#GASen: Former Komen Exec Karen Handel Fundraising Off Planned Parenthood Debacle | Right Wing Watch
Remember two years ago when the Susan G. Komen For the Cure foundation abruptly dropped its grants to a Planned Parenthood breast-cancer screening program, setting off a national outcry, and prompting the resignation of the Komen official reportedly behind the decision?
The fallout of the debacle is still hurting Komen, which recently reported a 22 percent drop in income over the past year. But the decision to cut off grants to Planned Parenthood seems to be paying off for one person: Karen Handel, the former Komen vice president who was widely reported to have been the driving force behind split.
Now running for Senate in Georgia, Handel has released a campaign video touting her role in severing Planned Parenthood from Komen and fighting back against the “left-wing groups” and “liberal media” that criticized her.
In speeches and interviews, Handel has made the Planned Parenthood showdown a centerpiece of her biography. She even paved the way for her Senate run by releasing a book calling Planned Parenthood “thugs” and “bullies.”
Whatever Handel’s motivations or role in the Komen/Planned Parenthood split, the whole episode seems to be working out pretty well for her. The decision that Handel advocated for might have left Komen struggling financially, but Handel herself now has the perfect story to prove her status as an anti-choice activist martyred by the liberal media.
After the Susan G. Komen Foundation for the Cure’s decision to defund Planned Parenthood, attention has focused on its Vice President for Policy, Karen Handel. She joined the group last January after a failed run for governor in Georgia, where she had advocated defunding Planned Parenthood.
But there’s another woman who deserves equal credit: Americans United for Life President Charmaine Yoest. It’s her group that issued a report last fall, “The Case for Investigating Planned Parenthood,” that led to a probe by the Energy and Commerce Committee. And it’s that investigation that puts Planned Parenthood in violation of Komen’s new policy that bars funding of groups under investigation.
Yoest has run Americans United for Life for three years. She came to the group from former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee’s presidential campaign, and before that, served as the Family Research Council’s vice president for communications. She moved to Washington in the 1980s to work in the Reagan administration. But she counts this as perhaps her biggest victory.
Ex-Komen VP Karen Handel: "Planned Parenthood ‘literally co-opted the color pink’ from breast cancer" | The Raw Story
Former senior vice president of public policy for the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation Karen Handel said that Planned Parenthood had “literally” stolen the color pink in its branding from the breast cancer research organization during an event at the Family Research Council headquarters in Washington, D.C. to promote her new anti-Planned Parenthood book. “To them, Planned Parenthood literally co-opted the color pink. And for most people the color pink is associated with what? The fight against breast cancer,” Handel continued. “But Planned Parenthood cloaked itself in that color. Their website changed to pink. Everything they did was pink, pink, pink. Wrapping themselves in what I would call, if you will, a cloak of legitimacy in an effort to gain credibility.” Planned Parenthood routinely through its political advocacy organization endorses pro-abortion pro-Planned Parenthood candidates, including Barack Obama. How is that not a violation of campaign finance and IRS (c)4 rules?” Handel asked. “I would ask you this, if the NRA [National Rifle Association], if FRC, through its (c)4 was out blatantly campaigning for a particular individual or a particular candidate, don’t you think the wrath of the DOJ and the IRS would be raining down on you? I would guess it would be.”
The latest filings from Karl Rove’s American Crossroads show a last minute contribution of $1 million received just days before the election (10/29/12) from Gary Heavin — the co-founder of Curves International Inc., which calls itself “the world’s leader in women’s fitness.”
Curves, a chain of women-only fitness center franchises, claims nearly 10,000 locations in more than 85 countries. Heavin and his fellow co-founder, his wife Diane, sold Curves International to an private equity firm in October, but they remain prominently featured on the company’s website. The Heavins say they “share a passion for and commitment to women’s health and fitness.” But his massive donation to the right-wing super PAC is only the latest in a long pattern of their efforts
in support of policies that undermine women’s equality in the workplace and restrict women’s access to health care services.
American Crossroads spent $91 million to elect Mitt Romney over President Obama. Romney refused to endorse key pro-women legislation including the bipartisan Violence Against Women Act, the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, and the Paycheck Fairness Act, but backed reinstating the “global gag rule” on even discussing abortion as a family planning option and supported the infamous Blunt Amendment to allow employers to deny health benefits that go against their personal views. Crossroads also worked to help far-right extremists like Todd Akin, Richard Mourdock, and George Allen. Much of the American Crossroads attack strategy focused on criticizing Obamacare and those who backed the effort to expand health insurance access to all Americans.
And this past election isn’t the only time that Curves and the Heavins have worked against women’s reproductive rights. Gary Heavin pledged hundreds of thousands of dollars for controversial “pregnancy crisis centers” that try to talk women out of abortions and have been accused to providing false information. They also made large donations to abstinence-only education programs — programs which often misinform and make teens more likely to engage in risky behavior and become pregnant. Curves also pulled its funding for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation over its objection to the charity’s funding for Planned Parenthood’s breast cancer screening services. In a 2004 editorial, Mr. Heavin attacked Planned Parenthood’s sex education literature, writing “I have a 10-year-old daughter. I would absolutely not allow her to be exposed to this material. I don’t want her being taught masturbation and told that homosexuality is normal.”
That anti-choice and anti-LGBT stance was further demonstrated when Curves partnered with the American Family Association — a group that has been identified by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a “hate group.”Gary Heavin has also been an outspoken enthusiast for televangelist Pat Robertson, who has blamed natural disasters on same-sex marriage equality and blamed 9/11 on abortion, the separation of church and state, and civil liberties groups.
