Now that Karen Handel has stepped down from the Susan G. Komen Foundation, it seems that she can get back into Georgia Republican politics with her head held up high. One Georgia-based GOP strategist tells the AP, "It's kind of hard to criticize her now. She comes out of this with some really strong bona fides with pro-life voters across the state." Right, the pro-lifers who made an issue of her... being "barren," "infertile" and "desperate."
Komen's surprising decision to defund Planned Parenthood's breast cancer-prevention programs sparked a backlash against the breast cancer charity, forcing Komen to try to spin the news and ultimately reverse its decision. Komen sources revealed that Handel, Komen's VP for public policy, was the driving force behind the defunding, which made since given that Handel's failed 2010 Georgia gubernatorial platform included a vow to eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood ("First, let me be clear, since I am pro-life, I do not support the mission of Planned Parenthood").
Handel stepped down from Komen yesterday, claiming responsibility for the move but also laid blame on the rest of Komen, and is now well-positioned back in Georgia. Back in 2010, during her gubernatorial campaign, she was slammed by Georgia Right to Life, which brought up her infertility. The group's president Dan Becker said, "Ms. Handel proclaims herself pro-life; however, she does not meet the 21st century demands of being pro-life. For instance, Handel believes that a child may be aborted based on its manner of conception. When I asked her directly her thoughts on the value of embryos, she answered that she does not believe that an embryonic human is a child." Hello, personhood!
But Handel's campaign said that was false, claiming, "First, [GRTL] disagree with her stance regarding exceptions to an abortion ban in cases of rape and incest. Secondly, Karen opposes the group’s push to ban invitro fertilization, which has helped so many couples realize their dream of having children. The group has proposed legislation to virtually eliminate invitro. In a meeting with Karen, the group’s leadership told her directly that fertility treatments are immoral and that their goal is to completely ban the procedure." Handel had to address her own infertility—"My husband Steve and I tried for nearly ten years to have children. It is the single greatest disappointment in my life, and I can say with certainty that no one in this race cherishes human life more than I do." But that wasn't good enough for Becker, who said, "Someone’s desperate right to parenthood - because they’re infertile, they’re barren, whatever term you want to use - is an emotionally fraught subject that has our highest sympathy. But it should never be attempted to be addressed where a life is taken in the process.”
Now, though, Becker says, "I commend her for" her role in the whole Komen-Planned Parenthood debacle.