Your morning jolt: Did Karen Handel play a role in Komen/Planned Parenthood split?

The decision by the Susan G. Komen Foundation, the nation’s largest breast cancer advocacy group, to cut most of its ties to Planned Parenthood – made public this week — has roiled the left, cheered the right, and has many wondering why and how the split happened.

Former GOP candidate for governor Karen Handel. Hyosub Shin hshin@ajc.com

Former GOP candidate for governor Karen Handel. Hyosub Shin hshin@ajc.com

From today’s New York Times:

John D. Raffaelli, a Komen board member and Washington lobbyist, said Wednesday that the decision to cut off money to 17 of the 19 Planned Parenthood affiliates it had supported was made because of the fear that an investigation of Planned Parenthood by Representative Cliff Stearns, Republican of Florida, would damage Komen’s credibility with donors….

So the Komen board voted that all of its vendors and grantees must certify that they are not under investigation by federal, state or local authorities. But for Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider, being the target of partisan investigations is part of doing business. So Komen’s new rule effectively ended their long partnership and seemed to the health services provider an unacceptable betrayal of their common mission to save women’s lives.

But many news organizations, including the Times and the Washington Post, also point to last April’s hiring of Karen Handel, the former Republican candidate for governor, as a senior vice president for Komen. Again, from the Times:

Mr. Raffaelli disputed assertions that were widely circulated on the Web on Wednesday that the decision was made or influenced by Karen Handel, Komen’s new senior vice president for public policy, a Republican who ran for governor of Georgia in 2010.

During that campaign, Ms. Handel wrote, “Since I am pro-life, I do not support the mission of Planned Parenthood.” Ms. Handel was hired to urge state governments to spend money on breast cancer screening, and having a Republican deliver that message could help in many states, Mr. Raffaelli said.

We’ve reached out to Handel, but haven’t heard back. She makes no mention of the Komen decision on her Facebook page, but that hasn’t stopped friends from congratulating her. From one:

”I was so happy to read about the defunding of Planned Parenthood by Komen. Thank you for any part that you had in this!! I am a breast cancer survivor and I always participated in the Race for a Cure, but I was not going to this year – after hearing about the funding. Now I am very happy to be able to participate with a clear conscience, knowing that the money I collect will not be going to Planned Parenthood! Thank you again! “

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.”

***
Down in Florida, one of Newt Gingrich’s last, futile shots at Mitt Romney took the form of a robo-call targeted at Jewish voters, alleging that the former governor of Massachusetts once vetoed a Medicare bill that paid for kosher food service to nursing homes in seniors.

It failed to rally the troops. Possibly because there were few troops to rally. This note comes from Alan Abramowitz, the Emory University political scientist:

Florida is the first state with a large Jewish population to hold its primary this year and there is not much evidence from the results of any movement of Jewish voters to the GOP.

In 2008, according to exit poll data, Jews made up 9 percent of voters in the Florida Democratic primary and 3 percent of voters in the Florida Republican primary. This year, turnout in the GOP primary was down considerably overall, and Jews made up only 1 percent of the voters.

Some Jewish voters may be unhappy with [President Barack] Obama, but based on these results, they don’t seem to find the current crop of would-be Republican challengers very appealing.

***
Gov. Nathan Deal is making a special pitch to urge Georgians to make sure they don’t driver drunk. The governor appears in a 60-second TV ad scheduled to air on before the game Sunday. Deal’s office says NBC affiliates statewide are airing the commercial for free:

***
Joseph Pond of Marietta sends word that state Reps. Earl Ehrhart, R-Powder Springs; Karla Drenner, D-Atlanta; and others have introduced HB 853, a measure that would kill local government restrictions on the raising of chickens or rabbits for personal consumption on “private residential property.”

Prohibition of the animals have been the topic of legal actions in Roswell and Marietta. There’s even a website.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

For instant updates, follow me on Twitter, or connect with me on Facebook.

