Feb 7, 2012 3:03 PM by Paul Kavanaugh
ATLANTA (AP) -- An executive at the Susan G. Komen for the Cure breast cancer charity resigned Tuesday over her support to strip Planned Parenthood of funding, but disputed that she was the driving force behind the decision that created a firestorm of criticism last week.
Karen Handel, the charity's vice president for public policy, said in her resignation later she was "deeply disappointed by the gross mischaracterizations of the strategy, its rationale, and her involvement."
Handel said the discussion to cut funding for Planned Parenthood started before she came to the group last year, and was approved at the highest levels of the charity. However, a person with direct knowledge of decision-making at Komen's headquarters said Handel was a driving force behind the move.
Handel supported a decision Komen announced to exclude Planned Parenthood, which provides a range of women's health care services including abortions, from future grants for breast-cancer screenings because it was under congressional investigation.
"Neither the decision nor the changes themselves were based on anyone's political beliefs or ideology," Handel said in the letter. "Rather, both were based on Komen's mission and how to better serve women, as well as a realization of the need to distance Komen from controversy."
Handel said the now-abandoned policy was fully vetted by the Komen organization. Its board did not raise any objections when it was presented with the proposed policy in November, Handel said.
Komen Founder and CEO Nancy G. Brinker said she accepted Handel's resignation and wished her well.