The Huffington Post is reporting that Karen Handel, Susan G. Komen for the Cure’s Vice President for Policy, was the driving force behind the decision to defund Planned Parenthood. Handel, who ran for governor of Georgia in 2010 campaigned on defunding the organization, was suspected to have played a role in the decision as soon as it was announced last Tuesday.
The report comes from a source at the Komen Foundation who released internal emails to the HuffPost that they say confirm Handel was behind the decision. They also show that Handel fought Friday’s decision to leave the door open to continue to fund Planned Parenthood.
The Komen Foundation has come under fire from pro-life groups for giving grants to Planned Parenthood for years but they were on a “low simmer” recently. Nevertheless, the source tells HuffPost, Handel, who came to Komen in April 2011, began playing up the attacks and “ratcheting up the issue with leadership…She’s the one that kept driving this issue.” According to the source, Handel also invented the criteria for defunding Planned Parenthood — that they would cease funding any organization under governmental investigation — saying that they couldn’t be blamed for playing politics with such a law.
Sources at the charity also told HuffPost that the decision was a PR disaster and that they were unprepared for the political firestorm that erupted. In contrast, sources painted Planned Parenthood as out-maneuvering them with their experienced political team. As one source told HuffPost, “They were just naive in the face of [the] incredibly sophisticated Planned Parenthood operation.”