Continued protests at Dallas Komen headquarters as official resigns

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by BRAD WATSON

WFAA

Posted on February 7, 2012 at 7:45 PM

DALLAS - A new day brought new challenges for Dallas-based Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

Days after reversing a controversial decision to cut funding to Planned Parenthood, a top Komen official resigned Tuesday and protesters showed up outside the charity's national headquarters.

Chanting "Shame on Komen" outside the headquarters, members from the liberal group MoveOn.org demanded the non-profit to keep funding Planned Parenthood.

Komen said Planned Parenthood remains eligible for grants. But the demonstrators say they want a pledge.

"You know their mission is to take care of women's health," said Kim Morris of Dallas MoveOn.org. "At least, we think it is. I'm sure it is. If it isn't, they better tell us."

Komen let them deliver petitions demanding Komen not allow anti-abortion groups pressure it to stop funding for Planned Parenthood breast exams.

"We are gratified about our organizations' shared commitment to protecting women's health," Komen said in a statement. "We have made mistakes in how we handled recent decisions, but the mission to find a cure for breast cancer and meet the needs of women in communities is too important to be overshadowed by controversy."

But the Catholic Pro-Life Committee of North Texas used stronger language reacting to Move On's demonstration and demand.

"As a grant beneficiary, you should be gracious and grateful for any grant you receive and never take the approach that we're going to bully you into making a commitment beyond the current year to fund you," said executive director Karen Garnett.

At about the same time, Karen Handel, the Komen vice president that sources inside Komen have said pushed for the Planned Parenthood defunding, resigned. The former Republican candidate for governor in Georgia said she quit on her own and her pro-life views had nothing to do with the controversy.

She claims Planned Parenthood made it political.

"When they launched this vicious, vicious attack on a great organization and perpetrated what was nothing short shakedown to coerce a private entity to give them grants," Handel said.

Saying it had made mistakes, Komen accepted her resignation.

A Planned Parenthood statement didn't mention Handel, but stated, "We are pleased and thankful that the Komen Foundation clarified their grant-making criteria allowing Planned Parenthood affiliates to continue to be eligible for funding of breast cancer screening programs."

E-mail bwatson@wfaa.com

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