Susan B. Komen v. Planned Parenthood: The Sexual Counterrevolution in Action

By Nancy L. Cohen, February 5, 2012

Karen Handel, the Komen official behind the now-reversed defunding of Planned Parenthood, has a venerable history in the right-wing sexual counterrevolution.

Handel was deputy chief of staff to Marilyn Quayle, the wife of Bush vice-president Dan Quayle. Marilyn was given a prime-time spot at the ’92 GOP Holy War convention, where she devoted her time to denouncing the sexual revolution and denigrating working mothers. (More on Quayle and how that worked out for the GOP in my new book Deliirium.)

Handel ran unsuccessfully for the Georgia Republican gubernatorial nomination in 2010. Sarah Palin endorsed her and named her an honorary “Mama Grizzly.” In that campaign, Handel not only said she opposed gay marriage, but also campaigned against gay adoption and civil unions.

Karen Handel receiving endorsement from Sarah Palin in Aug. 2010

Make sure to check out today’s piece by Laura Bassett in the Huffington Post, with solid reporting about Handel’s role in the Komen fiasco.

[A] Komen insider told HuffPost on Sunday that Karen Handel, Komen’s staunchly anti-abortion vice president for public policy, was the main force behind the decision to defund Planned Parenthood and the attempt to make that decision look nonpolitical.


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Nancy L. Cohen