Friday, 23 March 2012

More Susan G. Komen Execs Resign After Planned Parenthood Fiasco

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Five more top officials with the Susan G. Komen for the Cure breast cancer charity have resigned, in the continuing turmoil surrounding the foundation's decision earlier this year to cut funding to Planned Parenthood following strong pressure from pro-life groups. That funding to the nation's largest abortion provider — almost $700,000 last year — was restored three days later. Now three top executives have stepped down from their posts at Komen's Dallas headquarters, as well as two CEOs of the state organizations in New York and Oregon.

Komen Foundation spokeswoman Leslie Aun acknowledged: "Obviously, we know some folks are upset. We've certainly seen that. We know people have been upset by recent events, but most really do recognize the importance of our work."

Chris McDonald, the CEO of the organization's Oregon and southwest Washington State affiliate, has announced that she will leave at the end of April. She stated: "Despite our deep frustration about the distraction that our organization headquarters' actions caused, I was proud that our affiliate took a strong stand against the politicization of the fight to improve women's health."

According to ABC News:

One board member for McDonald's affiliate, Portland attorney Jennifer Williamson, rejoined the board after stepping down last month to put pressure on the national organization. She couldn't walk away from the local Komen work to expand access to women's health care, she said.

"As a local affiliate we could push back on them but we couldn't do anything about it," said Williamson, who is also on the Planned Parenthood board and is a Democratic candidate for the state Legislature. "I did what I had the ability to do, which was resign from the board. But to support the mission ... I rejoined the board."

Mollie Williams, Komen's top health official, had resigned immediately after the board decided to stop funding Planned Parenthood earlier this year. After the board subsequently restored the funding in early February, Karen Handel, a strong pro-life Republican who had sought the Republican nomination for Governor of Georgia in 2010, resigned from her position as Senior Vice President for Policy of the foundation.

Planned Parenthood was in the news last year as the result of several sting operations conducted in its clinics around the country. In February 2011, New Jersey Planned Parenthood employees were caught on tape giving advice to a man posing as a pimp (with undercover investigators posing as underage prostitutes) on how to get the girls tested for venereal diseases and how to conceal the sex trafficking. The Planned Parenthood employees even explained how the underage girls could get an abortion. In July of last year, a similar sting operation caught Indiana Planned Parenthood employees giving misleading information to pregnant teenage girls.

Photo: Nancy Goodman Brinker, the founder and CEO of Susan G. Komen for the Cure

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