A high-ranking executive at the Susan G. Komen for the Cure breast-cancer charity resigned on Tuesday amid a dispute over its decision to withdraw funding from women's health organization Planned Parenthood.
Karen Handel announced her resignation in a letter sent to other Komen officials on Tuesday, saying she had supported the funding cut. Komen reversed its decision Friday amid a firestorm of controversy. "The only group that made this political is Planned Parenthood," Handel told Fox News Tuesday afternoon.
Speculation had fallen on Handel as the source of the decision, made last week, to withdraw funding from Planned Parenthood. In the letter, Handel admits she helped lead the decision.
"I was asked to look at options. I looked at it and I did," Handel wrote in her widely leaked resignation letter. "However, Komen’s decision to change its granting strategy and exit the controversy surrounding Planned Parenthood and its grants was fully vetted by every appropriate level within the organization," she added.
"I am deeply disappointed by the gross mischaracterizations of the strategy, its rationale, and my involvement in it. I openly acknowledge my role in the matter and continue to believe our decision was the best one for Komen’s future and the women we serve."
Handel was appointed to Komen last April, and she was quick to point out her strong Republican credentials. She had the backing of former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin in a failed 2010 bid to become the first female governor of Georgia, one that was spiced up by debates and negative advertising over Handel’s position on abortion rights.
Handel complained about the attacks on her position and said she was “staunchly and unequivocally pro-life” in a blog post at the time.
Planned Parenthood raised nearly $3 million from more than 10,000 donors over three days following an announcement.