Deal, Handel continue to spar over abortion

Heading into the first weekend of the three-week runoff campaign, Republican gubernatorial hopefuls on Friday continued to spar over abortion rights and funding.

This time it was former U.S. Rep. Nathan Deal on the defensive about a vote he made in 1993 that authorized $470 million in grants and contracts for family planning services. Deal, as well as Georgia Right to Life, a leading abortion rights opposition group, have been critical of Karen Handel over a vote she made while on Fulton County Commission that approved about $400,000 to go to Planned Parenthood.

Deal and Handel will face off on Aug. 10 in the Republican runoff.

Deal spokesman Brian Robinson said he was still researching the bill from 1993, which was first reported Friday by Erick Erickson on his conservative blog Erickson, who also founded popular Georgia Republican blog PeachPundit, is supporting Handel for governor.

But, Robinson acknowledged “there seems to be a vote here that sticks out from his record. But Nathan has always been pro-life.”

Handel, meanwhile, continued to accuse Georgia Right to Life of distorting her positions. At an appearance with Deal at a lunch of Cobb County Republican women on Friday, Handel said GRTL is “wrong on the issue of in vitro fertilization. They’re wrong on fertility treatments. They’ve also been grossly misstating my beliefs on this issue.”

Handel supports fewer restrictions on in vitro fertilization and fertility treatments. GRTL advocates more restrictions.

On Thursday, Handel said two top GRTL leaders should resign over comments critical of her and of former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who has endorsed Handel.

At the Cobb County event on Friday, both candidates were asked to define what it means to be “pro-life.”

“My definition is someone who believes in the sanctity of life,” Deal said. “Someone who believes life begins at conception. Someone who will fight to protect innocent life.”

Deal said he has a “100 percent voting regard in that regard.”

But, in 1993, Robinson said, when the vote was taken, Deal had a 89 percent record from abortion opposition groups. In more recent years he’s had a top rating from those groups.

Handel told the Cobb County women that “it’s no secret that I have a little different perspective.”

“I am an absolute, pro-life Christian,” Handel said. “I do believe life begins at conception. I also believe, however, that as a policymaker, that while we strive to save every unborn baby we possibly can, we also have to look at every situation that’s out there. And for government to look in the face of the mother of a 13-year-old who has the bad fortune of having been raped and then became pregnant, and tell that mother what’s going to happen in her family, I think that’s between that family, their faith and God.”

65 comments Add your comment


July 23rd, 2010
5:21 pm

[...] Deal, Handel continue to spar over abortionAtlanta Journal Constitution (blog)Heading into the first weekend of the three-week runoff campaign, Republican gubernatorial hopefuls on Friday continued to spar over abortion rights and …GOP candidates for GA gov clash on abortion, taxesRome News TribuneHandel faces Deal in Republican runoff for Governor of GeorgiaExaminer.comThe Palin effectThe EconomistWashington Examiner -Coosa Valley News -Execte Newsall 698 news articles » [...]


July 23rd, 2010
5:52 pm

At least there is finally some discussion of these important issues. Maybe some folks will look beyond the sound bites and learn what IVF involves and how it can be abused (Octomom isn’t the only problem with unrestricted IVF). Maybe some will think through why an unborn child should be killed for the sins of her father…and if abortion might not add another cruel blow to an already victimized girl. It’s not like it is a treat to have sharp instruments put inside you to remove a living little being. Yes, pregnancy and childbirth are difficult, but adoptive parents are very available for those unready to parent, and a girl who makes the adoption choice should be admired.


July 23rd, 2010
6:08 pm

“….between family, faith and God” sounds fair and enough said. So why does government have to get involved. Let’s pray that everyone will be allowed to have control over there own lives without pressure from outside groups and the so-called “righteous”. Peace


July 23rd, 2010
6:12 pm

Government out of our lives, except when we want to ban gay marriage, abotion, etc, Then welcome in govt. Hypocrite thy name is republican.

