Karl Rove on Re-Funding Planned Parenthood Claim: ‘Not Accurate’

September 12, 2012 - 5:35 PM

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Republican political consultant Karl Rove, a former deputy chief of staff in the George W. Bush administration. (AP)

(CNSNews.com) – Republican consultant Karl Rove, a former deputy chief of staff in the George W. Bush administration, said that an assertion in a new book that he encouraged the Komen for the Cure breast cancer organization to restore its funding to Planned Parenthood earlier this year was “not accurate.”

Rove did not confirm or deny that he endorsed re-funding, only that the account presented in the book was “not accurate.”

The book, released on Sept. 11, is entitled Planned Bullyhood: The Truth About the Planned Parenthood Funding Battle with Susan G. Komen For The Cure, and was written by Komen’s former vice president of public policy, Karen Handel.

Handel was the former Republican secretary of state for Georgia (2007-2010) and was hired at Komen in April 2011. She resigned from Komen in February 2012 after a controversy ensued following the group’s decision in early 2012 to halt its $680,000 in grants to Planned Parenthood – a decision that was reversed in early February following a liberal and media backlash over the decision.

Handel tells her side of the controversy in Planned Bullyhood and states in the introduction that “Komen capitulated and reversed course. Komen’s surrender was even encouraged by conservative mainstays like Karl Rove.”

Later in the book, Handel reports that she was talking with Komen founder and CEO Nancy G. Brinker on Feb. 3, after Komen executives had decided to restore its grants to Planned Parenthood, one of the world’s leading abortion providers.

Handel writes:

If we blink now, it’s over and no one will know what Komen stands for, I implored.

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!”

I started laughing. Just when I thought things could not get more bizarre. What in the world did Karl Rove have to do with anything?

Nancy continued, “This is the only way,” she reiterated. “You have no idea what I’ve been through over the past three days.”

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Karen Handel, former senior vice president of public policy at Susan G. Komen for the Cure. (Photo: SimonandSchuster.com)

In an e-mail to Karl Rove, CNSNews.com cited Handel’s story and asked the Republican political consultant whether he advised Komen to restore funding to Planned Parenthood and, if he did, to explain why.

Rove’s chief of staff, Sheena A. Tahilramani, responded by e-mail on Sept. 11, stating, “I’ve discussed this with Karl and Mrs. Handel’s book is not accurate.”

In a follow-up, CNSNews.com asked for clarification and whether  Rove was stating that Handel’s claim was false.  In a Sept. 12 e-mail, Tahilramani answered, “Ms. Handel’s account is not accurate.”

Although the Susan G. Komen for the Cure organization is committed to fighting and ending breast cancer, the group restored its funding to Planned Parenthood.

According to its 2009-2010 annual report, Planned Parenthood received  $487.4 million in tax dollars; and according to its fact sheet, Planned Parenthood performed 329,445 abortions in 2010.   The organization does not do mammograms to screen for breast cancer.

CNSNews.com contacted Komen CEO Nancy Brinker by e-mail on Sept. 12 asking whether Handel's report was accurate but no response was provided before this story was posted.