Former Komen VP blasts “Planned Bullyhood” in new book

From the September 6th edition of The Sacramento Bee:

Criticizing major players on both sides, Karen Handel, former Susan G. Komen for the Cure vice president, has written a blistering insider’s account of the prominent cancer charity’s decision to halt grants to Planned Parenthoodand its swift retreat in the face of an intense, widespread backlash.

Titled “Planned Bullyhood” and due for publication Tuesday, the book depicts Planned Parenthood as an aggressive, partisan organization that was willing to weaken Komen to further a liberal political agenda. However, Handel – a conservative who resigned from Komen after its reversal – also assails Komen’s leadership as indecisive, timid and politically naive, and says the hasty decision to backtrack was “a terrible mistake.”

Handel was hired by Komen as vice president for public policy in April 2011 after losing a Republican gubernatorial primary in Georgia, and was given the task of figuring out how to disengage Komen from Planned Parenthood. The grants from Komen were for breast-cancer education and screening, but the charity was under increasing pressure from anti-abortion groups and religious conservatives to cut all ties with Planned Parenthood because, in addition to its other services, it is the nation’s leading provider of abortion.

Late in 2011, Komen made a final decision to halt the grants, which totaled $680,000 that year, and its president, Liz Thompson, informed Planned Parenthood’s president, Cecile Richards, of the decision in mid-December. However, the rift did not become public knowledge until Jan. 31, when the Associated Press broke the news. …

Handel says a break with Planned Parenthood had been pondered by Komen’s leaders long before she was hired, but the move became more definite during the latter half of 2011 and was approved by Komen’s board of directors in November. There was no objection from board members, but some Komen affiliates expressed dismay during a conference call in December, according to Handel.

Handel says Komen’s leaders – during December and January – were hopeful that Planned Parenthood would agree to an amicable split, and not go public with any angry reaction. However, Handel writes that she began to sense that things would end badly for Komen.

“Planned Parenthood would play the victim, accusing Komen of being bullies and succumbing to political pressure,” she writes.

Read the entire piece (ht: California Catholic Daily). That Planned Parenthood plays the innocent victim is hardly surprising as it is a standard tactic of bullies, whether on playgrounds, in corporate board rooms, or the political arena. The perverse irony, of course, is that Planned Parenthood facilitates and encourages the destruction of real victims, the most vulnerable of victims. Also worth noting in the piece is the role played by media pressure and criticism, another part of the bullying playbook. 

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About Carl E. Olson 1207 Articles
Carl E. Olson is editor of Catholic World Report and Ignatius Insight. He is the author of Did Jesus Really Rise from the Dead?, Will Catholics Be "Left Behind"?, co-editor/contributor to Called To Be the Children of God, co-author of The Da Vinci Hoax (Ignatius), and author of the "Catholicism" and "Priest Prophet King" Study Guides for Bishop Robert Barron/Word on Fire. His recent books on Lent and Advent—Praying the Our Father in Lent (2021) and Prepare the Way of the Lord (2021)—are published by Catholic Truth Society. He is also a contributor to "Our Sunday Visitor" newspaper, "The Catholic Answer" magazine, "The Imaginative Conservative", "The Catholic Herald", "National Catholic Register", "Chronicles", and other publications. Follow him on Twitter @carleolson.