Abortion debate a dividing line in Georgia 6th race

Republican Karen Handel got national attention when she quit a breast-cancer charity because of its ties to an abortion provider. Democrat Jon Ossoff credits his first-place finish in the election to strong support from women who back his abortion rights stance.

A split on abortion is poised to be one of the starkest contrasts between the two candidates in the nationally-watched June 20 runoff to represent a north Atlanta district. And a day after the special election, both contenders dug in.

Ossoff’s campaign, fueled by a corps of women volunteers from upstart groups, has aimed to win over young voters and college-educated women critical of Donald Trump. An unabashed supporter of abortion rights, he claimed Handel used her role at a nonprofit to raise her national profile.

“Karen Handel abused her position at a breast cancer foundation to attack women’s health care for her own political gain,” he said in an interview. “I will be an independent voice for Georgia’s women. I will defend their access to reproductive healthcare. And they’ll be able to count on me.”

He’s referring to Handel’s 2012 decision to quit the Susan G. Komen Foundation. She served as a vice president for policy but quit after it reversed a decision to cut ties with Planned Parenthood. Her book about the episode, called “Planned Bullyhood,” made her a darling to national conservatives.

Handel has said the decision to cut ties to Planned Parenthood was motivated by financial and not political reasons.

In an interview, Handel called herself a “strong proponent of women’s health” and said boosting funding for community health centers, not Planned Parenthood, is the best way to improve access to treatment. She said the network of health centers are more accessible than the four Planned Parenthood clinics across the state. (One of the four is listed as temporarily closed.)

“They are the front lines of healthcare for poor women, and they offer services everyone needs access to,” she said of health centers, adding that they offer contraception. “I want to see more dollars go there so we really are offering more women access to healthcare.”

Planned Parenthood has long been targeted by opponents of abortion rights, and Trump recently signed legislation that allows states to withhold federal funds from it.  A spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood called Handel an “anti-healthcare extremist” after her No. 2 finish Tuesday in Georgia’s special election.

More: Handel, Ossoff enter next phase in Georgia special election

Reader Comments 2

284 comments
Don Knight Sr.
Don Knight Sr.

Well what about the woman who decides to have sex? Does she think about the consequences? I'm referring to reasonably intelligent women, not flat out uneducated ignorant people whose patents did a poor job.

Raven Arthur
Raven Arthur

If you don't want to have an abortion, then don't have one... don't take someone else's right away though.

Don Knight Sr.
Don Knight Sr.

If you don't want a life in side you, don't allow the process to occur!!!!

Raven Arthur
Raven Arthur

And Planned Parenthood can help you with that option also

Robert Randolph
Robert Randolph

Dems are reaching for the distortion of their favorite issue as they always do when they are losing.

Don Knight Sr.
Don Knight Sr.

Based on the first 100 days,I'm chanting 4 more years. Chew on that, Democrats!!!!!

Susan Geisel
Susan Geisel

The debate needs to stop being about abortion. Basically, the debate needs to be whether a woman has the right to determine her own healthcare. Period. Too many men, and not a few women, think that a woman's healthcare should be determined legislatively, as being female automatically means you cannot make these determinations over her own body. If we change the color of the debate to a much wider view, maybe those who think a woman is smart enough to determine her own healthcare will prevail.

Ryan Garrett
Ryan Garrett

Why do candidates live and die by social issues?

Chloecake
Chloecake

Please.  As if the Republicans don't want to cut funding for school lunches and healthcare, or oppose equal pay or increasing the minimum wage, or protection from gun violence or even reasonable college tuitions. In other words everything that might give a child some chance at a safe childhood and a chance at a better future. Over and over again in budget matters the Republicans demonstrate their allegiance to defunding safety nets that affect families.

Lucy Strauss
Lucy Strauss

It might be the woman's choice but when it comes to the government paying for an abortion then it becomes my choice bec as use its my money psying and I do not believe in murder nor do I want to be an as accomplished to it. Planned parenthood is suppose to be before the fact. Stop wasting money ,

Becky Kimberly Dye
Becky Kimberly Dye

Just out of curiosity, how much of YOUR money would you estimate has been used to pay for abortions? Are you familiar with the Hyde Amendment? Are you willing to remove a woman's choice simply because you are concerned that a few of your hard earned cents *may* be used to fund an abortion that is allowed under the Hyde Amendment (in situations of rape, incest, or significant health threat to the mother)?

Chloecake
Chloecake

You've never heard of the Hyde Act?  This bill prohibits the use of federal funds for abortions and for healthcare that includes abortions. Get a clue.

Tim Peacoe
Tim Peacoe

Evil is good and good is evil in the name of abortion called womens health just don't spread your legs to every man that comes along and this was written by me donna

Jacki Clark Bosco
Jacki Clark Bosco

Why is there such a thing as a "defining issue"? You can be against a woman's right to an abortion all you want, but right now, it is the law. There are other things that need attention urgently.....like the infrastructure which is falling apart in our country. Like medical care for everyone in our country. Like repairing our education system. Things which do not require a law or the removal of a law, but rather common sense and work by our representatives. If you do not support a woman's right to an abortion.....don't have one, if you are a woman. If you are a man, make damn sure you and the woman you marry are on the same page before you say I do. If you are single, be sure to have the "what if" talk before you decide to have unprotected sex.

Ute Gad
Ute Gad

Every time you turn around Handel is running for office again.

Robert Willett
Robert Willett

Right. Go watch Faux News a Adam Jones baby food.

Joe Hoopaugh
Joe Hoopaugh

Many people wish Ossoff's mother had believed in abortion...

Mark Thornton
Mark Thornton

There is no debate about killing babies, only if you choose to!!!

