Karen Handel

Anti-Choice Infighting Disrupts Georgia, Colorado Senate Races

In an echo of the electoral battle between Tea Party groups and the establishment GOP, Senate candidates in Colorado and Georgia are being caught up in a long-simmering conflict between purists and pragmatists in the anti-choice movement.

Rep. Cory Gardner of Colorado attracted national attention yesterday when he announced that he was reversing his previous support for radical and wildly unpopular anti-choice “personhood” laws. Personhood USA, the primary group pushing such laws, promptly responded with a press release declaring that "Cory Gardner has betrayed the Republican Party, his pro-life voters, and most importantly, unborn babies in Colorado” and (hilariously) insisting that Mitt Romney lost the 2012 election because he didn’t get behind personhood.

Now, the anti-choice site Life News is citing the Susan B. Anthony List's endorsement of Gardner in his previous congressional race to attack Personhood USA, accusing them of trying to sabotage the race. Reporter Steven Erkelt writes:

Unlike Harry Reid and his friends who control the Senate, Cory Gardner will give the pro-life movement another vote and the potential to actually pass legislation that will stop abortions and abortion funding. At a critical time when the rest of the pro-life movement is working in unison to win control of the Senate and stop abortion, Personhood USA should stop misleading pro-lifers about our pro-life candidates.

Meanwhile, in Georgia, anti-choice groups are also engaged in a public spat on strategy, linked to a contentious Republican Senate primary.

A brand new group called Georgia Life Alliance is reportedly challenging Georgia Right to Life, a prominent state anti-choice lobbying group that subscribes to the “all-or-nothing” strategy, for its spot representing Georgia within National Right to Life.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Jim Galloway writes that the public feud between the Georgia groups “has everything to do with the U.S. Senate race,” in which anti-choice absolutist Rep. Paul Broun is vying with Karen Handel, an anti-choice crusader who nevertheless supports legal exceptions for rape, incest, and the life of a pregnant woman – and has been endorsed by the Susan B. Anthony List .

There’s an assumption in these quarters that this has everything to do with the U.S. Senate race. U.S. Rep. Paul Broun, R-Athens, is prominently featured on the current GRTL website, praised for his endorsement of the organization’s aggressive approach – which some critics have described as all-or-nothing.

Likewise, the group’s antipathy toward former secretary of state Karen Handel dates to the 2010 race for governor and beyond.

The major point of contention: The National Right to Life organization allows for exceptions to abortion bans in cases of rape and incest. GRTL does not, and has insisted that no politician who endorses those exceptions can be considered pro-life.

Last June, Broun voted against a “fetal pain” abortion bill backed by House Republicans that would ban abortions after a fetus is 20 weeks old. He and Georgia Right to Life blanched when House Republican leaders inserted exceptions for rape and incest.

The vote last year on the national 20-week abortion ban pitted National Right to Life, which supported the ban even though it contained rape and incest exceptions, against Georgia Right to Life, which sided with Broun in saying it didn’t go far enough, and subsequently endorsed him for Senate.

Two other Georgia representatives in the race, Rep. Phil Gingrey and Rep. Jack Kingston, sided with the national group voted for the bill with the rape and incest exceptions, with Kingston saying, “As we live in this post Roe v. Wade world, the reality is that we have to play chess, not checkers."

In response to Georgia Right for Life’s breaking of ranks on the 20-week bill, RedState blogger Erick Erickson called for the formation of a rival Georgia group, a wish that has apparently come true this week.

UPDATE (3/27/14): Surprise, surprise: It turns out that Erickson was involved in the creation of Georgia Life Alliance, and will be on its board

CORRECTION: This post has been updated to clarify that Life News was citing Susan B. Anthony List's endorsement of Cory Gardner in a previous race.

