Karl Rove told Komen to back off Planned Parenthood, says Karen Handel

September 11, 2012

When Susan G. Komen for the Cure cut off funds to Planned Parenthood earlier this year, outraged supporters had an unlikely ally: Karl Rove. 

The decision to pull support for Planned Parenthood's breast cancer screenings had sparked a national backlash, costing the group donations and sponsors. According to "Planned Bullyhood," a tell-all from former Komen vice president Karen Handel, Rove advised the breast cancer foundation to reverse course (as Komen did, 72 hours after its initial announcement).

The below excerpt, from Handel's perspective, was first picked up by an anti-abortion blogger

"We're so sorry," said Nancy. "We're so sorry. But we just have to reverse course." [...]

Nancy’s reply stunned me. “Karen, I’ve talked to a lot of people. And even Karl says we have to backtrack. There’s just no other way.”

“Karl? Who’s Karl?”

She looked at me strangely as if I should know exactly who she was talking about. She said, “Karl Rove!”

Handel, a Republican and former Georgia secretary of state, supported the decision to cut ties with Planned Parenthood. A week after Komen officials apologized and announced that Planned Parenthood would once again be eligible for grants, Handel resigned.

Rove is traveling and did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 

UPDATE: Rove's chief of staff, Sheena A. Tahilramani, told the Post that the book is "not accurate." 

Rachel Weiner covers cops and courts in Arlington and Alexandria.
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Philip Rucker | September 11, 2012