Kathleen Jones-Johnson
Kathleen Jones-Johnson

Karen not good for district six she is big spender.. and pro life crazy. you be pro life but you can not lie and cheat on plan parent hood if you want to control everybody body you will be in eVerybody business.NO on KAren AND HER bUDDY TRUMP

Blue Smith
Blue Smith

You were doing fine until you said the T word. You have to convince all the People not just some that this candidate is not for this district. Point out all her personal flaws and make them big issues. Putting someone else in there gets people distracted. That's old news, a done deal. People want something new now. Just thought I would pass on a few tips I am discovering. I mean no offense....just saying

Kerry Oaborne
Kerry Oaborne

No contest. We can easily #HandeltheDemocrats in the 6th

Robert Willett
Robert Willett

Especially if you keep folks from voting like she did when 40,000 ballots were lost during the 2010 elections.

Kerry Oaborne
Kerry Oaborne

It's good to make excuses before you lose. It makes it easier.

Cynthia Trent
Cynthia Trent

Don't even go there focus on the real issues - people trying to kill all of us, balancing budget, rebuild military, less government intervention in our lives & enforcing all laws.

Rob Danner
Rob Danner

Good! Will find out what kind of people we have in the six district

Morgan Beckham
Morgan Beckham

As Ronald Reagan once said I notice everyone who supports abortion has already been born

Robert Zakem
Robert Zakem

It's been 40+ years since Rowe v. Wade and this still one of the key issues that divides our country. What...are we going to have to have another civil war to settle this?

Marci Baer McCarthy
Marci Baer McCarthy

I am not sure why we are having this debate either as it was decided by the Supreme Court. There are many more important issues that we need resolved in the GA6th and for our country. We need someone with experience and who actually lives in our district to represent us. #KarenHandel

Jeri Henson Dies
Jeri Henson Dies

All those Republican men who have paid for abortions for their girlfriends--I believe that is called hypocrisy.

Marci Baer McCarthy
Marci Baer McCarthy

Karen Handel is a female Republican that is pro-life. Ossoff is a male Democrat. So I am not understanding your point about Republican Males paying for abortions for their girlfriends. And Bill Clinton along with lots of Democrats also have lots of "girl friends." (I say that loosely in Bill Clinton's case.)

Cheri Hall-Read
Cheri Hall-Read

A woman has the right under the law to her privacy and her health care. No one likes abortion, no one wants to face that decision, but to be clear, it is her choice. Not yours or mine or the government. We have much bigger problems to worry about now, like a crazy man in office who wants to send your kids to war and possibly never come home. That too is a child of God who does not want you to do this.

Robert Willett
Robert Willett

Neither is the destruction of human life through cold and inhuman social policy designed to line the pockets of those who already have.

Greg Maddox
Greg Maddox

You people can spin it any way you want, killing a baby by any means is murder. Abortion is not healthcare, period

Greg Maddox
Greg Maddox

Ellen, women that would kill a baby have no shame.

Cheri Hall-Read
Cheri Hall-Read

Nancy Woodard you don't even deserve an answer....geesh

Ellen Walyus
Ellen Walyus

No woman anywhere has a right to kill another human being, much less murder a baby. Shame on you!

Delane Cunningham
Delane Cunningham

Ellen Walyus You have a basic disregard for biology. Even the Bible mentions the "breath of life"... go study.

Cheri Hall-Read
Cheri Hall-Read

Ellen Walyus So if you were raped you would want to abort? Or a victim of incest, same answer? The fact is you can't speak someone unless you have walked in their shoes. As I said, this law was passed years ago, everyone is free to choose. Going to war and killing someone is murder too, but you don't find that an unforgivable sin? But murder is murder, right?

Nancy Woodard
Nancy Woodard

Trump is trying to save America and make it better. There have been wars and rumors of wars since the beginning of time. Instead of aiding and abetting the enemy as Obama did, Trump is letting them know we are not the cowards that they led to believe. Would you rather we bow down to these terrorists or fight them? Would you rather they keep bombing us and beheading us, or go to war with them??

Robert Willett
Robert Willett

Shame on you. No one has the right to kill people through rotten social legislation which denies millions proper health care, job opportunities, etc. Austerity has killed more innocent people than abortion ever will.

Robert Willett
Robert Willett

Trump is aiding and abetting the enemy by continuing to get involved in military confrontations as they want him to step in quicksand.

Nancy Woodard
Nancy Woodard

So you think it's ok for the president to sit back and twiddle his thumbs and do nothing while ISIS and other terrorists kill innocent people just because they don't believe like they do? It's obvious you are Obama lovers.

Greg Maddox
Greg Maddox

You people can spin it any way you want, killing a baby by any means is murder. Abortion is not healthcare

Chloecake
Chloecake

Everyone is referring to the all the stages of a pregnancy as producing a "baby." Not so. Plan B is used to terminate a pregnancy when the "new life" is an embryo, no different than invisible-to-the-naked-eye embryos in a petri dish.Or frozen embryos for in vetro fertilization. Plan B prevents attachment thus it never becomes viable or a "baby." 

Chloecake
Chloecake

And the Bible is based on what peer reviewed study as an authority on pregnancy?

Sylvia Johnson Yarbrough
Sylvia Johnson Yarbrough

Killing a person who is defenseless to defend their self is murder. That is the truth! End of discussion!

Cheri Hall-Read
Cheri Hall-Read

Sylvia Johnson Yarbrough As I have said, no one wants to have to face this decision, but the fact is you don't know what the circumstances may be, it is still better to have a place where women could get help safely instead of seeing more women die in a botched abortion. The key is education on safe sex. And don't tell me a good girl doesn't do the dirty, you know that isn't true. Pro choice does not mean Pro abortion, it means a woman has the right to choose what she sees best for her, not you or anyone else. Period.