331 comments Add your comment

Centrist

February 2nd, 2012
10:46 am

Nothing like mixing politics and/or religion with charities to cause an uproar. I’ll still give to Susan G. Komen Foundation since it is a worthy cause either way.

Gingrich is scum – he has proved it over and over again in South Carolina and Florida. He is being ushered out of even his token contention by disgusted voters.

Darwin

February 2nd, 2012
10:47 am

No doubt there is a link. Handel is probably gearing up for another run at public office and feels this will add to her “conservative” credentials. Sad that this organization hired her. It says a lot about who they are.

Becky

February 2nd, 2012
10:53 am

Komen needs to be investigated on whether they are a true “charity”. When a staffer at Komen makes more than an oncology nurse, there is something wrong.

Will never give them another dime and am encouraging my friends to do the same. Will be sending my charity funds to Planned Parenthood. Also will be boycotting sponsors of Komen.

This is far from over.

Becky

February 2nd, 2012
10:56 am

Judging by the 3 chins on Karen in the photo above, she has been eating at the trough of pink KFC a bit too much.

jbraml

February 2nd, 2012
10:56 am

Komen has gotten the last donation from me and I will not support any one linked to Koman until the current leadership is fired. Koman should have its tax status reviewed. Breast cancer or any cancer is not something that should be politicized.

Random Reader

February 2nd, 2012
10:57 am

There are other worthy organizations that support breast cancer awareness and other womens health issues that I sincerly hope will be flooded with all of the donations that the Komen foundations no longer wants or needs…. Nice to see that they have allowed ideaology to get in the way of their “mission”…..

CobbGOPer

February 2nd, 2012
10:57 am

“Just like a pro-abortion group to turn a cancer orgs decision into a political bomb to throw. Cry me a freaking river.”

Just like an ANTI-abortion group to sabotage funding for cancer screening for low income women in order to make a political statement about the completely unrelated issue of abortion.

Honestly, if all you anti-abortion crusaders were as vigilant about fiscal and economic issues as you are about absolutely un-important ones like abortion, there wouldn’t be a single unemployed person to be found.

But because all you care about are wedge social issues, you let these slick pols spend all the taxpayer dollars they want, as long as they make at least token legislative efforts towards restricting abortion, defining marriage, keeping sinners from buying booze on Sundays, etc. Your priorities are severely out of order.

John K

February 2nd, 2012
10:58 am

So an organization with a stated goal of fighting breast cancer has teamed up with those who promote the completely discredited abortion/breast cancer link.

Yeah, that does wonders for their credibility.

Random Reader

February 2nd, 2012
11:03 am

Audited results of Planned Parenthood Budget Breakdown:
=======================================…
Cancer Screening and Prevention — 16 percent of services in 2009
Contraception — 35 percent of services in 2009
STI/STD Testing and Treatment — 35 percent of services in 2009
Other Women’s Health Services (Pregnancy test, Pre-Natal) – 10 percent of services in 2009

Abortion Services — 3 percent of services in 2009 (NON-Federal Money)

Hmmmmm….I guess Komen does not give a damn about the other 97% of things thay PP does…. Typical Right wing mentality….

mike

February 2nd, 2012
11:03 am

There are a lot of other services Planned Parenthood does for all different females. Sad to see how the ignorant politicize organizations such as this, always at the expense of others.

hl

February 2nd, 2012
11:05 am

The Komen Foundation’s top health official, Mollie Williams, resigned in protest over the decision to cut funding to Planned Parenthood. It’s nice to know that not everyone wants to politicize women’s health.
Planned Parenthood has clinics for low income in places where they are the only provider. 97% of their funds are used for programs such as breast exams, pap smear, planning families, and health care for children. Not everyone agrees with their mission and that’s fine. I chose to donate this year to planned parenthood and not the Komen Foundation.
Before someone complains about tax dollars supporting planned parenthood, guess what, I disagree with lots of places my taxes support including sports stadiums. .

Penny Lane

February 2nd, 2012
11:06 am

Wow. Talk about connections being more important than qualifications and experience.