Atlanta Archdiocese: Donations to Komen charity ‘constitute a direct cooperation with evil’ | The Raw Story
The Archdiocese of Atlanta has told Roman Catholic organizations in the region to cut off their support for the Susan G. Komen breast cancer charity because it provides grants to Planned Parenthood. “Until recently, donations to the greater Atlanta affiliate of the Komen fund did not constitute a…
Karen Handel, the former Susan G. Komen executive who spearheaded the effort to stop sending breast cancer screening grants to Planned Parenthood, alleges in her new memoir that Komen’s decision was “so nonpolitical” that the charity was unprepared for Planned Parenthood’s “vicious mugging” in response.
Handel’s book, entitled Planned Bullyhoodand scheduled for release on September 11, paints Planned Parenthood and its president, Cecile Richards, as “a bunch of schoolyard thugs,” The Daily Beast reports. In the book, Handel insists that the decision to defund the family planning provider was about money, not abortion. Komen was trying to restructure its grant program to cut out what Komen President Liz Thompson has referred to as “crappy grants” — grants to organizations like Planned Parenthood that do not directly provide mammograms, Handel says. (Planned Parenthood provides physical breast exams and mammogram referrals.)
Komen was also under pressure from the Catholic Bishops to cut off grants to Planned Parenthood because it offers abortions, Handel writes, and she was hired to come up with the least politically conspicuous way to pull the organization’s grant. Because Handel was an outspoken anti-abortion candidate for governor of Georgia in 2010, she says, the media assumed the decision was based on her personal abortion stance.
The backlash against Komen was significant: numerous progressive advocacy organizations, members of Congress, members of the public and some of Komen’s own affiliates denounced the decision and pressured Komen to fire its board and top executives.
Handel blames the negative portrayal of her entirely on Planned Parenthood.
"It’s clear that Planned Parenthood went out of its way to paint me as some sort of a zealot—a Trojan-horse zealot who came into Komen and within 10 to 11 months had completely turned the place upside down," she writes in the memoir. "That’s clearly not who I am and it’s not what happened."
Eric Ferrero, vice president of communications for Planned Parenthood, said he would not comment on the specifics of the book, but lamented that Handel continues to “inject politics into breast cancer detection.”
This is some fantastic news.
Republican Rep. Cliff Stearns (FL-03) just lost to Ted Yoho in a primary Stearns apparently didn’t feel he needed to bother trying to, you know, win.
You remember Stearns, don’t you? He’s the House Republican who believes in taxpayer-funded contraception for horses but not women.
He’s also the rotten son of a bitch wholaunched an “investigation” into Planned Parenthood, “requesting reams of financial information and details on how the women’s health organization keeps federal funds separate from abortion services,” because Republicans hate women’s health care sooooo much that they convinced themselves Planned Parenthood, the largest provider of women’s health care, must be up to no good. Stearns had no actual evidence of wrongdoing, and thus far, he hasn’t found any. Because there is nothing to find.
The Associated Press reports that Komen Foundation vice-President Karen Handel has quit the cancer charity.
As soon as news broke a week ago that the organization would cease to fund Planned Parenthood, media reports centered on the former politician as a potential source for the decision. Handel, who was hired in April of 2011 after an unsuccessful run for Governor of Georgia, had campaigned saying she would cut state money to Planned Parenthood. A report from the Huffington Post Monday cited sources within Susan G. Komen for the Cure naming Handel as the force behind the decision to cut funding to Planned Parenthood.
Handel’s resignation came in a letter delivered to Komen officials Tuesday morning.
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
h/t: Pema Levy at TPM
On today’s edition of This Week with George Stephanopoulos on ABC, discredited mammoth liar from KFTK, CNN “Contributor”, and Big Journalism EIC Dana Loesch was on to lie about everything under the sun, including the Komen/Planned Parenthood controversy. BTW, Planned Parenthood is NOT primarily an “abortion mill”, despite the anti-choice lobby says.
The other panelists on the roundtable were This Week regular, Newsweek and Washington Post writer, and conservative George Will, Huffington Post/AOL Media’s Arianna Huffington, and former Bush/Cheney consultant and Democrat-turned-Republican Matthew Dowd.STEPHANOPOULOS: Upcoming HBO movie on the 2008 campaign, “Game Change.” This film still being written this year in the primaries and the caucuses. I’m joined, as always, on our roundtable by George Will, Arianna Huffington, the editor-in-chief of the Huffington Media Group, Dana Loesch, the editor of BigJournalism.com, also conservative talk radio show host, and Matthew Dowd, our ABC News political analyst.And let’s begin with the big events on the Republican side this week, George. You had Florida, big win for Mitt Romney, and he follows it up with another one in Nevada last night. Seems like the inevitable nominee.WILL: He is I think the inevitable nominee, but in Florida, turnout was down 14 percent over 2008. Granted, in 2008 there was a ballot initiative that may have pumped up — still, enthusiasm seems to be down.In Nevada, where it’s really ground zero for the pain of the economic downturn, you would have thought enthusiasm for the Republicans would be up, down again there.The Romney people have always said, we’re not counting on enthusiasm to produce winning, we’re counting on winning to produce enthusiasm, and I don’t see that happening yet. Now, he’s — the second-place candidate, Newt Gingrich, has no debate, which is his strength, until February 22nd. In the South, he’s already lost the biggest southern state in Florida. He’s not even on the ballot in his adopted home state of Virginia. I think this is over.STEPHANOPOULOS: Yet, Dana Loesch, he says he’s going to continue to go on. There were some rumors last night that he might get out of Nevada. He called a press conference I think at 11:15 at night to say, no, I am staying in. Also didn’t take the advice of a lot of people to, if you’re going to stay in, go positive. He was tough again on Mitt Romney last night.LOESCH: Yeah, I was a little bit little shocked at the tone of his address last