Mission Control and Karen Handel’s failure to launch

Today brought a bit of good news to the world. My favorite two-faced person, Karen Handel, resigned from the Susan G. Komen for the Cure charity. In other news the sun continued to shine, puppies remained cute and the cats knocked my iPod Touch to the floor.

Yes, Virginia, there can be good days. But don’t you dare ever tell anyone I said that.

In Handel’s resignation letter she proudly had on display the style, grace and dignity that has served her so well during all of her years of hating Planned Parenthood.

Of Komen’s decision to “change its granting strategy” which led to the decision to pull funding from Planned Parenthood, she says, “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.”

Komen then went on to make the arguments that “I wasn’t the only one (neener neener)” and pointed a crony accusing finger at Planned Parenthood, saying their reaction was a “gross mischaracterization of strategy.”

Apparently Handel is not one to go quietly into that good night. Whatever. Just as long as she says goodbye.

Once, when speaking about Planned Parenthood, Handel said:

[L]et me be clear, since I am pro-life, I do not support the mission of Planned Parenthood.
–Karen Handel, “Karen Handel Governor” blog, circa July 2010

Naturally, reading this bold statement got me curious. What exactly is the mission of Planned Parenthood? I admit I didn’t know. And what is it that Planned Parenthood really does?

I decided to try to find out.

To start, I went to the Planned Parenthood official website and found a page that contains their mission statement:

Planned Parenthood believes in the fundamental right of each individual, throughout the world, to manage his or her fertility, regardless of the individual’s income, marital status, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age, national origin, or residence. We believe that respect and value for diversity in all aspects of our organization are essential to our well-being. We believe that reproductive self-determination must be voluntary and preserve the individual’s right to privacy. We further believe that such self-determination will contribute to an enhancement of the quality of life and strong family relationships.

Based on these beliefs, and reflecting the diverse communities within which we operate, the mission of Planned Parenthood is

  • to provide comprehensive reproductive and complementary health care services in settings which preserve and protect the essential privacy and rights of each individual
  • to advocate public policies which guarantee these rights and ensure access to such services
  • to provide educational programs which enhance understanding of individual and societal implications of human sexuality
  • to promote research and the advancement of technology in reproductive health care and encourage understanding of their inherent bioethical, behavioral, and social implications

Source: Planned Parenthood

Interesting. The idea that all people of the world should have the right to manage their own fertility. What a radical concept! No wonder so many hate them.

The hunt was on. Next I checked out the menus on the official website. Under the heading “Health Info & Services,” right after “Locations” I found the option “Abortion,” and very high on the list, too! I caught you red-handed, you filthy coat-hanger pushers! Hmm? Oh, wait. That was just one of 12 overall selections beneath that menu that were sorted alphabetically. Curse you, letter A! Here’s the entire dangerous list:

  • Abortion
  • Birth Control
  • Body Image
  • General Health Care
  • Men’s Sexual Health
  • Morning After Pill (Emergency Contraception)
  • Pregnancy
  • Relationships
  • Sex & Sexuality
  • Sexual Orientation & Gender
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)
  • Women’s Health

Feeling feisty, I jumped right into “Abortion” and I found this: “Learning the facts about abortion may help you in making your decision. You may also want to learn more about parenting and adoption.”

What the hell? Giving information about choices other than abortion? Based on all the hype I would have guessed that abortion was the only outcome they pushed.

I then took at look at the “Women’s Health” page. Again it was alphabetical: Breast Cancer Screenings, Procedures to Prevent Cervical Cancer, Female Infertility, Menopause, Menstruation, Ovarian Cancer, Pap Tests & HPV Tests, Pelvic Exam, Urinary Tract Infection (UTI), Yeast Infection & Vaginitis.

Could this be right? Did I read that correctly? Infertility??? Planned Parenthood helps women who want to get pregnant? What the hell? “Treatment is available,” they said.


Of course, we all know that Planned Parenthood is just a bunch of liars who are known associates of Satan. I needed unbiased information that wasn’t gleaned from their very own and obviously contaminated website.

Hadn’t I heard that Planned Parenthood is prohibited by law from using federal funding to perform abortions? And what about that spurious claim that only three percent of the services they offer are related to abortion? How would I get the truth? Finally I found some. Like 10% of the people who visited PP (known as clients) had an abortion, although some critics estimate that to be higher, perhaps even 30%.

