I’m a bit late in posting today’s Herald column, which tackles the perfect mess The Komen Foundation made for itself when it waded into the culture wars.
So that’s it then.
Karen Handel, the failed pol and onetime “Mama Grizzly” who turned the Susan G. Komen Foundation into just another scarred combatant in the culture wars, has resigned. Now, Komen for the Cure can go back to doing what it does best: putting on pink-clad, heavily corporate sponsored foot races in major cities to raise awareness — and lots of money — for the fight against breast cancer. Except that they can’t go back.
There are some things you just can’t take back.
Komen has said it made “mistakes” in its rollout of new grant criteria that seemed mysteriously designed to sever the organization’s ties to only one partner: Planned Parenthood. But what Komen did was no mistake. Bringing an overtly political, staunchly ideological actor like Handel into the fold and blatantly targeting Planned Parenthood, the healthcare staple for millions of women, which Handel and other conservatives have routinely denounced as a virtual abortion mill, was nothing if not deliberate.
Handel had previously run for Georgia governor on a staunch conservative platform. She has publicly opposed not just abortion rights, but also contraception. After all, why should women have any means of thwarting men’s God-given power over their procreation? And she has admitted to crafting the policy that initially saw Planned Parenthood shown the door.
It’s hard to believe Komen’s leadership didn’t know the real Karen Handel when they hired her late last year. Subsequent reporting has revealed that the organization had been under pressure from the anti-choice lobby for some time. And they had been looking for a way to wriggle out of their ties to a group that has been under relentless attack from Republicans in Congress and in the states for years.
Read more here.