The Return of Karen Handel

Atlanta. Photo by Joey Kyber.

John Ossoff faced off against Republican Karen Handel in the Atlanta race to fill the seat recently vacated by HHS Secretary Tom Price—a seat once occupied by former speaker Newt Gingrich. Karen Handel—I heard that name before—oh yes, she was the genius who, while working with the Susan B. Komen Foundation convinced their board to defund Planned Parenthood’s breast cancer prevention programs.

The move touched off a crisis for Komen that resulted in plummeting donations, boycotts of their fundraising walks, and more. Permanent damage. As one of the classic, all-time screw-ups in the annals of crisis communications, the Komen fiasco was costly in every way, except to Planned Parenthood, which saw an upsurge in support. It helped tone their muscles for an even bigger fight and renewed the public’s awareness of the lengths anti-abortion zealots are willing to go to punish the group. Planned Parenthood responded with a frank and honest campaign that showed its PR savvy and should have taught Republican members of Congress a lesson. It didn’t. Similar attacks on Planned Parenthood during and since the 2016 campaign have help to strengthen opposition to President Trump and the Republicans in Congress.

American Flag. Photo by JP Valery.

Now, the organization has had much of its federal funding cut, and who knows what will happen politically. But, for women who rely on Planned Parenthood for cancer screenings, contraception and prevention, and primary care, this is a public health disaster.

Atlanta voters need to be reminded of Handel’s  complete disregard for women’s health. She is still willing to sacrifice that for the sake of her rigid anti-abortion views, which are not shared by most Americans.