You’d think that with unemployment at 9% and hundreds of people applying for every good job, the Susan G. Komen Foundation could have required that their new Senior VP for Public Policy had a college degree.

Handel’s post-high school education consisted of “a few courses in accounting” (her description)…..how the heck did she get this job???

B. Thenet

February 2nd, 2012
11:07 am

I really don’t see who gains from politicizing a breast cancer charity? A selfsih act by those who run Komen that is going to damage their charity from a PR and fundraising perspective.

Cherokee

February 2nd, 2012
11:09 am

The easy fix is for Planned Parenthood to spin off their women’s screening operations and try to make a deal with Komen for new grants. In other words, insulate abortions from cancer screenings. Or they can compromise and reach an agreement with Komen to only fund breast screening operations and not the greater PP operation. Or PP can find another source of funding for breast screenings. There are lots of solutions to funding screenings for low-income women and none of them involve throwing political barbs at each other. What’s done is done, they are two independent, private organizations and can work like big girls and boys and work it out.

catlady

February 2nd, 2012
11:12 am

Well, Komen lost MY support. My mother had breast cancer. It has always been a big concern. But I WON’T support Komen any more, if they are going to be dictated to by politicians.

Becky

February 2nd, 2012
11:14 am

Cherokee-you fart butterflies don’t you?

lmwilker

February 2nd, 2012
11:15 am

“This is an extremely important time to be coming back to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure family,” said Handel. “With the current status of Medicaid and state budget cuts, it is imperative that Komen leads the charge with policy makers to help ensure access to crucial breast cancer screening and treatment programs for the millions of women around the country who need them.”

From when she was appointed. How does cutting off grants that allow poor and underinsured women access to breast exams, mammograms and biopsies in any way contributing to her stated goal. I can pnly conclude Ms. Handel is nothing more than your garden variety, lying, self-serving politician. How much is she getting paid by the way?

Jim

February 2nd, 2012
11:16 am

The Komen Foundation has always had a “ladies cotillion” air about. Now they have truly shown their true colors as a “faux charity” that is more concerned with their image than helping people. Their decision could cost the lives of some untreated women, yet it was just too messy to stand up to their anti-abortion masters.

The best thing that could happen would be for these society queens to disberse their funds to true advocacy groups and just go out of bsiness. I hope they never get another dime.

kapow

February 2nd, 2012
11:21 am

As a father of 3 boys under 5, I’d like to have a word with anyone who is planning parenthood

Aquagirl

February 2nd, 2012
11:21 am

Or they can compromise and reach an agreement with Komen to only fund breast screening operations and not the greater PP operation.

Or they could tell the Komen wingnuts to f#(k right off, seeing as how that was the way things worked. It’s not like Komen sent a blank check to Planned Parenthood, these were grants specifically for breast health programs and that’s where the money went.

Relax

February 2nd, 2012
11:23 am

This pig is a typical, narrow-minded ultra-right winger who pile drives her own personal agenda at the expense of everyone else. Oh yeah, judging on her weight and unweildy body mass, she is probably traveling the same path as Paula Dean.

Ira in East Lake

February 2nd, 2012
11:26 am

Komen was founded by a right wing woman and has board members that support very right wing ideas. This shouldn’t be a surprise to us and that it is speaks very highly of the right wing’s sneakiness.

I’m surprised. I didn’t do my homework. More cash directly to PP now so that’s a good thing in my book.

Paula

February 2nd, 2012
11:27 am

The Komen foundation has lost all support for me – monetary and otherwise. This is shameful.

HR Pufnstuf

February 2nd, 2012
11:27 am

Komen lost all credibility with me by hiring Karen Handel. I won’t be buying any of these products with the pink ribbon attached either. It is disgusting to know that this organization has been strong-armed by right-wing thugs, at the expense of the public.

Centrist

February 2nd, 2012
11:28 am

Wow, this litmus test always amazes me. I’m mildly pro-choice, but it is a very minor issue with me. Blasting the Komen Foundation or Planned Parenthood according to whether the litmus paper is pink or blue is typical left/right wing ideologue knee jerk reactions. Both of these entities do mostly good things – and most people support them. Only the “wing-nuts” from BOTH ends get riled up.