night, especially when contrasted with Romney’s very positive speech and Rick Santorum’s very positive speech. It was — whoever gave him that advice is horrible. He should — he should have stopped talking at one point.But I hope that it remains diversified at least until Tampa. I think it’s — I’ve kind of gone back and forth over this. At one point, I wanted all of the non-Romneys except for one to get out so all of the support could coalesce around that particular candidate and they could — because when you look at New Hampshire, when you look at Iowa, and especially when you look at the results of Florida, all of the votes for the non-Romneys, for Ron Paul, for Rick Santorum, for Newt Gingrich beat the votes that Mitt Romney was receiving.So I think there is a chance, when you talk about having someone coalesce around the non-Romney candidate, but at the same time, I don’t know if that’s — that’s just presupposing that that support would go that way.STEPHANOPOULOS: In Nevada, where you saw him start to get support, Romney, among Tea Party voters, among very conservative voters.DOWD: Yeah, absolutely. He was getting it across the board, and I know the Newt Gingrich folks like to say, well, it was a heavy Mormon population. You take out the Mormon population, he still wins the race by 16 points, so it was an unbelievable victory.I was thinking about this, having watched Newt Gingrich’s response yesterday, which I totally agree with where he was going with this. Who would have guessed that the gold standard, decriminalize drugs alternative was the rational alternative…STEPHANOPOULOS: Ron Paul.DOWD: … candidate to Mitt Romney in this race? To me, watching Newt Gingrich — you know, he says he has this 45-state strategy or this 46-state strategy, he’s going to go all the way to Tampa. I think he needs a five-state strategy, based on Elizabeth Kubler’s Ross stages of grief, because last week he was in denial, this week he seems to be in anger. He’s probably going to go to bargaining next, then depression. He’s finally going to get to the state of acceptance.He has to — what he did yesterday only shot himself in the foot. I think Mitt Romney continues to wrap this up. By the time we get to the end of February, he’ll have won five or six in a row.STEPHANOPOULOS: And, Arianna, I was talking to some people in the Romney campaign this week who are so snake-bit by Newt Gingrich, they want to keep the pressure on, they want to keep going after him when they have to. On the other hand, you finally did see Romney last night put all his attention on President Obama. He seemed to believe he had wrapped this up.HUFFINGTON: Yes, and something happened last night, George. You know, if you look at all these months, there were so many Republicans absolutely focused on anyone but Romney. And last night, you saw that shift, and you had almost that feeling, “OK, Romney,” of kind of reconciling themselves with the inevitable that he will be their nominee. But the speech that Romney gave last night is not a general election speech.STEPHANOPOULOS: You didn’t think so?HUFFINGTON: So I wonder at what point he’s going to pivot. I mean, to say, “I’m the American candidate,” to say I want a military that is so powerful that no one can challenge us, nobody believes that. To say basically he can balance the budget without any tax hikes…(CROSSTALK)STEPHANOPOULOS: … most people wanted a military that — that no one can challenge?HUFFINGTON: Meaning that nobody can challenge America ever because the military is going to be so powerful, it makes you long for Ron Paul, talking about, you know, Iraq being the unnecessary war based on false assessments and lies. You know, this whole bluster is not going to work in a general election. You see it with independents. Independents are not going for Romney.STEPHANOPOULOS: His unfavorable rating has gone up among independents, among all voters, George.WILL: Exactly, because there’s a cost to this kind of campaigning, which is why he ought to stop it as soon as he can. But beyond that, he won two events this week, but he may have lost the narrative of his campaign, which was the economy’s horrible and only I can fix it. Now, he’s been running on his resume, on his previous career. That may not work.Foreign policy, I mean, the American people hear we’re winding down Afghanistan, they say, “Great.” They cut the defense budget, and some conservatives say that means we can’t intervene as much as we have in the past. People say, “Wonderful.”We’re drawing, what, 7,000 troops out of Europe, out of 80,000 there, 65 years after V-E Day? I mean, the whole Republican narrative since McGovern was nominated in 1972 has been, “We’re the party to trust on national security,” and I don’t see the big difference anymore.DOWD: To me, that’s a huge — what’s a big huge change that’s happened in this race is what’s happened on unemployment this month and the jobs that we’re at, is the conversation you just had, and it’s beginning to show positive signs. If that continues, and it — we’ll probably start seeing a change in approval numbers, we’ll probably start seeing a drop in wrong track numbers. We’ll probably start seeing that start to happen.And when that happens, Mitt Romney is going to have to make a very difficult choice in this, because it’s been all negative Barack Obama, no positive, and then the American public is going to start saying, well, it’s starting to move, starting to move.To me, Mitt Romney feels like he’s snake-bit or the curse of the Bambino, which is this old thing that happened to the Red Sox fell on him. So in 2007, Mitt Romney runs as a social conservative when people wanted sort of an economic outsider message. He didn’t do that; he loses the nomination process. Now he’s about to win the nomination process against what he thought was an incredibly vulnerable president who now could turn out to be not so vulnerable.STEPHANOPOULOS: And, Dana, you were just talking about how conservatives continue — you want them to continue to put pressure on Romney through this nomination fight, but doesn’t that make it harder for him to do what he needs to do in the general election and grab more of the center?LOESCH: Not necessarily, because I don’t think watered-down conservatism has very much worked in the general elections. And I don’t think that Romney’s really lost it yet on the economy, in terms of proving a disparity between President Obama and himself, especially when you consider — just, what, in November of 2011, we’ve lost 300,000 — 300,000 — over 300,000 jobs, which is more than the jobs that we’ve gained, these past job numbers.STEPHANOPOULOS: But the trend is what matters in an election year, isn’t it?LOESCH: Yeah, but we’ve still lost 1.2 million people from the workforce. It’s a 30-year low. But…HUFFINGTON: The problem is that he could actually run an economic populist message. He could focus on the things that are still not working, the fact that…STEPHANOPOULOS: Like Trump?HUFFINGTON: No, he’s — not with Trump, but, you know, that was another…(CROSSTALK)DOWD: Or with myself.