DJ Sniper

July 23rd, 2010
6:19 pm

Enter your comments here


July 23rd, 2010
6:25 pm



July 23rd, 2010
6:26 pm

It is wrong to hide behind privacy as an excuse to do nothing to try to save the life of an unborn child at risk of abortion because the child’s father has committed an act of rape. It is the rapist not the innocent child who should be punished.
Since abortion is an act of violence against the child, it is a totally inappropriate response to offer victims/survivors of violence, a service that comprises per se another act of violence, this time an act of violence in which there are two victims, the hurting mother and her own aborted child.

Abortion violence, though it is perpetrated in medical or quasi-medical settings, still amounts to subjecting the child before birth to capital punishment. It is a heinous form of treachery that health care clinics for mothers and children offer abortion violence as a “treatment” or “service” that executes children innocent of any crime.

Both the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights Article 6(5) and the American Convention Article 4(5) make explicit the very important connection between protecting unborn children and capital punishment. Sentence of death shall not be carried out on pregnant women.

The maternal reprieve was an ancient rule of common law and recognized that the child in the womb had a right to life even when the child’s mother had forfeited through a capital offence her own right to life.

If the unborn child is not to be executed for the crimes of his/her mother than neither should he or she be executed for the crimes of his/her father.

It is indefensible to respond with a lethal act of violence against her child whose social origin lies in the paternal crime of rape. The selective abortion of such a child is based on prejudice not justice.
We need to deal with this appalling social climate in which vestiges of public censure of act of rape spill over quite irrationally to the pregnancy that result from this act. It is a cruel folly that the injustice and evil of acst of rape are so often transferred to the pregnancies so that the unborn babies themselves begin to be treated as unjust and evil.

DJ Sniper

July 23rd, 2010
6:28 pm

Jeb, I agree with you 100%. Can anybody tell me when, or if, Deal and Handel will actually start discussing the issues that most people want to know about: jobs, water, transportation, Sunday alcohol sales, etc? Or are they gonna spend the next three weeks arguing about who hates gays more and who is more opposed to abortion?

For the record, I have no problem with abortion. I also have no issue with people who are opposed to abortion. My problem is with people who think that they or the government has the right to regulate the decisions a woman can make. When it comes to abortion, that decision rests with one person and one person only: The woman who is trying to decide whether or not to have one. Everybody else needs to stay the hell out of it.


July 23rd, 2010
6:36 pm

Poor Handel, trying to be almost rational in a right wing run off. A woman needs to be told just what to do by government and given dispensation only when the circumstances fit within the morality, she hopes, of the electorate to which she is pandering. And she’s getting grief for such a sop from the crazies.


July 23rd, 2010
6:41 pm

Rita, may I assume you are opposed to the death penalty?

“Since abortion is an act of violence against the child, it is a totally inappropriate response to offer victims/survivors of violence, a service that comprises per se another act of violence….”

Power Player

July 23rd, 2010
8:19 pm

DJ Sniper – You state, “I also have no issue with people who are opposed to abortion. My problem is with people who think that they or the government has the right to regulate the decisions a woman can make. When it comes to abortion, that decision rests with one person and one person only: The woman…” You basically state you have no problem with people that oppose abortion, except those that oppose abortion.

On a second matter, Republicans are not hypocrites. Stating that gays and homosexuals do not have the same rights is flawed. Everyone has the same right. Everyone can marry someone of the opposite gender. To twist it any other way os to make illogical sense. I certainly support anything that does not impact me. Gays and lesbians should be able to make decisions for their lover in an accident, etc. However, I should not be forced to accept and support something that I do not believe in. The government will now force me to supply health insurance for my employees and now it may force me to provide health benefits for a male employee’s gay husband. I fail to see how it should be acceptable to force me to support something that is against my religion. To each their own, but don’t force me to have to accept things that are contrary to my faith. Conservatives have always supported personal liberty and no one should force me to accept a religious view that is contrary to what I believe. I am not trying to force gay and lesbian people to accept my views. They can do what they want, but leave me alone.

