Yesterday Karen Handel, the ink barely dry on her resignation from Susan G. Komen for the Cure, appeared on Megyn Kelly's Fox News show for her first post-quitting interview. She wants America to know that she didn't act alone in pushing for Planned Parenthood's defunding, that several members of the board colluded to back up her recommendation. The right wing political agenda of Komen wasn't Handel's at all, but Komen's. And with that, Karen Handel sums up why Susan G. Komen for the Cure is not an organization worth supporting.
I'm sure Handel meant for her swan song to reassure the public that Komen was a charity worthy of support, but her appearance just ended up damning the rest of the organization.
She kicked off the interview by explaining to Megyn Kelly that she'd had a role in the Planned Parenthood defunding process, a direct contradiction to what Komen CEO Nancy Brinker told Andrea Mitchell last week. So, Nancy Brinker, the founder CEO of the organization, felt it was appropriate to lie to the public in order to defend both Handel and her agenda.
Then, she explained that the process and policies were vetted at "all appropriate levels within the organization," which means people agreed with her— lots of people. Enough people to overrule whatever minority felt that bowing to political pressure was not the best way to fight cancer.
What comes next in Handel's appearance is what can best be described as the Planned Victimhood segment of the interview. Somehow, we're all supposed to believe that Planned Parenthood viciously, viciously forced Susan G. Komen to reinstate the funds that were pulled, that Komen was "coerced" into backtracking. Nobody made Komen do a damn thing— Komen saw how badly its image was being battered by people calling bullshit on their nakedly political move, and Komen chose to move to preserve that image. That people at Komen are upset that it turns out the public does not owe them unquestioning adoration is not Planned Parenthood's fault.
Handel couldn't complete the interview without some good old fashioned Komen style truth stretching, and appealed again to the already-debunked story that Planned Parenthood was defunded due to a lack of quality of their organization, that their being under investigation should have disqualified them from Komen monies. Then Handel's story evolved before our very eyes, like a pepper moth made of lies, and she began incorporating elements of other Komen lines into her explanation for Planned Parenthood's defunding. They were under investigation. They don't provide mammograms. There's too much controversy. It's a shame that, at this point, Megyn Kelly continued to throw softballs Handel's way instead of challenging her by pointing out that Penn State, currently under investigation for a massive child sexual abuse coverup scandal, is still receiving funds. (Although, we're talking about Fox News here. They traffic in softballs and former Miss Americas.)
But let's give credit where credit is due: in some respects, Karen Handel is absolutely right. Susan G. Komen for the Cure is a privately funded organization that's free to do whatever it want with its money, or, as Handel put it, "to set the highest standards and criteria on their own without interference." But Karen Handel's got it twisted: Planned Parenthood isn't guilty of attaching politics to women's bodies— Komen is. The "neutral ground" the organization purports to seek is an ideological place that segregates women's health care needs by where in the anatomy those needs occur. A woman is not just a pair of pink tee shirt-covered boobies and a Barbie pelvis with vaguely molded plastic genitals— the women Komen claims to serve also have vaginas and uteruses and what those women choose to do with their vaginas and uteruses should absolutely be of no concern to Komen. Their self-stated primary mission is to seek a cure for breast cancer. There should be no secret caveat attached to that mission. If there is, to call themselves advocates for women's health is a lie.
At one point in the interview, Handel says that the Planned Parenthood was ultimately defunded because it was best for Komen's mission. If that mission is cowering away from controversy in the name of preserving a brand that serves as little more than a marketing tool— mission accomplished.