‘Planned Bullyhood’ book gives inside look at retreat
by David Crary, AP National Writer
September 05, 2012 12:00 AM | 499 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Karen Handel, former vice president for public policy for Susan G. Komen for the Cure breast-cancer charity, speaks during an interview in Atlanta in February. Handel has a book deal. Howard Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, announced Monday that Karen Handel’s ‘Planned Bullyhood’ will come out Tuesday.
Karen Handel, former vice president for public policy for Susan G. Komen for the Cure breast-cancer charity, speaks during an interview in Atlanta in February. Handel has a book deal. Howard Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, announced Monday that Karen Handel’s ‘Planned Bullyhood’ will come out Tuesday.
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Criticizing major players on both sides, former Susan G. Komen for the Cure vice president Karen Handel has written a blistering insider’s account of the prominent cancer charity’s decision to halt grants to Planned Parenthood and its swift retreat in the face of an intense, widespread backlash.

Titled “Planned Bullyhood” and due for publication on 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.

Reaction was immediate and passionate. Twitter and Facebook were flooded with denunciations of Komen’s action. Democratic members of Congress urged Komen to reconsider, as did some of Komen’s own affiliates. Planned Parenthood accused Komen of bowing to right-wing bullying and eagerly mobilized its supporters, raising $3 million in donations within days of the news report.

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