(CROSSTALK)DOWD: … multimillionaire to run an economic populist message.(CROSSTALK)HUFFINGTON: Actually, I wonder if Trump looks in the mirror today and looked at the Nevada results and said, “I’m a kingmaker. I did it.” But seriously…(CROSSTALK)DOWD: If he didn’t look in the mirror, that would be news.HUFFINGTON: I wouldn’t put it past him. But, seriously, he could actually look at the fact that we now have long-term unemployment at unprecedented heights. You know, we have…STEPHANOPOULOS: Almost half the unemployed.HUFFINGTON: Almost half the unemployed, 5.5 million people. He could focus on the fact that youth unemployment is still astronomically high, 23 percent among 16-year-olds to 19-year-olds. Are we concerned that the unemployed young can become unemployable?He’s already focusing on the fact that we have 3 million to 5 million people too discouraged to look for work. So he could play on that message, but then he doesn’t have any answers, he doesn’t have any solutions. They’re probably going to be against extending unemployment benefits, which expire on February 29…STEPHANOPOULOS: Let’s take that question, George Will, you know, because the president — Governor Romney is getting a lot of advice from the Wall Street Journal editorial page and others saying he’s going to have to big on issues like taxes, come out with a brand-new economic plan. Smart?WILL: I think it is, because, again, he can’t run on a record saying, “I know how to create jobs and no one else does.” At this point, George, in 1984, when Reagan was gearing up for his re-election campaign, unemployment had fallen from 10.8 percent to 8 percent. It kept falling to 7.4 percent, and he carried 49 states. As you say, it is the trend.STEPHANOPOULOS: But the big difference, Matthew Dowd, from 1984 and Reagan is that there was a lot of pent-up demand in the economy…(CROSSTALK)STEPHANOPOULOS: … the economy was fueled by housing…(CROSSTALK)WILL: But the economy was growing at 8 percent…(CROSSTALK)DOWD: But I think there’s another big difference. And I think that time will tell about how much this will really impact his numbers, as I say, because he’s got to change the wrong — Barack Obama has got to change the wrong direction. He’s got to change his job approval in order to get re-elected. That may happen, and we may see that happen.But the huge difference that I see, there’s still this gulf between jobs getting created and people feeling like the country is going in the right direction and they feel it. There has not been a rise in 2010 dollars in per capita income in 10 years, in 10 years, through the entire Barack Obama presidency and the Bush presidency.STEPHANOPOULOS: Which is why…(CROSSTALK)STEPHANOPOULOS: … want to throw whoever’s in out.DOWD: And so during Reagan’s rise and Clinton’s rise, people felt it. Jobs got added, and their income went up, and they felt like they could spend more money. People haven’t felt that in 10 years.STEPHANOPOULOS: And, meanwhile, we’re also seeing a lot more focus, again, with all this talk on the economy, we’re also starting to see focus on social issues this week on at least two major fronts.I want to start out with this whole controversy over the Susan G. Komen breast cancer foundation. They took away their funding from Planned Parenthood. Huge backlash created online by the supporters of Planned Parenthood. It turned — and also the president of Planned Parenthood came out and said this.(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)RICHARDS: This is a relationship we’ve had for many years. It came as a total shock and a real disappointment. We provide more than 700,000 breast exams every single year, and we’ve been very proud of our relationship with the Komen Foundation.(END VIDEO CLIP)STEPHANOPOULOS: By the end of the week, Dana Loesch, the Komen Foundation reversed it, said they are open again to providing money to Planned Parenthood, which created a lot of concern among those who are anti-abortion.LOESCH: Yes. Well, when you consider the amount of money that Planned Parenthood — or that Komen donated to Planned Parenthood and the amount of accessibility that Komen funded, it’s really not a lot. I think it’s something around 800,000 screenings that Planned Parenthood either provided referrals to or — they either provided referrals to mammograms to different clinics that actually are licensed to do mammographies and own mammography machines or they do the most basic of basic screenings. They did 800,000 of those usually about a year.Now, Komen funds 34,000 of those, so that’s like 4.25 percent. That’s like nothing. If they can’t afford to Planned Parenthood by themselves pay for less than 5 percent of the breast cancer screenings, then they can…(CROSSTALK)STEPHANOPOULOS: But that’s not what this was about.HUFFINGTON: No, absolutely not. But what we saw here is social media at work. It was really extraordinary. Planned Parenthood has now raised over $3 million, and…WILL: Five times what was at stake in the Komen…(CROSSTALK)HUFFINGTON: Yes, five times what was at stake. But what was fascinating was that it was very clear, this is a beyond left and right issue. This was about women’s health. This was an attempt to politicize it.By the change in leadership at the Komen Foundation, including Karen Handel, who ran for governor of Georgia on the platform of the life — the pro-life platform and against Planned Parenthood. So the attempt to politicize this issue backfired, and people said this is not a left-right issue.STEPHANOPOULOS: You’re shaking your head.