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on July 29, 2017
I expected a book about the practice and morality of abortion. This is about their business practices.
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on October 23, 2016
This book is sloppily crafted by the author to push buttons and mislead readers in surprisingly transparent ways. For example, discussing her defeat in the race for the Georgia governor's office, she described her Republican opponent--who had the support of the Georgia Republican “good old boy” network and the endorsement of the Georgia Right to Life organization--as “the former pro-abortion Democrat with significant ethics issues.” (Page 50)

The author also glosses over much in her attempt to shine a light on her accomplishments. She claims in passing that she was accused of being racist without any context, but goes on to describe a few pages later how she forced a black woman sheriff out of office. She tells how she balanced a budget with a $100 million deficit without any details, which made me wonder which social safety net programs she probably axed to do it.

Some anecdotes and protestations of indignation I found very amusing. She was quite put out, for example, that Planned Parenthood's “Women Are Watching” website had the temerity to use the color pink, as she felt that color was owned by Susan G Komen. (Page 118) I am twice as old as the Susan G Komen organization, and I know for a fact that products aimed at women have always used the color pink. I know that Susan G Komen aggressively litigates against any other organization who uses “racing for” something to raise funds but having exclusive use of the color pink is beyond the pale.

It is painfully obvious that this book is the author's spin on events, and likely bears little if any resemblance to the truth. She frequently uses the passive voice to indicate that things happened, without any specifics or attributing any agency. Based on what little I do know about earlier events she described, I can tell she's leaving things out. So when she gets to the Susan G Komen-Planned Parenthood debacle, I spent most of my time wondering what she's leaving out and how she's spinning the tale to suit her own needs. That's the trouble with telling half-truths and using misinformation early on: by the time she gets to the meat of the book, her credibility is shot.

In the end, if readers don't get bogged down in the fascinating Machiavellian narrative, they will be able to glean one important thing. Early on, and even throughout the book, the author states that Komen was feeling pressure for making grants to Planned Parenthood and was being threatened with loss of participation and donations if the relationship continued. That is stated numerous times. And yet, over and over again, the author insists that the decision to defund Planned Parenthood had nothing to do with pressure from anti-abortion advocates. I have to wonder if she is even reading what she is writing. Despite her obvious narrative spin, it is clear that if Komen had not been pressured by anti-abortion forces, the relationship with Planned Parenthood would have continued as it had for 20 years.

I would be very interested to read a similar book by Mollie Williams, the public health professional who served as a senior member of Susan G Komen who resigned in protest over Komen's decision to stop funding Planned Parenthood. I'm pretty sure it would provide a good counterpoint to this book. Alas, Mollie Williams has moved on and declined to discuss anything that would cast aspersions on the Komen organization.

In the end, I found the book to be a fascinating read, both for what it revealed about the confused inner workings of the Komen organization, as well as the author's attempt to spin the story to be a hit job by Planned Parenthood when it was actually a self immolation by Komen. The author comes off as a self-righteous political naif who maligns friend and foe alike in a weak attempt at self-defense. She failed, but the resulting tale is mesmerizing.
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on November 21, 2012
I had trouble deciding how many stars to give this often interesting but very uneven book. I almost gave up during the introduction, but I persisted and found the book very interesting, except when Handel went into histrionic partisan mode. Handel has led a very interesting life, and if she has done all she says, she has a lot to be proud of.

Karen Handel is the one blamed for leading Komen to drop Planned Parenthood (PP). The thing is, even if it was Handel's idea (she insists it wasn't), she couldn't have done it by herself. She is left in the position of an outside lover whom a reconciling couple has agreed bears all the blame for the infidelity. That saves face and makes it easier to reconcile, but it isn't true. Say what you will, it remains that the infidel agreed to the affair and is the real betrayer. Set up as the scapegoat, Handel is understandably bitter.

Komen, according to Handel, couldn't make up its corporate mind. They wanted to dump Planned Parenthood for a number of reasons including dissatisfaction with their work and also because they were under enormous pressure from the prolife/antiabortion forces. This is a point at which I have problems with Handel. If PP was a bully, so was the Roman Catholic Church, the Baptist Church, et al. They were the other pincher putting pressure on Komen and Handel. Handel goes into the most detail about the Catholic church's backlash, beginning on p.83. Komen has worked with numerous Catholic organizations in the past, both in giving them grants and getting their help raising money. Then the Church, and like-minded organizations, cut all ties unless Komen cut ties with PP. Handel doesn't fault them for pressuring and hurting Komen, and once the organization was presented with the situation, she was in favor of bowing to the Catholic Church's demands.

Handel is very inconsistent in what she says about these issues. The problem seems to have been that Komen didn't want to admit to the latter reason knowing that they would offend some of their friends. They were also ambivalent about PP and their past relationship. At this point, I had a lot of sympathy for Handel, she simply could get not direction from, or please, people who can't make up their mind, and she probably would have done well to walk away at this point. So Komen tried to explain its actions via their new grant system and a reluctance to deal with organizations under investigation by someone or another. Apparently they hoped that they could tell the anti-abortion/pro-life forces that they were dropping PP over abortion, but keep this news from PP; a futile hope. Then they couldn't keep their story straight, backtracked and contradicted themselves. If it had truly been a matter of grants, then Komen should just have announced the new standards to all potential grantees and let the chips fall where they may. Even if PP couldn't connect the dots regarding the backlash, the fact that Komen was hiring publicists and making a PP a special case would have told them what was up. Handel is outraged that PP and its allies refused to accept this clumsy spin, when they knew that there was more to this decision.