Power Player

July 23rd, 2010
8:22 pm

The whole point is that liberals act like they are so open minded, but they are open minded as long as you accept what they believe. Maybe they are not quite as enlightened as they would have everyone believe. I guess it all depends on their perspective. Essentially, legalizing gay marriage forces everyone to have to accept it. It is taking one group, the liberals and focring their view on everyone else.

Power Player

July 23rd, 2010
8:30 pm

Abortion could matter at the state level. Roe v Wade is bad law. No one has the right to kill anyone. Science can not say at what point life begins, just as science can not say at what point one becomes an adult. That is why states usually pass laws that say one becomes an adult at 17 or 18. It is based on the general attitude of the people and it is decided by legislature. The first thing that has to be decided is at what point does life begin and a court can’t do that. Only the legislature has that authority. If the legislature says life begins at conception, then no amount of privacy gives you the right to kill someone. That is why Roe v Wade is terrible law. I absolutely support states passing laws that define at what age life begins and testing the Roe v Wade precedent. I want a governor that will support it as well. It does matter, but granted not as much as infrastructure, taxes, and education.

T Knight

July 23rd, 2010
8:50 pm

Nathan Deal is just like John Kerry …. he voted for abortion in 1993 as a democrat, before he voted against it as a republican….

I’m sorry to say Mr. Deal is yet another Washington political flip flopper.


July 23rd, 2010
8:57 pm

“The first thing that has to be decided is at what point does life begin and a court can’t do that. Only the legislature has that authority.”

Power Player, you also said that science doesn’t know when life begins. Might you explain how when there is no scientific basis for any “beginning” that courts can’t and legislatures do have the “authority” to make such a decision? If there is no scientific basis for deciding, isn’t the legislature being arbitrary and capricious in the exercise of the authority you say it has?


July 23rd, 2010
9:18 pm

Powerplayer, I think its your bedtime

Henry Conservative

July 23rd, 2010
10:24 pm

An observation about the labeling of Nathan Deal as a so-called Clinton Democrat by Karen Handel: Nathan Deal joined the GOP in April 1995, while Republican Governor Sonny Perdue was still an elected Democrat serving in the Georgia Senate. Most of us that have watched the growth of the Republican Party in this state have seen any number of conservatives bolt the Democratic Party and go to the GOP; e.g. the state senators that joined the GOP in 2002 and shifted the Georgia Senate to the Republican Party.

Using the rhetorical standard Handel aspires to use against Deal, then President Reagan could have always been labeled a Roosevelt Democrat, as the Gipper did not offically leave the Democratic Party and join the GOP until the early 1960’s. If someone such as Nathan Deal has been elected to office seven times as a Georgia Republican, that probably confirms their ideological identity.

Travis McGee

July 23rd, 2010
11:13 pm

Power Player: You have generated an enormous about of horse hocky and dumped it here on this blog.

While it’s not a requirement, a modicum of historical understanding should underpin you blanket generalizations. Just remember: nobody does anything always.

What a Clutz!

Travis McGee

July 23rd, 2010
11:14 pm

Power Play: Just take your medicine and go nitey, nite.

No Longer Republican

July 24th, 2010
12:02 am

These folks can keep on debating these issues that have been hashed and rehashed a million times. we will all never agree on these issues and it is time for the government to get out of people’s lives and their bedrooms. Lets have some discussion about how we are going to end the 10%+ unemployment, forclosures, banks failing, dismal education policies and so much more. Can we find time for that instead of social issues that won’t ever be solved?

No Longer Republican

July 24th, 2010
12:05 am

By the way…Power player…your hatred of people who don’t look like you or think like you is so obvious it is not even funny. It is people like you that think the American dream is only for people who are like you and nobody else has a right to be here or have the same opportunities as you. YOU are the problem with America.

Jeff in ATL

July 24th, 2010
9:12 am

“If the unborn child is not to be executed for the crimes of his/her mother than neither should he or she be executed for the crimes of his/her father.”

