Karen Handel's Shaky Logic

Blog ››› ››› SIMON MALOY

Fresh off her resignation as vice president for public policy at Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Karen Handel headed to (where else?) Fox News for her first TV interview to give her side of the story regarding the breast cancer charity's controversial decision to cut funding to Planned Parenthood for cancer screenings.

Echoing an argument that has become popular among conservatives in the media, Handel denounced Susan G. Komen's critics and said that the private foundation's decisions on how it disburses money should be free from outside pressures. Unfortunately for her, she also stomped all over that argument when she tried to justify Komen's initial decision to cut off Planned Parenthood.

Here's the key part of the interview.

For those who can't watch the video, Handel said: "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." She returned to the argument a couple of minutes later, saying "all of us should be saddened that an outside organization will put this kind of pressure on another organization around their processes and granting and how they do it and to whom they are going to grant."

A minute later, however, Handel laid out Susan G. Komen's justifications for altering their policies to cut off Planned Parenthood, and she listed among them the fact that they had been "under pressure for some years" regarding the "controversies" surrounding Planned Parenthood:

HANDEL: I think the Congressional investigation, along with the various state investigations [of Planned Parenthood], those were a factor in the decision. 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. And it's no secret, Megyn, that Komen and other organizations that were funding Planned Parenthood had been under pressure for some years, long before my time, that had been going on -- the pressure around the controversy.

And I'm not going to get into too much on the internal aspects of things, but this organization had a right to make what it felt was the best decision for the mission. For the mission. And I think everyone can agree that if you have a grantee where there's this type of controversy surrounding it, Komen was doing its level best to move to neutral ground.

Who was the "pressure" coming from? Outside anti-abortion rights groups that sought to influence how Susan G. Komen disbursed its grant money.

So to sum up Handel's argument: We cut off Planned Parenthood's funding because outside groups were pressuring us, and how dare outside groups pressure us because we cut off Planned Parenthood's funding.

Posted In
Health Care, Reproductive Rights
Fox News Channel
America Live
Planned Parenthood
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