lower-income neighborhoods. Since the very beginning of this clusterfark, I can’t fathom what their PR team was thinking.