Right Wing Leftovers - 3/10/14

  • Glenn Beck is tired of politics and vows to focus on re-shaping the culture by making movies and blah, blah, blah.
  • This is an actual article on The Daily Caller: "5 guys who hit on your girlfriend at CPAC in front of you."
  • For some reason, Richard Viguerie conducted his own independent straw poll at CPAC which ended up showing pretty much the same results as the official CPAC straw poll.
  • Mark Driscoll’s church is now saying that its successful effort to buy up copies of his book in order to get it on the bestseller list was an "unwise strategy" that it will never do again.
  • Finally, Georgia Right to Life is attacking the Susan B. Anthony List for endorsing Karen Handel because she "believes that some pre-born babies can be killed based on their manner of conception."

Former Komen Exec Karen Handel Fundraising Off Planned Parenthood Debacle

Remember two years ago when the Susan G. Komen For the Cure foundation abruptly dropped its grants to a Planned Parenthood breast-cancer screening program, setting off a national outcry, and prompting the resignation of the Komen official reportedly behind the decision?

The fallout of the debacle is still hurting Komen, which recently reported a 22 percent drop in income over the past year. But the decision to cut off grants to Planned Parenthood seems to be paying off for one person: Karen Handel, the former Komen vice president who was widelyreported to have been the driving force behind split.

Now running for Senate in Georgia, Handel has released a campaign video touting her role in severing Planned Parenthood from Komen and fighting back against the “left-wing groups” and “liberal media” that criticized her.

Back when the news first broke that Komen had dumped Planned Parenthood, Handel denied that the decision was motivated at all by her anti-choice politics, despite reports from sources in the organization that said she manipulated its rules to cast Planned Parenthood out.

The campaign video has a different take, framing Handel as an anti-choice crusader caught in a David vs. Goliath struggle. “As a strong believer in the sanctity of life, Karen Handel had to make a decision: keep quiet in the face of the liberal onslaught, or stand by her convictions,” the video announces.

In speeches and interviews, Handel has made the Planned Parenthood showdown a centerpiece of her biography. She even paved the way for her Senate run by releasing a book calling Planned Parenthood “thugs” and “bullies.”

Whatever Handel’s motivations or role in the Komen/Planned Parenthood split, the whole episode seems to be working out pretty well for her. The decision that Handel advocated for might have left Komen struggling financially, but Handel herself now has the perfect story to prove her status as an anti-choice activist martyred by the liberal media.

Right Wing Leftovers - 5/2/13

  • Buster Wilson is in a contest with colleagues to see who can gain the most Twitter followers by the end of the month.  We'd be happy to help ... but he's blocking us.
  • Is Karen Handel preparing for a Senate run from Georgia?
  • Bryan Fischer seems to be convinced that it is somehow effective for him to just keep repeating his call for a ban on Muslim immigration and mosques.
  • Glenn Beck is partnering with a Hollywood filmmaker on an art curriculum that he hopes to get into public schools.
  • Finally, the Justice Department is appealing a judge's decision striking down limits on Plan B, which only makes Matt Barber's incoherent conspiracy theory even more laughable.

Handel: Planned Parenthood 'Literally Co-Opted the Color Pink' from Komen

Former Susan G. Komen executive Karen Handel, the Georgia Republican politician who has been largely credited with the cancer charity’s disastrous decision last year to withdraw its grants to Planned Parenthood, spoke yesterday to the Family Research Council. Promoting her book about the episode, “Planned Bullyhood,” Handel accused Planned Parenthood of launching an “unprecedented, premeditated, Mafia-style assault” on Komen. Further, she alleges that Planned Parenthood “literally co-opted the color pink” from Komen in a sinister “bait and switch.”

