Top Komen Official Quit Over Planned Parenthood Funding Cut

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 2, 2012   |   12:23PM   |   Washington, DC

One of Komen’s top officials reportedly quit in December when the nation’s biggest breast cancer charity made the decision to cut more than $600,000 in funding to the Planned Parenthood abortion business.

News about Komen’s decision surfaced publicly this week and it has prompted a firestorm of controversy — with pro-life advocates applauding Komen and abortion backers denigrating the breast cancer organization for denying funding to an abortion business that doesn’t provide mammograms and merely performs the standard breast exam women ca do on their own or get at any legitimate health center.

According to The Atlantic, the decision caused an uproar inside Komen and “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 served Komen as its managing director of community health programs and was responsible for directing $93 million in annual grants. She would not comment to The Atlantic reporter about either her decision to quit or the controversy surrounding the decision itself.

The Atlantic talked with John Hammarley, who it says worked as Komen’s senior communications adviser until recently and headed up the Komen response to the public concerning Planned Parenthood’s grants, said Williams could not serve the group any longer because she viewed it as having bowed to pressure from pro-life groups.

“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.”

“About a year ago, a small group of people got together inside the organization to talk about what the options were, what would be the ramifications of staying the course, or of telling our affiliates they can’t fund Planned Parenthood, or something in-between,” he told The Atlantic. “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?'” [related]

Hammarley was laid off because of restructuring within Komen and he said he has no ill will towards the breast cancer charity.

“This organization has saved lives and raised consciousness all over the world. It’s an extraordinarily successful story, and I couldn’t find a single bad word to say about its work. But it has had some growing pains in its politics and we see that with the Planned Parenthood story,” he said.

As LifeNews has reported, Karen Handel, who is pro-life and was named Senior VP for Komen in April 2011, is getting credit for prompting the decision by Komen to de-fund Planned Parenthood. Hammarley told the Atlantic there is truth in that assertion, saying, “The internal debate on a senior level rose in the past eight months or so, coinciding with her hiring.”

Related stories:

Komen to Stop Grants to Planned Parenthood Abortion Biz
Komen Decision to Yank Planned Parenthood Funds Not Temporary
Komen Also Stops Funding Embryonic Stem Cell Research Centers
Komen Still Doesn’t Acknowledge Abortion-Breast Cancer Link
Planned Parenthood: Komen Stopped $ Because Pro-Lifers Hate Women
New Komen Pro-Life VP Credited for Planned Parenthood Cuts