There is a fault in that logic. When a murderer is convicted and sentenced to death, it’s because of a constitutionally fit law, and the execution is administered by the state. When a rape victim procures an abortion, it’s her individual choice (however she comes to that decision) — the state doesn’t make her procure an abortion.


July 24th, 2010
9:30 am

How about jobs, roads, infrastructure, taxes, state economy and getting out of playing God? Leave people’s personal lives alone and start worrying about state operations. Why keep hammering on gays and raped mothers or others who don’t want to have babies? Leave them alone and worry about government issues, not personal ones. That goes for reporters and candidates. DADT about personal issues.

Lacking Essential Brain Power

July 24th, 2010
10:04 am

Power Player, the first compound sentence of your comment says you are conservative and comfortable being closed minded.


July 24th, 2010
10:09 am

Lets look at the facts:

Hall County Gainesville, Ga poised to run the state?

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle is from Hall County and unopposed in his party! Also associate of Deal from past posted news stories.

10th Dist. Congressional Candidate – Lee Hawkins (refuses to accept his previous lossesTom Graves who is clear winner yet continues wasting tax payer money by going back to the polls) is also from Hall County.

Candidate for Govenor- Nathan Deal is from Hall County.

Everyone check out with the links on this candidate refered to in the article. Lets clear the ranks! Lets have GA represented by ALL Georgians! I am voting for Karen Handel!


July 24th, 2010
10:14 am

It astounds me that Deal could have gotten this far, considering he is a crook…named one of the 15 most corrupt members of Congress. The only reason he left Congress to run for Governor was so he wouldn’t have to face an ethics investigation.

Sick of it!

July 24th, 2010
10:22 am

At all levels, the Republicans are killing themselves over abortion. It’s getting to the point where abortion is the only issue that matters. The country is sliding into a morass of debt, and we have huge issues facing us, and these idiots won’t talk about anything but abortion.

All they’re doing is giving the election to King Roy, and that’s really sickening.

Leave abortion to every individual’s conscience, and keep the government out of it.

Big Ted

July 24th, 2010
12:44 pm

Folks, especially you repeat bloggers.
We are being played by the GARTL bunch who have artfully shifted the campaign back to abortion. This gives them national news standing. If you would have attended even one speech from Karen Handel you would have heard her clear message on transportation, economy, jobs, etc.
That the GA RTL attacks the only women in the campaign, who could not be a mother because of medical condition, is horrible.
Hope every woman will rise up against these tactics and support Handel. Mr. Deal, did you think we could not see through that threat in your ad – “only real women” support Deal?
shame shame shame

Urban Republican

July 24th, 2010
1:01 pm

Debating a personal decision such as abortion at a time when the economy is faltering and Georgia has one of the highest unemployment rates in the nation is plain stupid and gives Democrats a reason to espouse that Republicans are out of touch with reality.

We need jobs and economic growth!!!! Candidates that don’t focus on the aforementioned issues will not get my vote.

Corey Carez

July 24th, 2010
2:46 pm

Urban Republican: it IS a personal decision, agreed. Problem is, the person in question is having their life extinguished like they are a convicted felon on death row without any hope of rehabilitation of their criminal tendency to audaciously dare to CHOOSE life!! That person most certainly wants to live! Do you get it? Handel’s desperate plea by analogising with a 13 year old rape victim is symptomatic of this unquestioned societal malaise to blame an innocent child for the horrendous crimes committed by others. If you insist on passing the buck to a child at least wait till they’re indictable as an adult, or at least capable of speech, before you sentence them to death row!!!!

I hate rednecks

July 24th, 2010
3:00 pm

The Deal TV ads are sooo trailer park! “Papa can you pass me another fried pickle that Granny done fixed up fer us?” Those poor kids are going to be made fun of so badly when they go back to school next month! It used to be that we had elegant elected public officials whose style and grammer were imitated… now we have these rural uneducated types who plaster the airwaves! I heard that Mrs. Deal is having Walmart design her inaugeral gown! The whole family is using them as their personal stylist!!! It ain’t Beverly Hills yaaaauuulll.