 

Right Wing Leftovers - 12/12/12

  • Tomorrow, FRC will host a lecture and discussion featuring former Susan G. Komen Foundation president Karen Handel "on the bullying of Komen by Planned Parenthood."
  • Gary Bauer says opposition to Michigan's "right to work" law is "a perfect example of the left’s anti-freedom agenda."
  • Jake Tapper of ABC News seems to have become Glenn Beck's favorite journalist.
  • David Barton says that "recent years have seen a rekindling of national interest in America’s true history ," a fact that is "borne out" by the success of his book "The Jefferson Lies." Pardon us as we scoff derisively.
  • Finally, Justice Antonin Scalia ought to be very proud to receive the support of Matt Barber: "[I]nsofar as homosexual behavior is a deviant form of human sexuality and that it deviates from natural sexuality between male and female as we were unequivocally biologically designed, Justice Scalia is right. In a world that is embracing moral relativism, Justice Scalia is a voice for the reality that there are things that are true and there are things that are not true."

Former Komen Executive: Planned Parenthood Launched ‘Mafia-Style Attack,’ ‘Wanted to Destroy’ Komen

The former Susan G. Komen for the Cure executive who orchestrated the organization’s controversial and short-lived break from Planned Parenthood earlier this year, is out with a new book claiming that the funding dispute was all Planned Parenthood’s fault. In “Planned Bullyhood,” Karen Handel claims that Planned Parenthood turned its back on a “gentlewomen’s agreement” to not discuss the fact that Komen was withdrawing $680,000 a year in grants for breast cancer screenings through the organization’s clinics and then turned on Komen in a PR blitz.

Handel, an anti-choice activist and former GOP candidate who reportedly pushed the move within Komen, resigned shortly after the news of the break caused a national firestorm.

In interviews with right-wing radio hosts Janet Mefferd and Janet Parshall last week, Handel portrays herself as the victim of bullying by the “vicious” Planned Parenthood. She tells Mefferd that Planned Parenthood launched “a mafia-style attack” and that “Komen was held hostage for a mere $680,000.” She sees a double standard in the fact that President Obama didn’t call her after she was criticized, “like he did Sandra Fluke”:


Handel:
The left and Planned Parenthood, they were threatening Komen’s corporate sponsors: “See what we’re doing to Komen? If you don’t stop supporting them, we’re gonna do the same to you.” They were just filling up the Facebooks, Twitter, Komen’s website crashed, there were bomb threats, corporate sponsors were threatened. It really was almost a mafia-style attack, if you will, and Komen was held hostage for a mere $680,000. And Planned Parenthood and the left, they wanted this to be about politics. I believe they used Komen purposefully as a pawn, if you will, in this ridiculous so-called “War on Women” and these cries of “women’s health.” And Janet, my question for you, and I just find this all so insulting, how in the world did the issue of women’s health get reduced to being about abortion and contraception?

Meffered: Right. I’m with you.

Handel: I just reject that. I reject that notion, and I think that most women do too.

Mefferd: Oh, completely. And what I found very interesting, Karen, doing the show that I do, and being pro-life and knowning a lot of pro-lifers, when Susan G. Komen made that decision and all the pro-lifers were going “Yes, finally, great!,” the next thing people were saying was, “Now watch what Planned Parenthood will do to them.” You know, we knew. We knew exactly how Planned Parenthood would react, though admittedly it was more over the top than I think a lot of us believed it would be. It was shameful what they did.

Handel: You know, it really was. And you know, they had such an amicable partner in all of it, which was the liberal mainstream press, which really served almost as an extension of all of it and really targeted the politics, my personal politics, Ambassador Brinker’s personal politics. And I’d like to point out, you did not see Susan G. Komen for the Cure endorsing presidential candidates the way Planned Parenthood has, you don’t see Komen investing, what’s Planned Parenthood gonna spend, almost $10 million in campaign ads to support Barack Obama. Nobody, the president didn’t call me and let me know he was sorry about the attacks that I faced, like he did Sandra Fluke.

Handel told Parshall that Planned Parenthood’s “agenda” is “not about women’s health” or “they would not have wanted to try to destroy” Komen.

Parshall: Planned Parenthood’s assault, to use your word, and by the way you started using that word back in February of this year, way before it became the title of your book, if they’re bullying people because they might have a pro-life position, it really calls into account whether they are pro-women or whether they are politically aligned rather than rising to a higher cause.

