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Karen Handel Needs to Resign

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"If we just say it's about investigations, we can defund Planned Parenthood and no one can blame us for being political."

That's what Komen for the Cure's Vice President of Public Policy Karen Handel told staff when she led the organization to defund Planned Parenthood's grants -- a decision that has been at least temporarily reversed as of Friday. But Handel is still the top policy-maker for the organization, and according to reports isn't sorry about the fallout caused by her decision -- in fact, according to sources who spoke with Laura Bassett of the Huffington Post, she fought the reversal every step of the way.

For added context: Handel previously ran for governor of Georgia on a platform of defunding Planned Parenthood. And not only did Handel pledge to end funding for Planned Parenthood when she ran for governor, just last week in the middle of the firestorm around Komen's decision to cut them off, she took to social networks to slam Planned Parenthood. She obviously doesn't have the judgment to be making decisions about policy for an organization that has the potential to help so many women.

According to Komen staffers, Handel has been looking for excuses to gut Planned Parenthood's funding for the last six months -- trumping up right-wing campaigns targeting the group for its support of Planned Parenthood and aggressively lobbying the board to cut funding to Planned Parenthood clinics.

Last week was a big week -- millions of us banded together and demanded that Komen for the Cure reverse its decision to cut off funding for Planned Parenthood. And we were heard: On Friday Komen for the Cure reinstated this year's grants to Planned Parenthood. But it's not over. Handel's continued presence as a leader at Komen threatens to undo all of the work they do on behalf of women and breast cancer awareness -- even if the effectiveness of that work is under legitimate scrutiny.

Handel created the investigation policy solely to facilitate her agenda to cut off Planned Parenthood and fought the decision to reverse that policy up until the very last second. People are rightly outraged that Handel is still in such a senior role at Komen and Komen is facing pressure from inside and outside the organization to force her to resign.

When life-saving care for hundreds of thousands of low-income women is on the line, Komen needs to prove to a skeptical public that it will put women's health above all else. As long as Handel is there, we can't believe that politics isn't getting in the way of that important mission.

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