Susan G. Komen Exec Resigns Over Planned Parenthood Controversy

Karen Handel
Karen Handel

Susan G. Komen for the Cure made headlines last week for pulling away from Planned Parenthood—and then abruptly reversing its decision not to provide funding to the abortion giant. The flap has led one executive to pull away from the breast cancer charity for good.

Karen Handel, who had served as senior vice president for Susan G. Komen for the Cure since April, resigned on Tuesday. News reports indicate Handel was the catalyst behind the move to cut Planned Parenthood funding.

"I am deeply disappointed by the gross mischaracterizations of the strategy, its rationale and my involvement in it," Handel said a resignation letter obtained by the Associated Press. "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."

Rep. Cliff Stearns of Florida is leading a congressional investigation into Planned Parenthood for alleged fraud. An Alliance Defense Fund report filed with Congress today identifies 12 types of potential fraud Planned Parenthood affiliates across the nation are allegedly committing. The potential fraud includes billing and being reimbursed by Title XIX agencies for medications and/or services provided in connection with an abortion, which is illegal under federal law.

“Neither the decision nor the changes themselves were based on anyone's political beliefs or ideology,” Handel said in the letter. “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.”

Susan G. Komen founder and CEO Nancy Brinker accepted Handel’s resignation, saying she has known Handel for many years and shares with her a common commitment to the organization’s mission.

"We have made mistakes in how we have handled recent decisions and take full accountability for what has resulted, but we cannot take our eye off the ball when it comes to our mission,” Brinker said. “To do this effectively, we must learn from what we’ve done right, what we’ve done wrong and achieve our goal for the millions of women who rely on us. The stakes are simply too high and providing hope for a cure must drive our efforts.”

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