Handel: I think that’s right, I think you’ve really hit on it, Janet. And for Komen, that’s exactly what Komen was trying to do. Komen wanted to be in a place where everyone, regardless of whether they were pro-life or on the other side of the issue, would be able to embrace the organization and embrace the mission. We wanted to be neutral and we wanted to be good stewards of dollars. Don’t get me wrong, it was both. Planned Parenthood, on the other hand, they were willing to sacrifice Komen for the sake of their agenda, which is not about women’s health. If it was about women’s health, they would not have wanted to try to destroy an organization that was doing such good work in the area of breast cancer.

Karen Handel Plays the Victim in Interview Attacking Planned Parenthood

Former Georgia Secretary of State and Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation vice president Karen Handel appeared on the 700 Club today where she blamed the controversy of Komen’s decision to stop funding Planned Parenthood’s clinical breast cancer screenings and mammogram referrals…on Planned Parenthood. Handel, who as an unsuccessful Republican gubernatorial candidate in Georgia pledged to defund Planned Parenthood, acknowledged her role in convincing the organization to break ties with the women’s health group, but claimed that she was not the sole authority behind the decision.

While speaking with the Christian Broadcasting Network, Handel tried to blame Planned Parenthood for the controversy, even though it was the Komen foundation which ended its partnership with Planned Parenthood following pressure campaigns from anti-choice organizations. She attacked Planned Parenthood for leading a “premeditated, orchestrated attack” on the Komen foundation “not for sake of women’s health but for the sake of politics and a political agenda.” Later in the interview, she said Planned Parenthood’s actions were “nothing short of a shakedown” and that the media was biased in the group’s favor.

Watch:

'Pro-Life' Activists Pile Praise Decision to Defund Breast Cancer Screenings at Planned Parenthood with Phony Science

After a fierce pressure campaign, the Religious Right is positively giddy about the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation’s move to stop funding breast exams and mammogram referrals at Planned Parenthood, which conducts approximately 750,000 breast exams every year.

Now, anti-choice activists are returning to the discredited charge that abortion causes breast cancer.

To be clear, the US National Cancer Institute found that both induced and spontaneous abortion “is not linked to an increase in breast cancer risk” and a study by Harvard professor Karin B. Michels of the Harvard Medical School similarly concluded that “neither induced nor spontaneous abortion was associated with the incidence of breast cancer.”

Furthermore, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists claim that the most recent and methodologically sound studies “demonstrate no causal relationship between induced abortion and a subsequent increase in breast cancer risk” and the American Cancer Society called the purported link a “false alarm” since “the scientific evidence does not support the notion that abortion of any kind raises the risk of breast cancer or any other type of cancer.”

Talk show host Janet Parshall appeared on Today’s Issues with Ed Vitagliano and claimed that Komen was in an “unholy alliance” with Planned Parenthood and said “might be a cause of some of the reasons why people are wearing pink ribbons, pink t-shirts and running in the race.” Vitagliano said that legal abortion “may very well be an explanation of why the incidence of breast cancer in this country is so staggeringly high”:

Bryan Fischer on Focal Point today alleged that “early abortions are a risk factor, a huge risk factor, perhaps the main risk factor for breast cancer.” According to Fischer, “Planned Parenthood is out there causing breast cancer”:

Fischer also praised Karen Handel, the former Republican politician with a history of attacking Planned Parenthood who was recently named Komen’s Vice President for Public Policy, as a hero for “standing in the gap” against “the Enemy”:

Religious Right Praises Komen for Cutting off Breast Exams at Planned Parenthood but Demands Further Capitulations

The Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation, following a long campaign from anti-choice group, decided to end its partnership with Planned Parenthood, which received grants to provide breast exams along with mammogram referrals. Planned Parenthood provides an estimated 750,000 breast exams a year and 16% of their services are related to cancer prevention and screening, compared to just 3% for abortion services.

