Exclusive: Former Komen Foundation VP Karen Handel Speaks Out on Controversy, Says Planned Parenthood Is the Only Group Making the Issue Political
There’s new fallout in the Susan G. Komen Foundation controversy over Planned Parenthood funding. Karen Handel, a top executive at the breast cancer charity, resigned this morning. You’ll recall that this drama began a week ago when Susan G. Komen for the Cure decided to cut funding to Planned Parenthood because the group was under Congressional investigation. The decision sparked a firestorm and just days later, the Komen Foundation reversed their decision.
Karen Handel spoke out to Megyn Kelly in her first national interview since submitting her resignation.
Handel seems to be at the center of the storm because prior to joining the Komen Foundation,
she ran for office and said she wanted to defund Planned Parenthood. Many accused her of bringing that agenda with her to the organization. In fact, an article on the Huffington Post cites anonymous sources and documents claiming that Handel was the sole authority in crafting and implementing the policy at Komen that would defund Planned Parenthood
Handel responded to the claims, saying, “I clearly acknowledge that I was involved in the process, but to suggest that I had the sole authority is just absurd. The process was vetted, the policies were vetted at all of the appropriate levels in the organization.”
She stressed that she feels that the Komen Foundation is a great organization, and that “private nonprofit organizations have a right and a responsibility to be able to set the highest standards and criteria on their own without interference. Let alone the level of vicious attacks and coercion that has occurred by Planned Parenthood. It’s simply outrageous.”
Of the accusations that she brought her political agenda to Komen, Handel said, “For Komen, for myself, the mission was always foremost in everyone’s mind. The mission and the women that we serve. The only group here that has made this issue political has been Planned Parenthood.”
She acknowledged that she resigned because it became clear that this backlash had become too much of a focal point, and the foundation needs to refocus on their mission.