Pro-Life Komen VP Pushed Defunding

Karen Handel painted move as non-political: insider
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 6, 2012 1:16 PM CST
Pro-Life Komen VP Pushed Defunding: Report
Karen Handel.   (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Susan G. Komen Foundation leaders have given several reasons for the charity's now-reversed cuts to Planned Parenthood funding—but here's one they didn't mention. Komen's VP for public policy, abortion-rights opponent Karen Handel, fueled the decision, an insider with the group tells the Huffington Post. Handel worked to paint the decision as nonpolitical, the source says. She "was the prime instigator of this effort. She said, 'If we just say it's about investigations, we can defund Planned Parenthood and no one can blame us for being political.'" HuffPo reports that it was shown internal emails sent on the day the Planned Parenthood cuts were announced that confirm that Handel had "sole authority in crafting and implementing the policy."

Komen remains in the media spotlight following the decision. Financial records show that the charity's founder and CEO, Nancy Brinker, earned a $417,000 salary in 2010, with 50 other execs earning $100,000 each, the Washington Post reports. That (along with expenditures like $3 million on travel) may not help Komen as it scrambles to recover from the mess. In order to win back donors, the group needs to "tell the story of how many women they reach, how many women get access to care, how much research they're funding," a consultant tells NPR. To that end, the group says it's bringing former Bush press secretary Ari Fleischer aboard to help Komen with damage control. (Read more Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation stories.)

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