Book review: Planned Bullyhood by Karen Handel


Insight for everyone, pro-life or pro-choice.

Earlier this year, we endured the controversy over Susan G. Komen for the Cure defunding grants for Planned Parenthood. The debacle clearly displayed the bias of the mainstream media, beginning with an interview by NBC’s Andrea Mitchell on February 2, 2012. In the exchange between Nancy Brinker (founder and CEO of Susan G. Komen for the Cure) and Mitchell (a liberal and breast cancer survivor), Mitchell attacked Komen for its decision to defund the nation’s largest abortion provider.

For days, the liberal agenda was clearly displayed on our televisions and computers, with the mainstream media unwaveringly supporting Planned Parenthood and accusing Komen of playing politics. In the middle of the firestorm was Karen Handel, Komen’s senior vice president of public policy, who had been with Komen since April 2011. Handel had previously run for governor of Georgia as a Republican, after serving as Georgia secretary of state and deputy chief of staff to Governor Sonny Perdue. Handel was widely accused by the left of being the source of the decision to defund Planned Parenthood’s grants.

Karen Handel’s new book, Planned Bullyhood, is now available. The book details Planned Parenthood’s attacks on Komen. There are a few things that stuck out to me in the book that were clearly ignored by the mainstream media:

Susan G. Komen for the Cure had been considering defunding Planned Parenthood’s grants for at least a decade, long before Karen Handel joined the organization.

Throughout the book, Handel emphasizes that if Komen had been working according to its already set standards for grants, Planned Parenthood would have already seen its grants defunded. Komen would not provide grants to organizations that were under investigation (Planned Parenthood faces multiple investigations for misconduct).

Handel notes that although investigations into misconduct by Planned Parenthood did play a part in the decision, Komen was mainly interested in providing grants to organizations that actually provide mammograms, not just referrals for mammograms. As Live Action has repeatedly reported, during and after the firestorm, Planned Parenthood does not offer mammograms. Komen had every right to provide grants to organizations that meet its goals.

Grants from Komen to Planned Parenthood totaled around $680,000, less than one tenth of one percent of Planned Parenthood’s $1-billion annual budget. Throughout the firestorm, Planned Parenthood claimed that removing the grants would hurt women in low-income areas. In reality, Komen’s decision to give the grants to other organizations would have provided direct access to mammograms and breast care, two things Planned Parenthood does not provide.

Throughout Planned Bullyhood, Handel paints the picture of the liberal establishment fighting to get its way. At one point, Handel notes, “Komen’s decision to transition out of Planned Parenthood grants – to become neutral in the divisive debate on abortion – unleashed a firestorm from the left. The left had decided that Republicans and conservatives were fighting a ‘war on women’ – and, they said, Komen was part of that war. Nevermind that Komen’s entire mission was breast cancer – not politics, and certainly not abortion. People of every political belief and party had worn pink shirts, walked with pink boas, and displayed the pink ribbons that have become synonymous with Komen and the fight against breast cancer. To Planned Parenthood and its opportunistic friends in the White House and Congress, daring to walk away would not be tolerated” (Kindle Loc. 47).

I highly recommend that you take the time to read Planned Bullyhood. This book provides more compelling evidence for why our tax dollars should not be supporting an organization whose goal is not women’s health (and certainly not breast care), but rather the advance of the agenda of the left and the increase of its profits. Whether you consider yourself pro-life or pro-choice, this book is a must-read.

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