Now don’t get me started on the United Way and their politics/spending. I stopped contributing to them years ago.

GaBlue

February 2nd, 2012
11:30 am

I thought Komen was a trendy designer brand for tote bags and running gear.

T-man

February 2nd, 2012
11:32 am

Planned parenthood helps women in low income areas. These woman without the means of aborting an unwanted pregnancy will without a doubt need WIC, food stamps and possibility section 8 housing. Komen’s decision will boost the entitlement needs of some Americans.
As others have said I will give my support to Planned Parenthood in hopes of keeping my taxes down. Also in support of all the other good things Planned Parenthood provides.

Lindy

February 2nd, 2012
11:32 am

Random Reader – right on!! That is what I cannot understand about the right-wingers who hate PP so much. They provide vital health services to women, and not just your stereotypical “low-income ones,” who I’m sure they couldn’t care less about. When I moved here I had pre-cancerous lesions on my cervix, an early sign of cervical cancer. Being a student and not having health insurance, I went to PP for a biopsy and follow-up care, which entailed a pap smear every six months to make sure I was okay. If PP had not been there to provide this care, what was caught early could have very well turned into full-blown cervical cancer. They were my only source of affordable health care at the time. And there are plenty of women in that position. It’s sad that some people want to focus on the 3%, not the 97%, and all that PP does to ensure women’s health. Shame on them.

yuzeyurbrane

February 2nd, 2012
11:34 am

Shame on Karen Handel for politicizing cancer prevention.

td

February 2nd, 2012
11:34 am

I did not vote for Ms. Handel but if she is really responsible for this decision then I applaud her. She has learned the lesson of the left and by the post today the left does not like a little of their own medicine. If these organizations do not support you social agenda then cut off there money. I lobby my Congressman to cut off the funding to planned parenthood every chance I get until they do away with abortion services.

Lindy

February 2nd, 2012
11:34 am

Oh, and I will never have anything to do with Komen ever again. I’m a proud supporter of Planned Parenthood!

Aquagirl

February 2nd, 2012
11:37 am

Blasting the Komen Foundation or Planned Parenthood according to whether the litmus paper is pink or blue is typical left/right wing ideologue knee jerk reactions.

We’re not talking about litmus paper, we’re talking about women not having access to breast cancer screening.

If you don’t think that’s a big deal, then I’ll just let your statement stand as a great demonstration of how to be a clueless @$$hat.

NAtlanta

February 2nd, 2012
11:40 am

Will no longer support Komen directly or companies that work with them. Plenty of other avenues available to help the cause that want and need my money.

DawginLex

February 2nd, 2012
11:42 am

Since Planned Parenthood supports killing babies through abortion and there is a proven link to breast cancer in women who have had abortions, this change makes total sense.

TBone

February 2nd, 2012
11:42 am

As I have been saying for some time; think before you pink. This pink campaign has created a socially responsible aura about it for years. In actuality it is nothing more than a mega-fundraiser for their executives and planned parenthood. Again, think before you pink.

LG

February 2nd, 2012
11:44 am

The Atlanta Two Day walk raises money for women in Atlanta. Women who can’t afford mammogram, surgery, reconstructive surgery and therapy. Next time a walker asked for a donation, give to the walkers who walk for the women in Atlanta and not an organization that takes money away from them.

td

February 2nd, 2012
11:44 am

Aquagirl

February 2nd, 2012
11:37 am

It looks like the left is going to have to choose (choice issue) about what is more important to them abortion services or breast cancer screenings? I know I would choose breast cancer screenings but hey it is not my choice.

COBBIT

February 2nd, 2012
11:45 am

I read where Nancy Brinker SGK CEO who makes $500K a year) has donated more than $170,000 to Republican candidates and has supported conservative causes for years. Then in 2010 she and SGK rewrite the rules on grants stating that they cannot be involved with groups “under investigation.” Meanwhile, Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL) was calling for an investigation of Planned Parenthood to ensure that no public funds have been spent to carry out abortions, but a hearing has yet to take place… and may not ever.