(CROSSTALK)WILL: This is not about women’s health. This is about providing 300,000 abortions a year. They — Planned Parenthood cleverly cast this to say we are in the mammogram business. They’re not in the mammogram business. They’re in the referral of mammograms.This showed two extraordinary things, George. First, the American left cares about ending wars and they care about poverty and they care about the environment. What they really care about, when they’re not perfunctory, is when you touch abortion, and historians will marvel that American liberalism in the first part of the 21st century is defined as defense of abortion. Furthermore…(CROSSTALK)WILL: Second — wait just a — just a moment. Second, all these people describing themselves as pro-choice said it is illegitimate to choose not to be involved in abortion. And a much more important decision politically that was taken this week was the Obama administration saying that Catholic institutions have no choice — and this was applauded by pro-choice people — have no choice but to provide contraception, abortion-inducing drugs, and sterilization.STEPHANOPOULOS: I do want to get to that, as well. First respond to the Komen, and then let’s get to that other issue.HUFFINGTON: Well, first of all, this is (inaudible) presenting this as a left-right issue, to say that…WILL: I didn’t do that.HUFFINGTON: To say that the people who raised money, who signed petitions were on the left and that didn’t care about breast cancer, that it didn’t care about prevention is absurd. And if you look at what Planned Parenthood does, an enormous amount of what it does is about prevention.And what it showed, this whole campaign that was generated by people, by social media this week, showed the new power of that, to actually reverse decisions very, very quickly.LOESCH: They hacked their — their website. They hacked Planned Parenthood’s website. They bullied them on Facebook. I mean, that’s definitely — that’s a new media strategy.(CROSSTALK)DOWD: I think that this demonstrates — to me demonstrates the corrupt nature that’s happened in politics has now bled into the privates, but (inaudible) view as the private sector, which is…STEPHANOPOULOS: What do you mean by that?DOWD: That there is now — a private foundation can give and dispense money any way it wants. It can choose to give money — people could have said when they first gave the money to Planned Parenthood, was that a good idea? Nobody sort of screamed and yelled. But all of a sudden they say we’re going to take $700,000 back of private donations, which most people that gave money to Susan Komen Foundation had no idea they were going to go to — be going to Planned Parenthood.And so now what we see in Congress, this bitter response any time somebody does something, everybody screams and yell. Whether or not Congress should be investigating Planned Parenthood we can have an argument over. I don’t think they should be in the middle of that. But I don’t think Planned…(CROSSTALK)STEPHANOPOULOS: … who say this is democracy at work…(CROSSTALK)DOWD: I think this is a — this is a corrupt, poisonous part of democracy at work. I think foundations should be able to make a decision, and if Planned Parenthood wants to go out and raise the money…(CROSSTALK)HUFFINGTON: Well, they can make a decision. Nobody stopped them. There’s no legal enforcement on what the Komen Foundation is going to do. They reversed the decision in an incredibly disingenuous way, saying that the reason they had withdrawn the funding was because Planned Parenthood was under investigation. Well, right now, the Hershey Foundation has $7.5 million from the Komen Foundation. It’s attached to the Penn State University, which is under investigation. They haven’t touched that money.LOESCH: Two quick points. First, Planned Parenthood was under congressional inquiry because of underage girls going into Planned Parenthood…STEPHANOPOULOS: Where they were providing abortion services.LOESCH: … and they were alleged to hide statutory rape. The second issue is that, on average, the Komen Foundation would give a little over $500,000 to Planned Parenthood. That was less than Cecile Richards’ paycheck from Planned Parenthood.Now, you would think at some point in the past — it’s been a year to the date since Live Action called Planned Parenthood clinics in 27 different states to ask whether or not they had mammography machines. You would think that at that point — they’d had a year — Planned Parenthood would invest in obtaining licenses to operate and own mammography machines and give mammograms so they could have avoided this whole thing.STEPHANOPOULOS: Let’s get to the issue that George Will raised, as well. The president under his health care plan saying the Catholic hospitals and other institutions have to provide insurance policies that cover contraception, drew a sharp response from House Speaker Boehner.(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)BOEHNER: This mandate violates our Constitution. I think it violates the rights of these religious organizations. And I would hope that the administration would — would back up and take another look at this.(END VIDEO CLIP)STEPHANOPOULOS: And, Arianna, even some of the president’s prominent Catholic liberal supporters said he went too far here.HUFFINGTON: Well, actually what the White House has said is that they have a year in which to work with Catholic institutions to find ways in which they can provide contraception for their employees, many of whom are not Catholic, and they have a year during which to work that out. The churches are not going to be affected. We’re talking about Catholic hospitals that employ a lot of non-Catholics.DOWD: One disclosure. I’m on the board of a Catholic hospital in Austin, Texas, so with that being said, one of every six people in this country go get their medical care at a Catholic hospital. And I think what most people feel like is, when that — they’re on the front lines, they’re not making money, there are nonprofits that are doing all this stuff, to be able to be put in the position of the federal government where they basically have to now decide what they’re going to do about that, whether they’re going to have to, you know, receive money, provide services on all that kind of stuff, I think was a — not only a huge political mistake, but I think it was a huge substantive mistake, toward a system that basically provides most of the health care in this country, which are Catholic institutions, which came to this country before anybody else did and provided those things, for the administration to do that I just think is a bad decision if they want to provide health care for America.WILL: On the political side, in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio, particularly, there are lots of blue-collar Catholics who hear this as more bullying. The dialectic in this country goes like this. You declare a right. You have a right to abortion, contraception, fine. Then you say, well, we have a right, it has to be subsidized by the federal government. And then institutions that don’t conform to our values have to be bullied into it, and this all in the name of choice. It’s an astonished Orwellian piece of rhetoric.STEPHANOPOULOS: Arianna, I know that some believe — and in the president’s campaign — believe that this will end up actually working for the president. Taking George’s