Wait. I’ve repeatedly heard pro-life people shouting the statistic that 1 out of 3 women will have an abortion during their lifetimes. This is a stat they depend upon to demonstrate what they say is the severity of the problem. Yet the rate at PP is only 10 percent? That’s three times better than the average.

And that federal funding thing? That’s just a shell game. It has no real meaning. We all know that PP just shuffles it all around so that only abortion activities can be supported, right? Still, I couldn’t help but wonder how they paid for all that other stuff they do. Weird.

Not wanting to throw out the baby with the bathwater, I kept looking for more. This was a murky realm where there was little agreement on even the most basic of “facts.” Statistics were seemingly elastic things stretched in every direction by both sides. I even began to despair of ever finding truth.

I checked Wikipedia but it just had facts like 35% of Planned Parenthood’s services pertain to contraception. And we all know that just helps to prevent unwanted children! While there, though, I was also surprised to learn that Planned Parenthood has received federal funding since 1970 when a Republican president signed the Family Planning Services and Population Research Act. (Psst. I already knew that.) Damn those liberal elitists on Wikipedia.

Vowing to leave no stone unturned, I searched out and spoke to an actual random woman. I asked her what she thought about PP. “I’ve been there twice myself,” she replied.

“What?” I shouted at her. “You murderous animal!”

“Not for abortions, you idiot. Once for birth control pills and once for a pap smear.”

There I stood, chagrined and beginning to consider the fact that there just might be another point of view than the one pro-life forces propagandize. “Oh. That’s different.”

Finally, some weird and/or alarming factoids to close out this post:

  • Earlier this year a study published in the medical journal Lancet concluded that the abortion rate is higher in countries where abortions are illegal.
  • A study found that teens who take “virginity pledges” were less likely to use condoms and more likely to engage in oral and anal sex than non-pledging teens. Those taking the pledge, however, did wait a bit longer to lose their official virginity.
  • Studies show that condoms are more effective than abstinence-only programs in decreasing risk of STD transmission, yet some religions and religious leaders have publicly declared their opposition to the use of condoms for contraception or disease prevention.
  • Worldwide, some 20-30 million legal abortions are performed each year, with another 10-20 million abortions performed illegally. Illegal abortions are unsafe and account for 13% of all deaths of women because of serious complications. Death from abortion is almost unknown in the United States or in other countries where abortion is legally available.
  • Some pro-life information I came across during my research promoted that argument that contraception use increases the abortion rate.

Introducing Dallard the Muck. Dallard is a rather beaky old chap who will be dropping by from time to time on ye olde blog. Usually when I spot something I think and deduce is a duck because it talks, walks and swims like a duck. When you see Dallard, be sure to stop and think and see if you agree or not, plausible deniability be damned.

Say what? That last bullet point deserves another look. Some people seem to believe that all pregnancies must lead to babies. Some of these same people are also dead set against contraception. That seems odd. They seem to believe that sex should lead to babies. We can extrapolate this to all sorts of conclusions, but I’m willing to bet my paycheck (low stakes) that most people who believe both of these things are also likely to be religious. (Just a hunch.)

Depending on your point of view, a lot of the information in this post can be successfully quibbled over, especially the statistics. This is one of those issues where it can feel hard to know who to believe, so I think most tend to side with like-minded sources and distrust those with opposing viewpoints. My hunch is that both sides probably play a little against the middle. The way stats and data get strewn about, I think it’s a bit like the way they negotiate price on the television show American Pickers. If you ask what something is worth, the initial counter price will at least be double of what gets said. Are any of those numbers real? No, but sometimes they eventually wiggle down to a number that works. Sometimes they don’t.

I also paused to consider the arrogance of the belief system that says, “If I disagree with any part of what you do, even if the rest be good, I will utterly and bitterly oppose you and your right to exist.” Clearly Planned Parenthood does good things. Arguably, even if you disagree on abortion, you have to admit that human beings still have free will, and PP doesn’t force anyone into choosing particular actions, and most of what the organization does is of benefit to real people. To me it seems the height of audacity to say, “Since you provide abortions, you and all of the other good things you do should cease to exist. I hate you. I oppose you. I will not rest until you have the power to do nothing.”

I considered this and realized that there is no similar concept in my life. That particular sort of binary thought is alien to me. There are things I hate, to be sure, but I never seem to get to the level of “you shouldn’t exist.” What a luxurious sort of decadence it must be to be so sure of oneself that merely having a difference of opinion is no longer an option you’re willing to consider. To me it smacks of freedom for one, not freedom for all. We’re supposed to have the freedom to disagree.

