There has been a shocking development in the Planned Parenthood scandal started by the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. First the non-profit organization pulled all their charitable donations away from the women’s health care clinic that were slated to pay for breast cancer screenings for poor women. After a huge public outcry that the organization was not really interested in the life and health of women, the group recanted their decision to cut funding and issued a formal public apology for their brief yet misguided decision. Everyone wondering who was in charge of the public gaff is now looking right at the charity’s Senior VP, a woman named Karen Handel. Guess what? She’s an outspoken pro-life advocate with deep ties to Republican – Tea Party conservative and reality TV star Sarah Palin.
Planned Parenthood has had a windfall of donations coming in from American women who are outraged that the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation released a press announcement that they were pulling all their funding from Planned Parenthood. The organization used Komen’s money to help poor women get breast cancer screening. Now, critics are saying the controversial decision to cut funding shows that the foundation is not really concerned with women’s health issues at all. They claim the organization that has brilliantly marketed the color pink is just interested in making big bucks for themselves and their top-tier staff while self promoting. But who was responsible for the decision to pull the rug out from under the feet of impoverished women who rely on Planned Parenthood to help them with women’s health issues? “The harsh social media spotlight cast on Susan G. Komen for the Cure is now shifting to Karen Handel, the organization’s senior vice president for public policy and, some suspect, the architect behind the decision that has led to the worst public relations disaster in the organization’s history…” said the L.A. Times in their news review of the escalating situation.
Like everyone else who uses social media daily, they noticed the breast cancer charity coming under fire and the series of tweets and Facebook status updated calling for people to stop supporting the organization or Karen Handel’s firing.
Celebrity supporters of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation include Ellen Degeneres, George W. Bush, Neil Patrick Harris, Mimi Rogers, Christie Brinkley, Cynthia Nixon, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, Jennifer Tilly, Vanessa Hudgens, Laura Bush, and Ann Curry. Obviously, the star celebs who have helped them raise money represent both liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans. For that reason, wouldn’t it make sense that the people they put in charge be able to steer a neutral course politically while promoting the health of women and their general welfare without playing politics in a way that promotes the special interests of any political party?
The suspicion is that Handel, a political insider tied with Sarah Palin and Republican cronies, targeted the non-profit to be cut off from the “think pink” pink ribbon charity. Because she’s essentially the person in charge of all the major decisions about where and how the organization spends the millions of dollars they take in annually, the fact that she’s pro-life and that Planned Parenthood was impacted so seriously by the withdrawn funds looks really suspicious on the surface. Everyone who’s discussing the scandal is talking about whether or not Handel’s background as a pro-lifer creates a conflict of interest for her with regard to her position.
LA Times shared, “Komen has long been under pressure by conservatives to cut ties with Planned Parenthood because it provides a variety of reproductive health care services, including abortions. Critics say Komen engineered the perfect out in 2011 when it revised its internal rules to bar the organization from funding another organization under an investigative cloud. The Atlantic notes that while Komen provides funding to hundreds of organizations, the new rule affected only one: Planned Parenthood.”
Karen Handel first made history as a public figure back in 2006 when, “she became the first Republican and only the second woman to be elected as secretary of state in Georgia.” According to sources, she quit her position to further her own political career. Backed by former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, she launched a campaign to become the party’s nominee for governor. Funny enough, one of the core messages of her campaign was the fact she’s pro-life and strongly opposes the goals of Planned Parenthood.
Fortunately for all the women who find themselves in the tough position of facing the possibility of a medical or lifestyle crisis due to an unplanned pregnancy, Karen Handel did not win the nomination bid (with or without Sarah Palin’s assistance).
“Internet archivists say they have unearthed archival pages of the blog that Handel reportedly wrote — the blog has since been taken offline — while she was running for governor. In one posting, she reportedly promises to “be a pro-life governor,”…” then adding a very damning line that said “since I am pro-life, I do not support the mission of Planned Parenthood.”
As for Handel supporters denial that she is a danger to the public image or the organization because of her political beliefs think about this:
Palin whipped up the crowd of several hundred in a hotel ballroom… just one day before the Republican runoff that [ended] a bitter three-week fight between Handel – one of Palin’s “Mama Grizzlies” – and her rival, former Rep. Nathan Deal.
“Are you ready to ‘Bring it On’?!,” she said, using the Handel campaign’s slogan.
The audience of enthusiastic supporters responded with cheers and chants of “Sa-rah!”
“It’s epic. It’s historic,” Palin once said of Handel’s pro-life campaign. The political guru then explained why she was so interested in the Deep South political race, one that pitted the female political hopeful against a male member of the state’s Republican establishment who had been vetted in the position long-term.
“The eyes of America are on you, Georgia, to see if you really do want that positive change and to get rid of that ‘good-ole-boy’ network that really gets in the way of just doing the thing that the people who want to hire a good governor are expecting of their government…” said the Tea Party favorite.
Somehow, knowing that Karen Handel might be behind the Planned Parenthood scandal makes us want to drink a toast to the women’s health victory of having the decision repealed — with a formal public apology from the organization (which was in fact issued today) — with a great big glass of Southern style sweet tea. Besides, mama grizzlies rarely look good in the color pink.
What are your thoughts? Should Karen Handel be in a position to control where the funding goes for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation or should someone more politically neutral be in charge of the women’s health charity?