Georgia Right To Life crosses the line in criticism of Karen Handel

From the diaries by Erick.

Georgia Right To Life has taken issue with Karen Handel‘s candidacy for the Republican nomination for the Georgia Governor’s race, but Handel isn’t taking it lying down.  In a release yesterday on their website, GRTL took direct aim at Handel over funding the Fulton County Commission provided to Planned Parenthood.


Mrs. Karen Handel is not pro-life, regardless of her statements to the contrary and despite her “many pro-life endorsements”. During her tenure as Chair of the Fulton County Commission, Planned Parenthood received $1.2 million over three years. [emphasis GRTL]

Yesterday, GRTL Executive Director Melanie Crozier had this to say about Sarah Palin endorsing Handel:

“I would say that we definitely will get involved as much as we can financially and throw our support behind [primary opponent] Nathan Deal,” Melanie Crozier, executive director of the Georgia Right to Life political action committee, told POLITICO.

The pro-life organization took particular issue with Handel’s support for abortions in the case of rape and incest and said she didn’t support enough restrictions to in vitro fertilization.

Because of those positions, Crozier said her organization was surprised by Palin’s endorsement, but said it was just another example of Palin trying to pick a winning female candidate.

“[Palin] has a son with Down’s Syndrome, and under Karen Handel’s laws, Handel would have felt like it was ok to go in and abort that child,” said Crozier. “But when you look at Sarah Palin’s pattern—going out finding mainly women candidates that were in the lead and endorsing them, that’s not really a surprise. She saw Handel had a decent lead, so I think she sort of jumped on the bandwagon.”

The Handel campaign fired back today with the following statement:

“This is a cruel and revolting lie and shows just how low GRTL leaders are willing to go for a political attack,” Handel said.  “I am deeply offended, and I can only imagine how offensive these callous remarks are to Governor Palin and her family – and to all Georgians.”

Handel, who is pro-life, does not and has never held any belief that could remotely be construed as supporting the act Crozier describes.

“My little sister was born with a rare, life-threatening medical condition – one that few, if any, babies at that time had ever survived.  It took miraculous, experimental neonatal care to save her and years of surgeries to ensure her the best that life can offer,” Handel said.  “My parents knew that she would likely be born with a health issue that she would likely not survive, but they chose life.  In doing so, they gave me a sister whom I love more than I could ever express – a wonderful young woman who has enriched my life beyond measure.  GRTL’s assertions that I would ever support what they claim are outrageous, untrue, and way, way over the line.”


Georgia Right To Life is technically correct in its assertion that Planned Parenthood’s receipt of money from Fulton County subsidizes its overhead.  Handel is also correct in stating that the money wasn’t intended to be used to fund abortions.  Herein lies the problem with funding any private organization with tax dollars:  That organization’s politically sensitive activities, whether it is Wal-Mart, Planned Parenthood or the Boy Scouts, will always be used to attack anyone with oversight of those funds.

The fact is that Handel is Pro-Life, and that GRTL has far-overstepped anything resembling the bounds of decency.  Attacking Karen Handel and stating that she’d have supported aborting Trig Palin is no different than the liberal accusation that Trig was in fact Bristol Palin’s son.  They have no evidence of the assertion and in fact have contravening statements from anyone relevant involved.  Rather than making a statement of fact, Melanie Crozier has taken the low-road to ad-hominem attacks and baseless claims of supporting euthanasia.

Look behind you, Ms. Crozier.  There’s the line.

Handel could have taken issue with the funding being provided to Planned Parenthood, but what recourse might Fulton County have had?  Where would the money have gone?  What other organization might have performed these functions?  Should they simply have not given out any funding for the program at all?*  What would GRTL have to say about Karen Handel refusing to fund cervical and breast cancer screenings?


The fact is, we’ll never know what GRTL might have said in that case because in the end the funding was issued.  Perhaps Handel should have issued a protest, at least to get it on the record that Planned Parenthood’s other activities were not to her liking, but that’s Monday Morning Quarterbacking.  There should be no expectation that a politician raise their hand every time something they find distasteful is tangentially reltated to a vote.  Nothing would ever get done.

Wait, maybe that’s a benefit.

In any event, this kind of all-or-nothing litmus test is simply absurd.  If one digs deep enough, any politician can be construed to have supported or opposed abortion, no matter what their personal beliefs about the act might be.  There are simply too many votes and too much legislative language for a single vote to have that kind of impact.

Personal attacks like the one made by Melanie Crozier are the last, desperate act of someone who has nothing to lose.  In fact, they indicate that side has already lost.  The naked truth is that GRTL has backed a candidate that has little real chance of winning and significant questions of ethics surrounding his campaign and his tenure in Congress.  Rather than forward their cause, GRTL is simply trying to remain relevant by trying to take Handel down, through whatever means necessary.

The Oxendine campaign tried the same thing just before the primary.  Oxendine went from First Place to Fourth in four days.  What will the consequences be fore Ms. Crozier and GRTL?



* Part of me wants to say, “YES!”


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