Abortion is a federal issue

July 24th, 2010
3:12 pm

I agree that abortion is morally wrong but it is not a state issue. Everone is wasting their time on this in the Gov. election.The only thing that makes GA important is metro Atlanta and tourism in Atlanta and our beautiful coast! We need a better economy and education. GA is killing itself with all this stupidity! Moral issues need to remain in the Sunday school, and we all know what opinions are like. I am trying to run an international business here and moral issues make it harder to present my company to smart clients. The other states think we are all stupid. Gosh, it looks like we are!


July 24th, 2010
4:02 pm

Hello, Mr or Ms. “Abortion is a federal issue”
Maybe you are right. Moral issues like theft, perjury, drunk driving, murder surely are not the focus of the state, are they? They are from the 10 Commandments and we believe in separation of church and state, right? All that really matters is money and not looking stupid. Quality of life is all about stuff and power. Let’s just leave all that Sunday School rhetoric (loving others, protecting the weak, defending the poor, providing for widows and orphans, preserving innocent lives) out of Georgia. Then your international business will have a chance to prosper, right?


July 24th, 2010
4:44 pm

Drunk driving is in the 10 Commandments? Sounds like somebody’s been drinking and blogging.

The Republicans strenuously object to government intervention protecting the weak, defending the poor, and providing for widows and orphans. They’re only willing to pull out the bible to beat raped 13 year olds over the head. Taxing their fatcat friends to pay for the raped 13 year old’s baby is eeeevil godless socialism!!!

So yeah, leave the Sunday School rhetoric out of our laws, hypocrites.


July 24th, 2010
5:19 pm

OK, when are we going to start conception certificates, and having funerals for miscarriages.
Aren’t there more important issues to deal with right now? The Grand Old Anti Abortion Party should debate this later after we get jobs, transportation and eduction funding straightened out!


July 24th, 2010
5:51 pm

” drunk driving, murder surely are not the focus of the state, are they? They are from the 10 Commandments and we believe in separation of church and state, right?”
Which commandment is anti drinking? You morons can’t even quote your bible correctly, you’re pathetic

Corrupt GA

July 24th, 2010
7:11 pm

Its interesting that moral issues come up in this very corrupt state! GA has always been regarded as a corrupt state, so why all of the moral issues? Bottom of barrel in education, discriminates against every minority, bad economy, and now morally superior! Is everyone in GA drinking the Kool Aid? If candidates have been in public life for decades, then they probably have no morals! Wake up voters. GA needs to be run like a business and stop beiing the joke of the nation!


July 24th, 2010
9:22 pm

Handel and Deal seem to think that abortion is the hot topic on the minds of most Georgians. It’s absolutely NOT right now. Didn’t they learn anything from the voter’s rejection of Oxendine’s rants about abortion and gays?

Well, Handel and Deal can keep it up…meanwhile Roy Barnes is talking about (GASP) the FUTURE of Georgia!

Abortion is a Federal Issue

July 24th, 2010
10:00 pm

I am a very moral person and that is why I have a good business here. I go to church here, I am a great citizen! I give great benefits to my employees and I have offices in several states, so I know that Goofy GA is BAD for business. All we need here is GOOD FOR INDUSTRY attitudes for govenor and nothing else. Georgia politics is leaching all the good qualities from Georgia! And I am ultra-moral, save my fellow man, hug a tree type guy out there! I have dedicateted my life to taking care of my family and family of employees, thats what Georgia is about! Not career politicians! There is a difference b/t running a state and Sunday school ideas! I want what is best for Georgia and All of the citizens here, not just a select few!

Hey Fulton Righty

July 24th, 2010
10:08 pm

You just got taken down a few notches. …Sounds like you made a few judgments that were not correct! That guy started off with he was’nt in favor of abortion. Give it a break!


