Thursday, 2 February 2012

Surprise! The Komen Kaper Was Planned

From Jeffrey Goldberg at The Atlantic we get some behind-the-scenes dirt on Komen's defunding of Planned Parenthood's breast exams program for poor people.

Surprise! It was a set-up. Komen recently instituted a rule that it would not fund organizations under any kind of 'investigation'. Well, some congressfundy was happy to oblige with a bogus demand for more documents from PP.
But three sources with direct knowledge of the Komen decision-making process told me that the rule was adopted in order to create an excuse to cut-off Planned Parenthood. (Komen gives out grants to roughly 2,000 organizations, and the new "no-investigations" rule applies to only one so far.) The decision to create a rule that would cut funding to Planned Parenthood, according to these sources, was driven by the organization's new senior vice-president for public policy, Karen Handel, a former gubernatorial candidate from Georgia who is staunchly anti-abortion and who has said that since she is "pro-life, I do not support the mission of Planned Parenthood." (The Komen grants to Planned Parenthood did not pay for abortion or contraception services, only cancer detection, according to all parties involved.) I've tried to reach Handel for comment, and will update this post if I speak with her.

The decision, made in December, caused an uproar inside Komen. Three sources told me that the 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. Williams declined to comment when I reached her yesterday on whether she had resigned her position in protest, and she declined to speak about any other aspects of the controversy.

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.

And another surprise! The Komen board went against its own staff's professional advice. In other words, the move was purely ideological, thinly -- and as it turns out totally unsuccessfully -- veiled as an 'administrative' process.

Everybody wants to talk to Fetus Lobbyist Karen Handel. She's not giving interviews but she can't STFU.
We’ve also got a frame grab of a Tweet that Handel passed along: “Just like a pro-abortion group to turn a cancer orgs decision into a political bomb to throw. Cry me a freaking river.”

The more I hear about Komen, the easier it is to detest it.

But this episode perfectly exemplifies the right-wing modus operandi: high-handed, ideological decisions, arrogantly imposed, and ineptly justified.

And Dave at The Galloping Beaver, directs us to TBogg who points out:
They had to know this movie was being released this week and yet they still issued their press release cutting ties to Planned Parenthood on Monday.

Hubris or stupidity?

You don’t have to choose just one, you know….

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