As Brinker Tries to Explain Komen's Split From Planned Parenthood, an Inside Account
As you know by now, locally based Susan G. Komen for the Cure has cut off its funding to Planned Parenthood, meaning it'll no longer help pay for mammograms for women who can't afford them; why, there's Nancy Brinker herself above, attempting to explain Komen's "new granting strategies" concerning its breast-health grants. (Which no one's buying.) The loss is somewhere around $600,000 annually, thanks in large part to a Florida congressman's investigation into Planned Parenthood. Komen says it has a rule about funding groups under investigation. But till now the question's been: What rule, and since when?
The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg picks up the story this morning, using several named and unnamed sources to recount how and when this happened and the resulting fall-out when Komen put a Sarah Palin pal in charge of public policy:
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.)Read the whole thing here.
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.
The decision, made in December, caused an uproar inside Komen. Three sources told me that the organization's top public health official, Mollie Williams, resigned in protest immediately following the Komen board's decision to cut off Planned Parenthood.