Led by Ultraviolet’s Campaign, Mounting Public Opposition Leads to Resignation of Karen Handel from Susan G. Komen for the Cure

FEBRUARY 7, 2012

New York — Ultraviolet, an online community of women and men who want to take collective action to expose and fight sexism in the public sector, private sector and the media, issued the following statement in response to the resignation of Susan G. Komen for the Cure Vice President of Public Policy Karen Handel:

More than 37,000 UltraViolet members demanded that Susan G. Komen for the Cure ask Karen Handel to step down as Vice President of Public Policy, because of news reports showing that Handel was the chief architect of the decision to defund Planned Parenthood’s services around breast cancer prevention.

“It was clear that Karen Handel was willing to put her extremist political agenda ahead of women’s lives. That was a big problem for Komen for the Cure’s mission, so her resignation is definitely a positive sign for the organization,” said Shaunna Thomas, co-founder of UltraViolet.

However, serious questions remain about Komen for the Cure’s commitment to future funding of breast cancer prevention services through Planned Parenthood. “Our members are deeply concerned by the fact that Komen for the Cure has deliberately left the door open to cutting off Planned Parenthood’s next year and in the years to come. We are going to be watching Komen’s actions long after the media spotlight of this week fades.” said Nita Chaudhary, co-founder of UltraViolet.

Komen’s CEO, Nancy Brinkner, has demonstrated a pattern of deliberately lying to the public about the facts about Komen’s decision to defund PP. First, by claiming that they had a great deal of public support for the decision, and second by claiming that Handel had nothing to do with the decision. In fact, Handel “openly acknowledge[s]” her role in the decision. Brinker and the board of Susan G. Komen for the Cure owe it to their supporters and stakeholders to come clean and publicly commit to funding Planned Parenthood’s work into the future.

UltraViolet members will be ready to hold Komen for the Cure accountable in the years to come to ensure all women have access to life-saving preventive services. Planned Parenthood is the only health care option for millions of low-income women nationwide, and their funding from Komen for the Cure is critical to saving lives.

The Ultraviolet petition can be seen here: http://act.weareultraviolet.org/sign/Handel/