July 24th, 2010
10:11 pm


Atlanta Girl

July 24th, 2010
10:48 pm

I’m just glad I can fly in here, so as to avoid these undesirable rural Georgians! God help us all! I grew up in upstate NY and can tell you, people flee dumb areas! I moved to ATL for something better, but if this is the quality of the legislature, then I am going to take my $$$ and voting power elswere! I agree that ATL is all that Georgia has to offer, I have had 3 abortions and I attend a great Episcopal Church and I have wonderful values! And I am a CHRISTIAN!!! I did not break a LAW!!!
I am a Republican with GREAT values and look down on these ignorant comments!

Abortion Is a federal Issue

July 24th, 2010
11:05 pm

Also to Fulton Righty, I am commenting on what is legal. Those that you mentioned are illegal! Lets stay on topic! My whole point is that the abortion(I must state I am not in favor of abortion) is federally protected and state debates are wasteful! It does’nt matter what a state issue is on abortion because there is a federal law regarding that issue! It does not matter if we protest and catch ourselves on fire with gassoline! It does not matter! Lets talk about issues for Georgia!

Death March for Rural Georgia

July 24th, 2010
11:17 pm

Its all about Atlanta for politics in Georgia!!! Atlanta is the beramator for candidates. Nothing else matters!

Can You say Stupid?

July 25th, 2010
12:01 am

OK everyboby! Can all you kids say “STUPID”?


July 25th, 2010
12:19 am

Its a BUMPKIN State! Just re-locate Dolly Wood in Georgia! It would fit riiiiiight in! And we could pull all of your trailors right next to it! I am a genious to think of that! And we could put a big faith-based institution next to all that! Then we could find a place for all of these ignorant, conservative (not to be relevant Republicans) who are the REAL backbone of our GREAT NATION!!!

Ga Values

July 25th, 2010
7:58 am

Nathan Corruption Deal has been a Washington Insider for 18 years, he has done little or nothing for Georgia but has made himself a multi millionaire. Just remember Deal’s middle name is CORRUPTION.

Silly to Sling Mud on this Issue

July 25th, 2010
9:30 am

I am amazed at people that will select a candidate solely on where they stand on abortion. Any legislation on either side of the fence will be contested and end up being decided in the courts. Georgia has much bigger issues than legislating reproductive rights.

Candidates, please focus on major issues and not squabble back and forth on this issue.

*Libertarian who is voting on Aug 10 depending on who can beat Roy Barnes. He doesn’t need a 2nd try.


July 25th, 2010
9:44 am

In the good old days when the Lord of the castle raped one of the peasants she got a gift of an out of wedlock child from him no harm no foul nobody went to jail and she might even receive a few gifts as well for her trouble. On southern plantations when the master raped one of the slaves he was just increasing his wealth by getting another field hand to work his fields or sell off if he needed money. Nobody ever went to jail and maybe somebody got to have a great job of a house slave. These days some want it so if a young unwed girl is raped and if forced to have the baby the father goes to jail and the women doesn’t get child support to help pay for the baby at all. Some of you still like the good old days where women have no say at all nothing has changed when rape happens it is a blessing they should just take care of no matter what instead of having a say so in their own lives. I just love how you want to make the rules for others. Many of you pick and choose the sins you want to become God to do the punishment on like abortion or being gay and overlook most of the ten commandments like adultery by voting for politicians who commit it over and over again. Either go back to stoning adulterers or leave punishment to God. Maybe some of us would be for more restrictions on abortion if not for those who would force those who have been raped or involved in incest to have children. In your world morning after pills for those who have been raped is a criminal act instead of an act of mercy. A child should come into the world as an act of love not a crime. I know every one of the 6 billion people on earth who were children is precious yet few of you care about most of them in your actions. Abstinence counseling is all some of you want to offer as aid to some African countries where rape is not unusual at all for a lot of women.


July 25th, 2010
10:20 am

It’s pretty obvious why Deal and the band of half-wits at GRTL have no problem with forced in-breeding. What better way to insure a steady supply of supporters?