As I wrote earlier, the Race for the Cure has decided to stop funding breast exams at Planned Parenthood clinics after pressure from religious right anti-abortion activists and Republican House members. Is it a coincidence that the Race for the Cure new senior vice president is a Republican anti-abortion activist?
2010: Georgia’s Republican Secretary of State Karen Handel runs for governor on a platform of defunding Planned Parenthood.
2011: Republican politico and anti-choice activist Handel is hired by Susan G. Komen for the Cure, an organization that runs the annual breast cancer fundraiser “Race for the Cure,” and that gives hundreds of thousands of dollars to Planned Parenthood to conduct breast exams on women around the country
2012: Komen stops funding Planned Parenthood’s breast exams after pressure from who? Republicans!
It makes one wonder whether Karen Handel had a hand in accomplishing, as the senior VP at Komen, what she couldn’t accomplish as a Georgia Republican anti-abortion activist – defunding Planned Parenthood.
More on Komen’s new Republican senior VP:
Karen Handel, Komen for the Cure Senior VP for Public Policy and Outspoken Anti-Choice Activist
Karen Handel Named Senior VP for Komen in April 2011. In April 2011, after losing the 2010 Republican primary runoff in the race for Georgia governor, former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel was named Senior VP of Public Policy of Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Said Komen, “In her role at Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Handel will be responsible for leading the organization’s federal and state advocacy efforts, including management of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure® Advocacy Alliance. Handel has been working with Komen as a consultant for advocacy since January.”[Komen, 4/12/11]
Komen VP Handel Opposes Planned Parenthood
Handel Campaigned for Governor in 2010 on Anti-Choice and Anti-Planned Parenthood Platform. In a statement on her campaign website, Handel wrote, “I am staunchly and unequivocally pro-life. I believe in the sanctity and inherent dignity of human life, and I will be a pro-life governor who will work tirelessly to promote a culture of life in Georgia…. I believe that each and every unborn child has inherent dignity, that every abortion is a tragedy, and that government has a role, along with the faith community, in encouraging women to choose life in even the most difficult of circumstances…. since I am pro-life, I do not support the mission of Planned Parenthood.” [Karen Handel Campaign Blog, 7/15/10]
As Gubernatorial Candidate in 2010, Handel Pledged to Eliminate Grants for Planned Parenthood to Provide Breast and Cervical Cancer Screenings. “During my time as Chairman of Fulton County, there were federal and state pass-through grants that were awarded to Planned Parenthood for breast and cervical cancer screening, as well as a ‘Healthy Babies Initiative’…Since grants like these are from the state I’ll eliminate them as your next Governor.” [Karen Handel Campaign Blog, 7/15/10]
Handel’s Anti-Choice Positions
Handel Strongly Anti-Choice, Even Praises Unlicensed Crisis Pregnancy Centers
“I am staunchly and unequivocally pro-life… I strongly support the noble work of crisis-pregnancy centers across the state and those who compassionately and lovingly counsel women on a daily basis.” [Karen Handel Campaign Blog, 7/15/10]
Handel Believes Government Should Intervene In Women’s Health Care Decisions
In a statement on her campaign website, Handel said, “I believe …that every abortion is a tragedy, and that government has a role, along with the faith community, in encouraging women to choose life in even the most difficult of circumstances.” [Karen Handel Campaign Blog, 7/15/10]
Handel Opposed Embryonic Stem Cell Research, Supported Adult Stem Cell Research.In a statement on her campaign website, Handel said, “I oppose embryonic stem cell research, which creates life solely for the purpose of destroying it. I do, however, strongly support adult stem cell research, which has produced numerous scientific achievements without terminating innocent lives in the process.” [Karen Handel Campaign Blog, 7/15/10]
Handel Involved in 2010 Republican primary for Governor Marked by Fight Over Who Was More Anti-Choice
Anti-Choice Handel Was Endorsed By Sarah Palin; Said Handel “Walked The Walk” On Curbing Abortion Rights.
Sarah Palin stepped into the GOP primary in Georgia to endorse Karen Handel, specifically touting her anti-choice credentials. She appeared at a Handel campaign rally, saying she came from Alaska because Handel was being attacked over her anti-choice stance. Said Palin, “Despite what they’re throwing at her, Karen is strongly pro-life. She’ll walk the walk and protect the sanctity of life.”[Atlanta Journal Constitution, 7/12/10; WABE, 8/9/10; Augusta Chronicle, 8/9/10]
Palin Endorsement of Handel Drew Ire of Georgia Right to Life.
Georgia Right to Life was upset Palin endorsed Handel; they withheld their endorsement on the grounds that Handel “thinks pre-screening embryos for genetic disorders and abnormalities is okay,” endorsing her opponent Nathan Deal. Susan B. Anthony List held off on endorsing anyone in the Georgia Republican primary. Georgia Right to Life went so far as to say that Handel was “barren” would have supported Palin’s son with Down’s Syndrome; these statements drew the ire of many on the Right and prompted Handel to call for their leaders’ resignation. [GRTL, 7/12/10; Red State, 7/22/10; Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 7/26/10]
Handel Shores Up Anti-Choice Endorsements to Rebut Georgia Right to Life’s Endorsement of Her Opponent.
The former director of the Georgia Right to Life PAC, Adrienne Susong said, “Karen is a loyal and trusted friend to conservatives in the pro-life, pro-family movement in Georgia… I’m supporting Karen because I believe that she will be a pro-life, pro-family, conservative Governor.” Sue Everhart, Chairman, Republican Party of Georgia said, “Karen Handel is pro-life. I don’t care what any other group says.” Stephen Dillard, a district chairman in Georgia for Governor Mike Huckabee’s 2008 presidential run said, “Karen Handel is absolutel
y committed to promoting a culture of life here in Georgia.” Elaine Boyer, DeKalb County Commissioner said, “My husband and I got involved in politics through the pro-life movement in the 1980′s and I have been a pro-life office holder since 1992. I was shocked to see Georgia Right to Life’s endorsements yesterday and I found their comments about Karen Handel to be insulting. I have been and continue to be a proud supporter of my friend, and pro-life candidate, Karen Handel to be Georgia’s next Governor.” [Karen Handel Campaign Blog, 7/14/10]
Handel Attacked Opponent Over His Vote to Fund Planned Parenthood.
In the GOP primary runoff, Handel attacked former Representative Nathan Deal over his vote in 1993 to approve $500 million in funding for Planned Parenthood. Said Handel in a debate, “I would like to point out that, you know, while he carries the Georgia Right To Life endorsement, he, too, voted to give funding to Planned Parenthood to the tune of $500 million. Yes, that’s a half a billion dollars.” [Associated Press, 7/24/10]
Planned Parenthood Was An Issue In The 2010 Republican Gubernatorial Primary.
Handel and her Republican opponent, Nathan Deal, traded attacks over each other’s past vote in favor of funding for Planned Parenthood, in order to gain the vote of social conservatives. In 2005, while she was the chair of the Fulton County Commission, Handel voted to direct $425,568 of a federal block grant towards Planned Parenthood for the purposes of preventive health care. In 1993, Deal, as a Democrat in Congress, voted in favor of funding for Planned Parenthood. [Athens Banner-Herald, 7/26/10]