point, they think that that’s an old view of the Catholic voter and that, secondly, the Republican Party has put itself too far outside of the mainstream on these social issues.HUFFINGTON: Well, yes. First of all, we’re talking about contraception. We’re not talking about abortion. And we are talking about the fact that so many of the employees of Catholic institutions are not Catholic. So this is (inaudible) another basic right. And the fact that, again, this is politicized is taking us away from the major issues we should be debating right now.WILL: Excuse me. Is it — why isn’t it politicizing abortion when Komen decides to subsidize Planned Parenthood, which is in the abortion business, but politicizing it when you withdraw that money?HUFFINGTON: Well, right now, they’re making a decision, which they claim was based on the fact that they misrepresented a decision at the beginning. You know, this is — the Komen Foundation is coming out of it worse than anybody. They mishandled it completely.DOWD: And I don’t think it’s about whether or not Catholics believe in abortion, whether or not they believe in choice, or whether or not — that’s not what this is about. I think what — just what George said. I think people that run these institutions and are in these services think, and that is, why is the federal government doing this, when we’re providing all this care, doing all this stuff — why is big government getting involved in our business, which we know what to do?STEPHANOPOULOS: Newt Gingrich put a finer point on it last night, said it’s part of a war by President Obama on religious liberty.LOESCH: Well, there’s a lack of choice. It’s a stunning display of irony when you look at all of this. For instance, Komen is excoriated over their choice — the private charity to do what they want with their money. And here you have the government now saying that you don’t have a choice to be able to practice your religious liberty and these institutions have to comply with this particular mandate that goes against their freedom and liberty. So it’s irony.STEPHANOPOULOS: OK. It is Super Bowl Sunday. Before we leave, I want to get everybody’s predictions. But, George, first…(CROSSTALK)STEPHANOPOULOS: … I know you’re not always the biggest fan of the Super Bowl.WILL: Football is a mistake. It just is. It combines two of the…STEPHANOPOULOS: On Super Bowl Sunday.WILL: … it combines two of the worst…DOWD: Seventy million people are going to make a mistake and watch the game?STEPHANOPOULOS: A hundred and twenty, I think.(LAUGHTER)(CROSSTALK)WILL: This is the second-highest calorie day in American life, second only to Thanksgiving, and people are betting and eating, is what they’re doing today. Football, as I say, combines violence punctuated by committee meetings called huddles. It just replicates the worst aspect of American life. That said, when it’s over, pitchers and catchers report in two weeks, and we can go back to reading the newspapers.You want a prediction?STEPHANOPOULOS: I want a prediction.WILL: I usually root for the team whose victory would make the most liberals unhappy.(LAUGHTER)Boston and New York, I don’t know how to choose. So I’ll say probably Boston has a higher concentration, so I’m for the Giants.STEPHANOPOULOS: Giants. All right, he’s going to go for the Giants. Matthew Dowd?DOWD: I’m a — I’m a Detroit Lion fan. They’re not in the playoffs, but I’m — so I’ll root for the NFC team which is the Giants. I think they win by seven. I only pick seven because I think if the unemployment number has a seven in front of it, Barack Obama’s re-elected.STEPHANOPOULOS: And if it doesn’t — I think that’s a pretty safe bet, actually, if it gets down to seven. Not a lot of predictions for that today. Dana Loesch?LOESCH: Well, I’m from St. Louis, so we are the home of the Rams, and we’re not allowed to like football. So that’s — well, I feel…STEPHANOPOULOS: The whole middle of the country is being left out this year.LOESCH: Well, you know, I’ve — I’ve been sulking through the entire season, so I feel really bitter today. But I get it. You know, we’ve had two great World Series, you know, whatever, but it would be nice to have a good — a football team that has as much success as the two teams playing today.But they’re two Northeastern teams, so I’m mad and I’m bitter about it. If you wanted to make people mad, you could shamelessly say, I’m supporting the Patriots because Patriots. So Giants I think will win.STEPHANOPOULOS: OK. Giants again.HUFFINGTON: Well, first of all, I predict that there will be a car company (ph) commercial that somebody is going to find offensive. And…STEPHANOPOULOS: That is for sure.HUFFINGTON: … and that half the people are going to find the show — the half-game show disappointing. And I do predict the Giants. And, OK, I’m going to read to you a whole prediction that our sports editor gave us.STEPHANOPOULOS: Uh-oh. We have 10 seconds.HUFFINGTON: I don’t understand it, but here it is, 24-21 with a field goal, that it will be a close game, decided by whatever defense can put more pressure on the opposing quarterback. I have no idea what it means.STEPHANOPOULOS: OK, but you gave it. I’m going to take the Patriots.
Dana Loesch is just another right-wing distortionist on all the issues, ranging from Planned Parenthood to Abortion, to the 2012 Presidential Elections, and a whole other host of things.
When Susan G. Komen for the Cure announced on Tuesday that it would end funding for Planned Parenthood, anti-abortion activists, who had complained about Komen’s ties to Planned Parenthood for years, were delighted. Tony Perkins, the president of the socially conservative Family Research Council, applauded tha anti-cancer group for “putting women’s health first rather than fund the nation’s largest abortion provider.” Unfortunately for Planned Parenthood’s foes, Komen’s move led to a national outcry, and on Friday, Komen began towalk back its decision to cut off funds.
But Komen isn’t the only apparently apolitical organization experiencing pressure to break ties to Planned Parenthood. While reporting Thursday’s story on the right-wing boycott of Girl Scout cookies because of a Colorado council that allowed a transgender seven-year-old to join a troop, I learned that conservatives’ biggest complaint with the Girl Scouts is the organization’s ties to Planned Parenthood. Sure, inclusion of a transgender girl has some people up in arms. But the Girl Scouts’ supposed association with what Cathy Ruse, a blogger for the Family Research Council, described to me as “the biggest abortion business in the US” is the religious right’s main beef with the 100-year-old girls’ leadership organization.
