The Susan G. Komen For the Cure foundation has been receiving a lot of public backlash this week over its decision to cease support for Planned Parenthood, but it seems the move has caused a internal chaos in the organization as well.
Komen’s top public health official, Mollie Williams, resigned over the decision, a source told Jeffrey Goldberg at The Atlantic.
John Hammarley, who oversaw Komen public relations for the Planned Parenthood grant, said that Williams felt the organization “had caved to pressure from the anti-abortion right,” and that “she felt she couldn’t continue under these conditions.”
Hammarley was a victim of layoffs last year, but he told Goldberg he wasn’t holding a grudge, and said that he “couldn’t find a single bad word to say about [Komen's] work.”
“But [the organization] has had some growing pains in its politics and we see that with the Planned Parenthood story,” he added.
Komen claims the reason it decided to stop providing funds — approximately $600,000 per year — to Planned Parenthood for breast cancer screenings is because the women’s health group is under investigation by Congress. U.S. Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) launched the investigation last fall, as part of an effort to discover whether or not Planned Parenthood had used federal funds to provide abortions, which is in violation of the law. Komen’s new grant criteria states that it bars funds going to organizations under investigation by local, state or federal authorities.
In a statement given to the L.A. Times, Stearns said he had not spoken to anybody at the Komen foundation, “and this decision [to stop funds to Planned Parenthood] was solely up to them.”
Cecile Richards disagrees with Stearns, however, telling the Associated Press that the investigation is “politically motivated” and “contributed to Komen’s decision.”
“It’s hard to understand how an organization with whom we share a mission of saving women’s lives could have bowed to this kind of bullying,” Richards said.
While Komen is maintaining the stance that the new rule is general in nature, it only currently affects Planned Parenthood out of approximately 2,000 organizations that receive grants. Goldberg reports that three insider source said that the criteria was designed specifically to stop funds to Planned Parenthood, and was pushed forward by Komen’s new senior vice-president for public policy, Karen Handel.
Handel unsuccessfully ran for governor of Georgia in 2010, campaigning to be a “pro-life governor who will work tirelessly to promote a culture of life in Georgia.” She also stated on her campaign website that she does “not support the mission of Planned Parenthood.” Handel did, however, say she supported exceptions for rape and incest, and also indicated she approved of fertility treatment, with those positions costing her an endorsement from Georgia Right to Life.
Handel also re-posted a message on Twitter (since deleted) from another user which said, “Just like a pro-abortion group to turn a cancer orgs decision into a political bomb to throw. Cry me a freaking river.”
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