Sounds to me like collusion. He keeps this investigation in perpetual limbo so that PP remains “under investigation” and she has an excuse to deny 170,000 women breast exams because of her politics.

cc

February 2nd, 2012
11:47 am

td… Planned Parenthood was not allowed, nor did they, spend any money from SGK on abortion services or anything else unrelated to breast cancer screenings. SO they are denying hundreds of thousands of women the opportunity to get screened because of their conservative politics.

gm

February 2nd, 2012
11:47 am

Wow, this is sad, what has happend to the America I know, the right are filled with so much hate, they are willing to gamble with women lives, I meet women who lives were saved by Planned Parent, they received ealy detections
from breast cancer.
This attack on the poor by the right wing nut jobs are a disgrace to this country, and if you are a conservative rep women, shame on you, be very careful how you affect other people lives, you never know what battle you will face in the future.

Becky

February 2nd, 2012
11:48 am

I would like to thank those on here that are not taking the bait from the trolls. Just continue to ignore their ignorant statements.

I'm Just Saying...

February 2nd, 2012
11:49 am

Enter your comments here

J Throckmorton Malcontent

February 2nd, 2012
11:50 am

Georgia’s primary export these days seems to be stupidity and toxic politics. I liked it better when it was cotton & peanuts.

Bemused

February 2nd, 2012
11:52 am

Find out how the SGK Board of Directors is chosen and replace them. Problem solved. Oh yeah, and make sure they fire voter suppresionist, Karen Handel. The fact that they hired someone as vile and dishonest as she should have tipped contributors that they are not to be trusted.

Biker Chic

February 2nd, 2012
11:53 am

I refuse to give ANY money to these huge “charities”….75% of all monies go to Administrative costs, not the finding a cure.

Donate locally, and keep the money locally. BIKERS BATTLING BREAST CANCER is my charity of choice. The money is raised locally and IT STAYS LOCAL!!!!!

I'm Just Saying...

February 2nd, 2012
11:53 am

Looks like Miss Piggy, in an agregious, truly pittiful manner has pushed HER agenda and has put a lot of women at risk. Just like Romney she doesn’t care about the poor, there are ’safety nets’ for that class. What an @ss, she just took away one of those safety nets. Perhaps she can make some extra money for signing up as a spokeswoman for Jenny Craig.

Fred

February 2nd, 2012
11:55 am

I’m ammused by all the people here who state “Will no longer support Komen directly or companies that work with them” or something along those lines. While I appreciate your sentiment (I feel the same about the french) the reality is that there are to many companies that support Komen for that to even be a realistic goal.

I would venture to say that Cox media upon who’s website you just posted, supports Komen. They (Komen) have become so large and (formerly) respected that everyone did business with them. I mean they were like Mother Theresa lol. WHo could ever say anything bad about Mother Theresa?

It’s a shame that they threw all that away in order to jump on Karen Handels political band wagon. It’s a shame that Karen Handel will throw the lives of so many women away to push her political agenda. I will no longer actively support Susan G Komen. Apparently they have enough money for breast cancer awareness and have now decided to branch off into politics.

Anne

February 2nd, 2012
11:56 am

More worrisome to me is that Planned Parenthood says the Komen money was NEVER used for any abortion activities, it was ONLY used for Breast Cancer screenings and therapies.
Nobody has shown or proven that to be false. Nobody.
And now, for VERY Political and Ideological purposes; poor and frightened women, being used as political pawns, may not get the care they need and may even die because of that. Disgusting.

td

February 2nd, 2012
11:56 am

cc

February 2nd, 2012
11:47 am

Call planned parenthood and tell them they should do away with abortion services because breast screening is more important. Issue resolved.

InTownGal

February 2nd, 2012
11:56 am

I will never support Komen again. Screw them and their walks.