The actual connection between Girl Scouts and Planned Parenthood is tenuous at best. Just as the Girl Scouts maintain that ”sexual orientation is a private matter for girls and their families to address,” the group also refuses to weigh in onabortion or birth control. That means regional Girl Scout groups get to do pretty much what they want. Although some regional Girl Scout councils have partnered with a sex-education programhosted by local Planned Parenthood branches, a local leader in Chattanooga chose to sponsor abstinence-oriented activities instead. These sorts of choices aren’t within the jurisdiction of the national organization, which besides merchandising, PR and marketing, developing programming, and commissioning research about the nature of girlhood, develops ideologically flexible messaging about “empowerment,” “paths to success,” and reaching one’s full potential.
None of these facts have stemmed the flood of criticism from social conservative groups. It seems to have started in 2004, when Pro-Life Waco, a Texas group that opposes abortion rights, organized a boycott of Girl Scout cookies after the scouts endorsed a summer sex-education workshop sponsored by Planned Parenthood.
The local fight sparked a nationwide controversy, and Kathy Cloninger, then the CEO of Girl Scouts USA, took to NBC’s Today Show to face off against John Pisciotta, the co-director of Pro-Life Waco. “We partner with many organizations,” Cloninger said. “We have relationships with our church communities, with YWCAs, and with Planned Parenthood organizations across the country to bring information based sex-education programs to girls.” Pisciotta wasn’t convinced.
After the Today Show appearance, abortion foes’ war on the Girl Scouts only intensified.
HonestGirlScouts.org, a website that has served as a clearing house for many of the anti-Girl Scouts efforts and encourages a boycott of the organization, offers a timeline of the Girl Scouts’ “History with Planned Parenthood, the United Nations, Radicals & More.” A Facebook page called “Make the Girl Scouts Clean Again" aims to "separate the Girl Scouts from radical feminism in general and Planned Parenthood in particular." Just this Wednesday, Austin and Cathy Ruse of the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute told the Christian Post that they’re calling for another public boycott over the Girl Scouts’ ties to Planned Parenthood, and asking people to “forgo the Thin Mints this year because of the far-left sociopolitical agenda pushed by Girl Scouts HQ.” The Family Research Council has labelled the Girl Scouts an “aggressively pro-abortion" group.
The campaign against the Girl Scouts has powerful echoes of the right’s years-long and ultimately successful effort to force Komen to defund Planned Parenthood. Komen has clear ties to powerful conservatives and its founder and CEO, Nancy Brinker, was a Bush administration official. But that didn’t stop the group from becoming a target of right-wing outrage.
But now that Komen has distanced itself from Planned Parenthood, could the Girl Scouts be forced to do the same?
And I really didn’t need to know this to consider Komen Senior VP Karen Handel a thoroughly loathsome human being (the retweet said volumes in just a few characters) but John Aravosis has dug up Handel’s bigoted, Christian fundamentalist views on LGBT people from less than two years ago, though they read as though they are from the 1960s.
First, I want to say though I anticipate never having to confront the dilemma of an unwanted pregnancy myself, I unequivocally stand by a woman’s right to make her own reproductive choices, and against this insane environment that is demonizing Planned Parenthood.
In fact, the first night I heard about it I was so enraged I, like so many others, burned up my Twitter feed yelling at @komenforthecure and retweeting anyone who, like me, was equally outraged at this outrageously stupid decision.
I was so enraged—and I am not making this up—a New York Times reporter contacted me to talk about grassroots pushback. Who knows? I might get quoted. I think I pointed him to more newsworthy subjects though.
Great answer, Karen. Don’t let the interviewer confuse you with what science or theAmerican Medical Association, American Academy of Pediatrics or American Psychological Association and the American Psychiatric Association have to say about the topic of gay parenting. That’s just crazy elitist scientist talk.
I am struck by the fact that campaigning for governor she “absolutely” would consider championing a ban on gay adoption, and had she been elected she “absolutely” would have been in a position to do so.
This is a policy position that can only be justified if one totally rejects all accepted scientific studies that have found no adverse, in fact, even more favorable than average outcomes for children raised in LGBT households. Nevermind all that, Handel has her Jesusy opinions and nothing will change her mind.
With such complete disregard, even contempt, for science and the expertise of child-care experts, it begs the question what guides her decision-making process relative to her position of authority on a medical charity?
Maybe in phase two of this public relations effort Handel will explain to us how all those disadvantaged women who depend on Planned Parenthood’s services can just pray the cancer away?
Aravosis says, “No self-respecting gay person should give a dime to the Race for the Cure. There are other breast cancer charities that aren’t religious right sycophants.”
I agree. Screw Komen. They have jumped into the deep end of the hard right extremist Palin pool of the GOP. To Hell with them all.
Ari Fleischer, former press secretary for George W. Bush and prominent right-wing pundit, secretly helped guide Komen Foundation’s disastrous strategy regarding Planned Parenthood. Fleischer personally interviewed candidates for the postion of “Senior Vice President for Communications and External Relations” at Komen last December. According to a source with first-hand knowedge, Fleischer drilled prospective candidates during their interviews on how they would handle the controversy about Komen’s relationship with Planned Parenthood.
Fleischer’s relationship with Komen and the Planned Parenthood controversy was previously undisclosed. Fleischer confirmed to ThinkProgress his recent role in filling key communications positions at Komen. He stressed, however, that another communications firm (Ogilvy PR) was retained by Komen to deal with the explosive controversy over the last few days.
In November, Komen advertised for a top level communications position in Roll Call. Promising applicants receieved a call from Fleischer. The advertisement is no longer posted on the Roll Call website, but a portion is accessible via Google:
According to a source, during at least one interview, Planned Parenthood was a major topic of conversation. Fleischer indicated that he had discussed the Planned Parenthood issue with Komen’s CEO, Nancy Brinker, and that she was at her wits end about how to proceed. Fleischer described himself as a longtime friend of Brinker.