But anti-choice activists wanted Komen to sever ties with Planned Parenthood even if that meant denying women access to healthcare, and won a preliminary victory when they convinced LifeWay, the bookstore of the Southern Baptist Convention, to stop selling Komen’s “Pink Bibles” over their Planned Parenthood ties.

The Religious Right also scored a victory when Komen appointed former Georgia Secretary of State and Republican gubernatorial candidate Karen Handel, who as a candidate pledged to “eliminate” Planned Parenthood funding, Senior Vice President for Public Policy.

The foundation’s less than believable reason for cutting of funding for breast exams at Planned Parenthood was the politically-charged investigation launched by Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL) into the women’s health group, which is greatly based on the smear campaign by Lila Rose, who recently told WORLD magazine that lying is appropriate as long as it’s for a worthy cause.

Now, anti-choice activists are demanding that Congress, like Komen, defund Planned Parenthood, and even calling on Komen to continue to bend to their demands by dropping its support for stem cell research.

Mark Crutcher of Life Dynamics, the group which made the discredited film Maafa 21 that claims legal abortion is a plot to commit black genocide, told the American Family Association’s OneNewsNow that Congress should follow Komen’s lead and defund Planned Parenthood:

"It is fantastic news," says Mark Crutcher of Life Dynamics. "You know, we've been putting pressure on Komen for years over this issue because there's a lot of good people who have supported this organization in the past who had no idea that they gave money to Planned Parenthood, the nation's largest profiteer on abortion."

Crutcher believes other Komen donors did take notice of the donations to Planned Parenthood.

"Absolutely -- [and] the federal government ought to take notice of it," he adds. "Planned Parenthood ... is a corrupt organization. Not just corrupt morally, but legally corrupt organization. Why should they be getting over a million dollars a day in taxpayer money?"

Family Research Council president Tony Perkins hailed Komen’s decision and called on Congress to do the same:

Susan G. Komen's decision to stop funding the abortion industry is good news for women seeking help dealing with breast cancer. This is also good news for the lives of many unborn babies. Congress should also act accordingly given that Planned Parenthood receives over $487 million annually in state and federal funds. If Susan G. Komen can chose to stop subsidizing the abortion giant, surely Congress can redirect its resources to those helping women, not making a profit off the lives of unborn children.

Lou Engle’s Bound4Life, which pushed LifeWay bookstores to stop selling Komen’s “Pink Bible,” commended Komen but like Perkins, asked the group to go even farther to please the far-right by abandoning their support of stem cell research. The group gloated that while “Komen says these public criticisms are not a factor in their choice to stop funding Planned Parenthood, it’s hard to believe that the pressure didn’t impact the decision:

If you recall, we first broke the Komen Bible story here at Bound4LIFE, as well as the wise and admirable decision by LifeWay to pull that funding and stop press. We have covered the constant funding of the abortion provider for several years, along with many other pro-life agencies. Though Komen says these public criticisms are not a factor in their choice to stop funding Planned Parenthood, it’s hard to believe that the pressure didn’t impact the decision.

While we have not received word that Komen still supports embryonic stem cell research, which is also a pro-life issue, we should be vocal in thanking Komen for this decision. In essence, it eliminates the middle man, allowing women who need real mammograms to call Komen and be directed to a place that actually does them. Komen’s funds haven’t changed—only where they give them.

Let’s rejoice but let’s not stop praying! Today’s announcement isn’t given with permanence. Komen officials state they want to keep a "positive relationship" with Planned Parenthood, so that, along with their support of embryonic stem cell research, means we shouldn’t be running to sign up for a Race for the Cure quite yet, but we should positively reinforce what’s happening and thank Komen for this decision. Every step is a step for LIFE.

Pray for this to be permanent; pray the truth behind the abortion industry is exposed in this congressional investigation—and thank Komen, as well. If the public support is higher for cutting support than not, Komen is unlikely to return to it.
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