ATLANTA, Georgia, April 18, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — Pro-life Catholic Karen Handel is the leading Republican candidate for the Congressional seat vacated by Tom Price after he became the Trump administration's head of Health and Human Services.
Georgia is holding a special election on April 18, with the two top candidates, regardless of party, advancing to a run-off vote to be held June 20.
Eighteen people are vying for the seat, with Democrat Jon Ossoff the overall leader. An Opinion Savvy poll showed that Ossoff, a former congressional aide, would have 40 percent of the vote if it were held today.
Handel leads among Republicans even though she has only recently started an advertising campaign. She is recognized as the former Georgia Secretary of State (2007-2010) and a candidate for governor as well as for the Senate. But it is her involvement with Susan G. Komen for the Cure — and against Planned Parenthood — that has made Handel a household name among pro-lifers.
In 2011, Handel was appointed senior vice president of public policy for the breast cancer charity, which is opposed by many Christians because of its close ties to the nation's largest abortion provider and its denial of the repeatedly proven connection between previous abortion and breast cancer.
At the time, Planned Parenthood's “many controversies were fueling backlash against Komen,” a summary of Handel's book, Planned Bullyhood, explained. Komen “wanted to remove themselves from the pro-life/abortion debate and made what it thought was a rational, reasonable decision: seek neutral ground in the culture war by severing ties with” the abortion behemoth.
As Komen's public policy senior VP, Handel was tasked with identifying options to disengage. Komen management agreed with Planned Parenthood that they would “part ways amicably,” because media controversy was in neither organization's interest.
In November 2011, with Congress looking into Planned Parenthood's illegal activities, Handel submitted to the Komen board a policy that the charity would no longer fund organizations under criminal investigation. This move not only took Komen out of the abortion debate and its link to cancer but eliminated “pass-through grants” that gave funds to middleman organizations like Planned Parenthood, which would in turn give the funding to health clinics that actually offered mammograms.
In December 2011, the Komen board approved Handel's proposal and the new policy was announced in January 2012.
Pro-abortion politicians, lobbyists and Planned Parenthood officials responded to the announcement with vitriol. A campaign against a women's charity was unleashed, pressuring Komen to take back its new policy and re-fund Planned Parenthood.
Among other things, the breast cancer charity was accused of being anti-woman. “Komen is abandoning women” went viral on social media. Komen began losing donations.
Faced with an overwhelming media campaign “so viral and so seamlessly executed that it must have been in the works for some time,” Komen reversed its policy the same week it announced its adoption.
“We want to apologize to the American public for the recent decisions that cast doubt upon our commitment to our mission of saving women's lives,” the group said in a statement.
Articles in The Atlantic and the Huffington Post pointed the finger at Handel, who was known to be a pro-life Catholic. She resigned her post at Komen shortly after the charity reversed course to fund Planned Parenthood again.
Handel has written a book about her experience at Komen, entitled, Planned Bullyhood: The Truth Behind the Headlines about the Planned Parenthood Funding Battle with Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
With Handel leading the Republican pack for Congresswoman, the other GOP hopefuls are “facing mounting pressure to go on the offensive” against her. One super PAC has already said it “could soon target Handel.”
The Opinion Savvy poll shows Ossoff in a dead heat against GOP challengers. It surveyed 462 registered voters within the Congressional 6th District.