I think one thing is certain. Handel might be as blameless in the Komen incident as she claims, but that’s something damn hard to believe based on motive and opportunity. She doesn’t bring enough to the table to sell that case. It seems to me that if she wanted to avoid certain perceptions in this affair, she would have gone to extreme measures to steer clear of anything to do with this decision. Clearly she didn’t do that, to the point of saying pointblank she was part of the decision and it was right. Hooah!

Further, Susan G. Komen for the Cure also didn’t take enough proactive action to maintain a convincing standard of believability that the decision wasn’t a hatchet job. Too often these days people and organizations rely on the guise of plausible deniability and I think a lot of people are just sick of it. There has been way too much of that sort of thing. Either have the balls to say what you’re really doing or do what it takes to make your claims to the contrary convincing. Acting surprised that a few chickens got killed after you put the fox in the hen house just doesn’t cut it.

Of course, Komen wanted it all. They wanted to distance themselves from Planned Parenthood, because the pro-lifers criticized them for it at every turn, yet not simultaneously offend those on the other side of the issue who they wanted to remain as viable funding sources. They only wanted it all.

Are we supposed to cry crocodile tears that such a nefarious strategy backfired? I’m not going to, and I’m glad that it cost Karen Handel her position. She walked, talked and swam enough like a duck that I’m convinced she was a duck. After all, she didn’t do a single damn thing except get angry at the end (in particular about how it related to her) to convince us she was ever anything else.

6 responses

  1. They help people plan to be parents, but that’s not enough. Sad.


    1. My research seems to indicate they aren’t the bloodthirsty baby killers they are often portrayed to be.

      And I really think I’m onto something with my point about nuking the whole thing just because you disagree a small part of what they are.


  2. A comment on an article about this Komen/PP dust-up:

    Liberals: “You must choose a side — ours. And once you choose our side, you can never change your mind without severe consequences.”
    Hmmmm. Sounds like some Middle Eastern religion I’ve heard of.

    A comment after that:
    I was thinking the same thing when this Planned Parenthood-Komen kerfluffle came up. The Muslims believe that once an area (or individual) is Muslim, it can never change. That is why they are “purging” the Christians in Egypt. Egypt was majority Christian until the Muslim onslaught in the 8th century and “conversion by the sword”. Only a small minority of Coptics survived. The same in Iraq with the Chaldeans. This story is witnessed in every region of the world. Convert or die.
    Planned Parenthood was granted money (it was a gift) by Komen.PP believes that became their money forever. Komen is now obliged to continue funding. The Libs work the same way in Congress. Why won’t a Federal program ever die? Why are they assured a 6-8% increase every year and a 5% increase is considered a cut?

    Jonah Goldberg says: “It’s clearly not about the money. Komen’s $600,000 in donations amount to less than .01 percent of Planned Parenthood’s budget (as opposed to the nearly half that comes from taxpayers). It’s about making it very clear: Resistance is not just futile, but dangerous.”


    1. I firmly believe in the right of free will and self-determination. At the end of the day, we all have to ask ourselves if we did the right thing.

      Komen has the right to not give money to PP. That is a given. Further, they don’t even have to explain why.

      Observers have the right to evaluate what is said, how it all adds up, and decide if they agree or disagree with what happened.

      If Komen appoints a well known hater of PP then introduces a new rule that excludes only PP, it seems reasonable to ask: What’s going on here?

      My beef isn’t that they give or not give to PP. My beef is the hypocrisy and the lying about it. They were clearly trying to play both sides. If not, why not just be bold and up front about it? Oh yeah, it might affect their funding.

      Clearly there is a lot of support for PP in this country, so it’s easy to see what that would be a legitimate concern for them to have.

      Lastly, I’m pretty tired of not knowing who to believe. Does anyone ever tell the truth? I really don’t know. “Nearly half” of PP’s budget comes from taxpayers?

      Source: Planned Parenthood 2008-2009 Annual Report

      This graph shows 33% of the budget from “government grants.”

      Laura Ingraham famously said once that PP would be “out of business” without revenues from providing abortions. Yet the estimated revenue from abortions the in 2008-2009 budget was only 15% of the revenue shown on this graph.


  3. Vaginitis sounds awful. That is all.


    1. Something tells me that it can’t be good.


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