Democratic Party Chair Pressured Komen to Fund Planned Parenthood

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 13, 2012   |   11:06AM   |   Washington, DC

More revelations are coming out from the new book Planned Bullyhood, written by Karen Handel, the former vice president for Komen for the Cure. The latest revelation has the head of the Democratic Party pressuring Komen to fund America’s biggest abortion business.

Handel, the pro-life former Georgia Secretary of State, was involved in Komen at the time it decided to end its funding relationship with Planned Parenthood and decided to get out of the breast cancer group when it back on that decision following a massive blacklash from abortion advocates and intense media pressure.

The book makes it clear Planned Parenthood used Komen funds to pay expenses and another section of it shows how the nation’s top Democrat pressured the group to keep the funding in place.

According to the book:

Handel describes DNC chief Debbie Wasserman Schultz as a “schoolyard thug” who intimidated Nancy Brinker, the nonprofit’s president, into reinstating its $700,000 grant to the reproductive health services outfit.

The book claims the top Democrat phoned Brinker the night before news would break that Komen would eliminate its grants for Planned Parenthood. The conversation that ensued, Handel said, was “extremely ugly in its tone.”

“According to Nancy, Wasserman Schultz raised one additional issue: me,” Handel, whose new book hit the shelves Tuesday, wrote. “I wrote down precisely what Nancy said Wasserman Schultz had said: ‘How dare you hire someone who was diametrically opposed to Planned Parenthood.’”

When Brinker, who has since resigned her post at the charity she founded, rebuffed Wasserman Schultz, Handel said the pugnacious DNC chairwoman became “overbearing, if not threatening.”

“Was it appropriate for a sitting member of Congress and the head of the DNC to browbeat a private organization about its grants and who would get them?” Handel asked. “The timing of the call seemed to suggest that if Komen would just continue the Planned Parenthood grants, all would be forgiven — that if Komen got back in line, the bullies would back off.”

Following her departure from the Komen for the Cure breast cancer charity in the wake of the massive attacks waged on it by Planned Parenthood following news that it would cut its funding, Handel slammed the abortion business.

Komen initially decided in December to revise its grant-making process to funds grants to agencies that provide direct health services for women — which would eliminate Planned Parenthood since it does not do mammograms. After Planned Parenthood, Democratic members of Congress and the media pounced on Komen for its decision, Komen clarified that Planned Parenthood would still be allowed to submit grant requests but they may or may not be funded.

“I am deeply disappointed by the gross mischaracterizations of the strategy, its rationale, and my involvement in it,” Handel said in her letter. “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.”

Handel followed up that letter with various interviews, including an appearance on Fox News, where she told the news station that Planned Parenthood viciously attacked the breast cancer group.

“What was unleashed over this past week was a vicious attack against a great organization,” Handel said, noting that Komen founder Susan Brinker came under personal attacks as well. “I would think all of us should be saddened that an outside organization should put this kind of pressure on another organization.”

“The last time I checked, private non-profit organizations have a right and a responsibility to be able to set the highest standards and criteria on their own without interference, let alone the level of vicious attacks and coercion that has occurred by Planned Parenthood. It’s simply outrageous,” Handel added.

She told Fox News that political pressure from her as a former Georgia Secretary of State and Senate candidate had “absolutely” nothing to do with Komen’s decision, saying, “For Komen, for myself the mission was always foremost on our mind.”

“The only group here that has made this issue political has been Planned Parenthood,” she explained. “I clearly acknowledge that I was involved in the process, but to say I had the sole authority is simply absurd.”



Handel also said the impending Congressional investigation of Planned Parenthood for fraud, misuse of taxpayer dollars and breaking abortion laws was part of the reason for Komen’s decision along with the desire to end pass-thru grants and provide direct grants to organizations that, unlike Planned Parenthood, provide women mammograms.

“I think the Congressional investigation, along with the various state investigations, were a factor in the decision,” she said. “But make no mistake about it, it was a bigger picture than that. There was the granting criteria, as well as the controversies that were surrounding Planned Parenthood.”

Handel told Fox News the focus on her made it so she should resign.

“I was too much of a focal point,” she said. “I really felt I had a responsibility to just step aside so they could refocus on their mission. I wanted to do the right thing on my own terms, and that’s what I tried to do.”