Karen Handel Pushed Onto Her Sword

Karen Handel, the Fetus Person probably at the center of Komen for the Fail’s recent catastrophe, has resigned from (i.e., been forced out) of her job at Komen. Word is she has refused a severance package, which probably would have required her to keep her mouth shut. So she’s gonna blab. Should be fun.

Her resignation letter oozes with what the witty folks at Balloon Juice are calling “Handel’s Messiah Complex.”

We can all agree that this is a challenging and deeply unsettling situation for all involved in the fight against breast cancer. However, Komen’s decision to change its granting strategy and exit the controversy surrounding Planned Parenthood and its grants was fully vetted by every appropriate level within the organization. At the November Board meeting, the Board received a detailed review of the new model and related criteria. As you will recall, the Board specifically discussed various issues, including the need to protect our mission by ensuring we were not distracted or negatively affected by any other organization’s real or perceived challenges. No objections were made to moving forward.

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.

What was a thoughtful and thoroughly reviewed decision – one that would have indeed enabled Komen to deliver even greater community impact – has unfortunately been turned into something about politics. This is entirely untrue. This development should sadden us all greatly.

Poor baby. Not a clue.

IMO some sacrifice was necessary for Komen to hang on to any of its corporate sponsors. The people disillusioned by Komen’s bleep-up were not going to trust it again with their time and donations as long as Handel was still in place. Komen’s prestige will still suffer long-term damage, but this may earn enough forgiveness to enable it to continue some of its merchandising deals.

On the other hand, Art Caplan, a Ph.D. bioethicist, says Handel’s departure is too little, too late.

There is one last step that can be taken to save the mighty Komen from running aground permanently. The entire executive leadership and board must resign. Now. Anything less means that the prominence that Komen achieved will become simply one more in a long list of worthy causes that Americans may or may not choose to support.

What’s especially sad about this is that Komen CEO Nancy Brinker should have known better. Per Soonergrunt, in 2010 Komen turned down money from Curves because it came with a condition to cut off Planned Parenthood. Yeah, the guy who owns Curves is a five-alarm fundy and convicted deadbeat dad who thinks women are cows. Anyway, Brinker wrote,

“The grants in question supplied breast health counseling, screening, and treatment to rural women, poor women, Native American women, many women of color who were underserved—if served at all—in areas where Planned Parenthood facilities were often the only infrastructure available. Though it meant losing corporate money from Curves, we were not about to turn our backs on these women.”

A shame for Komen, but as I said, they knew better.

The folks at LifeNews still don’t have a clue what just happened:

Kristan Hawkins of Students for Life expressed the sentiment of many pro-life advocates responding to the decision, by saying Handel resigned because of Planned Parenthood’s aggressive attacks on Komen after its initial decision.

“Karen Handel was sick and tired of being held hostage by the largest pro-abortion lobby in the country when she and the Komen Foundation were supposed to be focused on saving women’s lives, not endangering them,” she told LifeNews. “They held the Komen Foundation, and the millions of women they serve, hostage until they got their way, pocketing merely a drop in the bucket when it comes to their extensive funding.”

No, what happened is that a whole lot of women and men all around the country spontaneously took to Twitter and Facebook and raised hell. Planned Parenthood by itself doesn’t have the clout to hold anybody hostage. What smacked down Komen was a roar of public opinion.

Are you paying attention, Congress?

11 thoughts on “Karen Handel Pushed Onto Her Sword

  1. Well, since Handel baroque Komen, she had to go Bach whence she came.

    But don’t cry a river for her, like she’s doing for herself.

    She will live the rest of her life on Wingnut Welfare.

    They have golden parachutes of many colors – even pink ones, I’m sure.

    I’ll bet that within a few days, Fred Hiatt will be calling her for a position writing Op-ed columns at the WaPo.
    FOX probably already has her on speed-dial.

  2. Oh, the puns, make them stop!

    Seriously, though, if I ever doubted that the Fetus Folk live in their own fuzzy-wuzzy reality, that quote from LifeNews proved it. PP is the Great Satan, and everything is PP’s fault. Yeesh.

    Oh, and even without knowing anything about the owner, I could’ve told you Curves is bullsh*t.

  3. I read that statement as “But, but, we ALL decided we were going to cut off Planned Parenthood, and we talked all about it, so it’s really not fair that I’m the one walking the plank here.” She’s probably right about that, though she does carry the blame for the ham-handed way it was announced, and the way they handled the resulting firestorm.

    I’m still trying to figure out the mindset that can hold the concepts “change its granting strategy and exit the controversy surrounding Planned Parenthood” and “unfortunately been turned into something about politics. This is entirely untrue” together at the same time. She’s admitting that the decision was about avoiding the PP “controversy”, not whether PP was effective, or was making good use of the money, or any other reason. Yet somehow that isn’t “politics.”

    Komen for the Fail, indeed.

  4. It is not true that they “all” decided because someone on the board resigned in December when the decision was made. I read that at this blog. Just can’t remember the name. Also, I don’t know about any one else, but I have learned way too much about the organization to support it now.

  5. Dear Komen –

    A couple of definitions in anatomy.

    BREAST – the upper ventral region of the torso of a primate, in left and right sides, which in a female contains the mammary gland that secretes milk used to feed infants.

    UTERUS – a major female hormone-responsive reproductive sex organ of most mammals including humans.

  6. (My computer hates me. So it does things like premature submission. Its a conspiracy between the keyboard and Windows. The mouse may be in on it.)

    Personally, you can have whatever convictions about abortion and I’m not offended. But Komen sliced a piece of charity labeled “breast cancer cure”. The breast does not get pregnant and isn’t involved in abortion. Despite convoluted excusemongering this WAS entirely about going after the largest provider of women’s health services who also provides legal abortions to women.

    It was political – and medicine should not be. The decision put countless women at risk for cancer because there was NO alternate plan to provide breast cancer screenings to low-income women. Low income women

  7. I agree with Art Caplan.

    They all gotta go.

    And even then it will be a cold day in hell before I trust them to manage any money of mine.

    (And I ran the SGK run in Key West in ’96.)

  8. just an FYI

    “in 2010 Komen turned down money from Curves”

    The link speaks of her book published in 2010, the actual event you speak about happened in 2004.

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