Handel claims that Komen was trying to be neutral in the abortion struggle, but I don't see how withdrawing grants from PP because they also perform abortions is being neutral on the subject of induced abortions. After all, PP wasn't being given grants to perform abortions, and if Komen had any sense they made it clear in the grants that the money was to be used strictly for breast cancer-related projects. They should do that with all their grantees whether they do anything controversial or not. Neutrality would either be to avoid anyone who has a position on the subject or deal with anyone regardless of their opinion. I'm sure that Komen preferred the latter, but the prolife/antiabortion forces were pressuring them to choose sides. Handel argues that this was not a political decision but a financial one, but it was still forcing Komen to take a side in the culture wars. I suspect that if PP had accepted Komen's decision gracefully, they could have expected that every organization that they dealt with would be pressured just as Komen was.

So Handel's complaints about PP are a little hollow and a lot inconsistent. She sometimes goes into a partisan histrionic mode. She complains about PP's slick political/economic arrangements, but there are a lot of organizations that I find a lot scarier who do the same, liberal or conservative, Democratic or Republican. These things have generated a lot of outrage over the years, but the politician don't care to put a stop to it.

She goes a bit off the deep end and almost talks as if PP and the left have sinister occult powers and can summon demons, when the truth is that they have a constituency of American citizens who don't even have horns and tails. Just like the right, about whom my liberal friends make similar claims. Life is complicated; full of hard decisions and compromise, and honorable people can disagree. And everyone who agrees with you isn't always honorable. Throughout the body of the book, I thought that Handel had had enough thrown at her that she would recognize this simple point, but in the end she goes back to blind partisan mode. I can understand why Handel is bitter about PP, but having read about the pressure Komen was under from both sides I take a different view.
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on July 29, 2017
Eyeopening account as to how "things" work. Political corruption at it's worst. A private company, run by the daughter of a former Texas Governor somehow gets hundreds of millions of OUR TAX DOLLARS to use as they wish---which includes trying to destroy a well meaning woman trying to help the cause of curing breast cancer.
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on November 2, 2012
Many claim this book is biased. It was, after all, written by the individual who suffered the worst consequences of the entire scandal (other than women with breast cancer), so it's possible that it is one-sided. The point is, this is the side that's never heard from. This story contains facts that you won't get anywhere else. They can't all be lies, since many are independently verifiable (Google and Snopes are your friends), and I have in fact taken the time to verify several. The mainstream media is 90% of the sources of information about most everything, and it's a known fact that it is shamelessly biased.

So, if only for providing those facts that you won't get anywhere else, this book is very much worth the read. I know so much more about both Komen and PP now than I did before. You can call the author all the names you want, it doesn't change one iota of the factual details about PP's tactics, goals and true agenda. And it's not women's health.
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on July 27, 2017
A through review of the history with behind the scenes info. Lessons in Washington, DC behind the scenes
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on October 13, 2014
This book was excruciating to read because the author changed her views on abortion when she herself went into politics. Those of us in Georgia who worked with her before she started her professional career of running for office, any office, remember only too well That Karen Handel, and she was a completely different person than this author. She publicly identified herself as a, to quote a Bushism, "compassionate conservative," or a fiscal conservative, one whose social views were out of step with the Republican party she had sworn allegiance to. I am just one of dozens of co-workers who remember Karen being very clearly and publicly pro-choice, and I would swear to this on a stack of Bibles. Again, that was before she sold her soul to win votes. Same with gay issues: she never had any issues with gay rights, and campaigned hard to win the gay vote in Atlanta when she ran for Fulton County Board of Commissioners, until she began her statewide races, when it was necessary to throw her support of gay rights under the bus too, to win the good ol boy vote she railed against but secretly coveted. The expediency with which she changed her views to match her political agenda has been disgusting to observe. Knowing, absolutely knowing, from personal experience, from personal, private, intimate conversations that no one can question because you weren't there, that Karen was once absolutely and comfortably pro-choice, reading this book gave me nothing more than a massive case of schadenfreude. Once upon a time, I loved Karen Handel. She was my boss, she hired me. She was my mentor. I would have followed her to the ends of the earth. That person, and this author, are not the same person. Her victimhood, her sacrifice, her pity party, her blame game -- all of that pales in comparison to the shame she should feel for changing her views for political gain. I thought she was better than that. We all did. My bad. Look what it got ya, Karen.
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on April 19, 2017
Weak tea written by a college dropout who hates poor people voting and women having healthcare.
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on July 14, 2015
God only knows the tentacles PP has throughout this nation. Planned parenthood is responsible for the deaths of more babies in this country and they bully confused women into abortion. This nation is washed in pink every October and yet breast cancer goes up, and the CEO of Susan g komen makes almost a million a year, disgusting!!!
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on April 20, 2017
Great book
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