As you may know, yesterday Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the parent organization of the famous breast cancer "Race for the Cure," pulled hundreds of thousands of dollars in funding for breast exams for poor women at Planned Parenthood clinics, claiming it was in response to pressure from the Republicans in Congress.
But there's growing evidence that the life-saving breast exam funding, which presumably comes from the proceeds from the Race for the Cure, was killed in response to pressure from Republicans inside Komen itself.
Check out this tweet sent yesterday by Komen Senior Vice President, and self-proclaimed "Lifelong Conservative Republican," Karen Handel, who promised less than two years ago to kill funding for Planned Parenthood (several friends here in DC saw the tweet live before Handel apparently deleted it). And while Handel is simply "retweeting" something another abortion critic said, it does the beg question why she retweeted it, and then deleted it, if she didn't agree with it:
Komen, the marketing juggernaut that brought the world the ubiquitous pink ribbon campaign, says it cut-off Planned Parenthood because of a newly adopted foundation rule prohibiting it from funding any group that is under formal investigation by a government body. (Planned Parenthood is being investigated by Rep. Cliff Stearns, an anti-abortion Florida Republican, who says he is trying to learn if the group spent public money to provide abortions.)
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.
Another source directly involved with Komen's management activities told me that when the organization's leaders learned of the Stearns investigation, they saw an opportunity. "The cart came before the horse in this case," said the source, who spoke to me on condition of anonymity. "The rule was created to give the board of directors the excuse to stop the funding of Planned Parenthood. It was completely arbitrary. If they hadn't come up with this particular rule, they would have come up with something else in order to separate themselves from Planned Parenthood."In other words, according to the Atlantic story, Komen didn't have to cut off PPFA because of the investigations. Rather, Komen was fishing for excuses to cut off Planned Parenthood anyway, so they adopted the rule about "no investigations" in order to justify, and provide a smokescreen, for killing poor women's breast exams via PPFA clinics.
Why would Komen do this? Why would they concoct some elaborate scheme to hide some ulterior motive for trying to hurt Planned Parenthood, regardless of the harm it might cause to poor women with breast cancer? And how can anyone attend the Race for the Cure in the future, now that it's been alleged that it's being run, and used, a conservative Republican pro-life agenda?