Fleischer’s high-level involvement with Komen further complicates its image as an apolitical cancer charity. Fleischer is a prominent partisan commentator and a longtime critic of Planned Parenthood. In his book, Taking Heat, Fleischer criticized Planned Parenthood as a partisan, idelogolical organization that recieves undeserved positive coverage in the press. In 2001, Fleischer said that the Clinton administration verged too far to the left on family planning efforts because “if Planned Parenthood wanted it, the previous adminsitration favored it.”
The Susan G. Komen foundation announced that it will reverse its decision to cut funding for Planned Parenthood, apologizing for “recent decisions that cast doubt upon our commitment to our mission of saving women’s lives.”
The statement calls the backlash over the decision to cut the funding “unsettling,” and says that the organization will “amend the criteria to make clear that disqualifying investigations must be criminal and conclusive in nature and not political.”
“We will continue to fund existing grants,” the statement says, “including those of Planned Parenthood, and preserve their eligibility to apply for future grants, while maintaining the ability of our affiliates to make funding decisions that meet the needs of their communities.”
Cecile Richards of Planned Parenthood praised the decision in a statement Friday. “In recent weeks, the treasured relationship between the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation and Planned Parenthood has been challenged, and we are now heartened that we can continue to work in partnership toward our shared commitment to breast health for the most underserved women,” Richards said. “We are enormously grateful that the Komen Foundation has clarified its grantmaking criteria, and we look forward to continuing our partnership with Komen partners, leaders and volunteers.”
Here’s the full statement from Komen:We want to apologize to the American public for recent decisions that cast doubt upon our commitment to our mission of saving women’s lives.
The events of this week have been deeply unsettling for our supporters, partners and friends and all of us at Susan G. Komen. We have been distressed at the presumption that the changes made to our funding criteria were done for political reasons or to specifically penalize Planned Parenthood. They were not.
Our original desire was to fulfill our fiduciary duty to our donors by not funding grant applications made by organizations under investigation. We will amend the criteria to make clear that disqualifying investigations must be criminal and conclusive in nature and not political. That is what is right and fair.
Our only goal for our granting process is to support women and families in the fight against breast cancer. Amending our criteria will ensure that politics has no place in our grant process. We will continue to fund existing grants, including those of Planned Parenthood, and preserve their eligibility to apply for future grants, while maintaining the ability of our affiliates to make funding decisions that meet the needs of their communities.
It is our hope and we believe it is time for everyone involved to pause, slow down and reflect on how grants can most effectively and directly be administered without controversies that hurt the cause of women. We urge everyone who has participated in this conversation across the country over the last few days to help us move past this issue. We do not want our mission marred or affected by politics - anyone’s politics.
Starting this afternoon, we will have calls with our network and key supporters to refocus our attention on our mission and get back to doing our work. We ask for the public’s understanding and patience as we gather our Komen affiliates from around the country to determine how to move forward in the best interests of the women and people we serve.
We extend our deepest thanks for the outpouring of support we have received from so many in the past few days and we sincerely hope that these changes will be welcomed by those who have expressed their concern.
The anti-choice lobby will be mad about this.
The Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation caved to right-wing pressure and
cut ties with Planned Parenthood. Their rationale was simple: Komen had new rules preventing it from funding any organization under investigation, so a spurious congressional investigationinto Planned Parenthood led by Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL) prohibited Komen from continuing to fund breast exams through Planned Parenthood for women who otherwise wouldn’t receive them.
But now, new reporting from the Atlantic reveals that Komen adopted the new guidelines to cut off Planned Parenthood. That effort was led by Komen President Elizabeth Thompson, who knew that Planned Parenthood was the only group that would be affected by the rule, and Karen Handel, Komen’s new senior vice president for public policy.
Handel, who came on board in April, is a former secretary of state in Georgia and a Republican activist who describes herself as a “pro-life Christian.” Handel ran for governor of Georgia on an anti-abortion platform, and was endorsed by Mitt Romney and Sarah Palin. She wrote during her failed gubernatorial campaign that “since I am pro-life, I do not support the mission of Planned Parenthood.”
In December, Komen made the decision to stop supporting Planned Parenthood even though Komen’s professional staff recommended that the foundation continue to fund the organization. The decision caused an “uproar” at Komen, the Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg reports:
[T]he organization’s top public health official, Mollie Williams, resigned in protest immediately following the Komen board’s decision to cut off Planned Parenthood. Williams, who served as the managing director of community health programs, was responsible for directing the distribution of $93 million in annual grants. […]
But John Hammarley, who until recently served as Komen’s senior communications adviser and who was charged with managing the public relations aspects of Komen’s Planned Parenthood grant, said that Williams believed she could not honorably serve in her position once Komen had caved to pressure from the anti-abortion right. “Mollie is one of the most highly-respected and ethical people inside the organization, and she felt she couldn’t continue under these conditions,” Hammarley said. “The Komen board of directors are very politically savvy folks, and I think over time they thought if they gave in to the very aggressive propaganda machine of the anti-abortion groups, that the issue would go away. It seemed very short-sighted to me.”
Hammarley, who was laid off from Komen last year, said that for about a year, a small group within Komen began discussing the ramifications of cutting off funding for Planned Parenthood. “As we looked at the ramifications of ceasing all funding, we felt it would be worse from a practical standpoint, from a public relations standpoint and from a mission standpoint. The mission standpoint is, ‘How could we abandon our commitment to the screening work done by Planned Parenthood?’” he said.
In December, the Southern Baptist Convention recalled pink Bibles that it sold to raise money for breast cancer research, citing an “unacceptable link” between Komen and Planned Parenthood.