One of the driving forces behind the now-reversed decision to cancel funding to Planned Parenthood has stepped down from her executive position at the Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation.
But the resignation of Karen Handel, an outspoken opponent of the reproductive health group, hasn’t slowed down foes of Planned Parenthood.
Even as Handel was on her way out the door, two anti-abortion groups were releasing a report intended to push Republicans in Congress to continue their investigation of Planned Parenthood.
A 23-page memo from the Susan B. Anthony List and the Alliance Defense Fund outlines what those groups’ leaders say are a series of funding irregularities uncovered in various state and federal audits of Planned Parenthood affiliates.
“These problems reveal a pattern of gross financial mismanagement,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of SBA List.
Steven Aden, the Alliance Defense Fund’s senior counsel, added, “The 10 state audits amounted to nearly 8 million dollars in waste, abuse and potential fraud.”
Planned Parenthood, however, brushed off the accusations. “This document is part of a campaign by conservative groups seeking to outlaw access to reproductive health care and uses recycled or overstated allegations,” the organization said in a statement.
The Planned Parenthood statement also noted that “the same groups pushing for a congressional inquiry have also been behind the pressure campaign aimed at the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation and other important organizations.”
But in her first public statements since resigning, Handel said it was Planned Parenthood making things political. “The last time I checked, private nonprofit organizations have a right and a responsibility to be able to set the highest standards and criteria on their own without interference, let alone the level of vicious attacks and coercion that has occurred by Planned Parenthood,” she told Fox News. “It’s simply outrageous.”
Handel, however, who ran unsuccessfully for governor of Georgia in 2010 on a platform that included defunding Planned Parenthood, acknowledged that she urged Komen to defund the organization. Komen officials have now apologized for that decision.