Georgia 6th: Handel faces new attack over Komen stance

Democrat Jon Ossoff launched a new TV spot Saturday featuring breast cancer survivors who assailed Republican Karen Handel’s record, claiming she was “putting her agenda first” during her tenure at a breast-cancer charity.

“She jeopardized cancer screenings for thousands of women,” said one survivor, followed by another who added: “If Karen Handel didn’t want to fund Planned Parenthood, she didn’t have to take the job at Susan G. Komen.”

The two rivals in the nationally-watched June 20 runoff for the 6th District have traded ads and accusations for weeks over Handel’s short-lived time at the Susan G. Komen Foundation and its high-profile aftermath.

As vice president for policy, she engineered the foundation’s 2012 decision to halt its partnerships with Planned Parenthood. She soon resigned amid a furious backlash that alienated many staunch supporters of the charity.

Handel has said she would push to boost funding for community health centers – there are four in the district and no Planned Parenthood facilities – because they are more accessible to residents.

Ossoff has called Handel’s position on Planned Parenthood “nonsense” and said women in the district need both types of facilities.

“What we don’t need is for career politicians to be imposing their rigid personal views at the expense of public health in Georgia,” he said.

Planned Parenthood, often targeted by conservative critics because it is a provider of abortions, conducts hundreds of thousands of breast cancer screenings each year, and refers patients to outside clinics for mammograms.

Handel and Ossoff are at the center of this month’s election to represent the district, which spans from east Cobb to north DeKalb. Republicans have long held the territory, but upset-minded Democrats hope to strike a blow to Donald Trump’s presidency with a win.

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About the Author

Greg Bluestein
Greg Bluestein
Greg Bluestein is a political reporter who covers the governor's office and state politics for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.