Georgia Right to Life picks a fight with Karen Handel

Georgia Right to Life issued its endorsements in the Republican race for governor on Thursday – and picked a major fight with former secretary of state Karen Handel, the only woman in the contest.

The anti-abortion group gave five candidates its stamp of approval: state Sen. Jeff Chapman of Brunswick, former congressman Nathan Deal of Gainesville, former state senator Eric Johnson of Savannah, businessman Ray McBerry of McDonough, and state Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine.

Republican candidate for governor Karen Handel

Republican candidate for governor Karen Handel

But in its press release this afternoon, GRTL placed most of its emphasis on the unendorsed GOP candidate:

“Ms. Handel proclaims herself pro-life; however, she does not meet the 21st century demands of being pro-life.” says Dan Becker, President of GRTL.

“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.”

Based on Ms. Handel’s own statements, she does not meet the GRTL PAC’s criteria and will not be endorsed in this primary election or the November election, without a change in her positions.

The Handel campaign declared Becker’s statement to be false:

In fact, Karen does believe that an embryonic human is a child. Further, no one ever asked Karen this question, and if they had, they would know this.

GRTL’s real problem with Karen is twofold: First, they 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.

Becker, in turn, says that Handel is mischaracterizing his position. The GRTL president says his group has never taken the position that all invitro fertilization is immoral.

But his group has sponsored legislation that would limit the number of embryos produced by fertility clinics to only the number actually implanted in the mother.

It is a restriction opposed by fertility experts, who turned out at the state Capitol in 2009 to block the measure. Handel, too, is against the restrictions, campaign spokesman Dan McLagan said.

From a campaign press release:

“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.

“I am saddened that this group would resort to fabricating quotes and distorting my beliefs. I shared very personal information with the group’s leadership, and they are well aware of my true beliefs. I am dismayed and very disappointed by their actions….

“Further, I am absolutely opposed to severely limiting fertility treatments, including invitro fertilization, and am saddened that my opponents appear to.

“Tens of thousands of couples have been able to have children through fertility assistance. Their lives have been blessed by miracle of birth and enriched by the blessings that children uniquely have added to their lives.”

This was the reply from Becker of GRTL on Wednesday afternoon, in a telephone interview:

“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.”

The confrontation was not unexpected. The Handel campaign was ready with an endorsement from Adrianne Susong, a former director of Georgia Right to Life.

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122 comments Add your comment


June 3rd, 2010
5:14 pm

If men carried the babies, you’d be able to get an abortion out of a Coke machine.

No Ox Noo Raw Deal, Nooo Linger Longer Johnson Noooo King Roy

June 3rd, 2010
5:27 pm

The name says it ALL

Mike Smith

June 3rd, 2010
5:33 pm

Women represent a larger voting block than men.

Former GRTL Member

June 3rd, 2010
5:37 pm

I am pro-life, given the comments from Becker about “barren women” I am never sending them another dime.


June 3rd, 2010
5:53 pm

The 1992 election season witnessed the advent of political advertisements depicting the aftermath of abortions. See Lilli Levi, The FCC, Indecency, and Anti-Abortion Political Advertising, III Vill. Sports & Ent. L.J. 85, 86-88 (1996) (”Anti-Abortion Political Advertising”). In that year, Daniel Becker was a qualified candidate for election to the United States House of Representatives from Georgia’s Ninth Congressional District. At 7:58 p.m. on July 19, Station WAGA-TV, which was then licensed to Gillett Communications of Atlanta, Inc. (”Gillett”), aired, at Mr. Becker’s request, a campaign advertisement that included photographs of aborted fetuses. WAGA-TV received numerous complaints from viewers who saw the advertisement.

Alabama Communist

June 3rd, 2010
6:02 pm

“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.”* Jim

Meanwhile Handel said she would appeal to higher authority on the non- endorsement by the Georgia Pro-Life group… She said that direct appeal was being forward to the Pope and expected a ruling on it before the end of the year in her favor…. When press for a answer if the Pope rule against her, she said that the Pope had to answer to higher authority and most likely the Alien Lizards from the Planet ” Real Life At Any Cost” would destroy the Pope vacation Boys Town home


June 3rd, 2010
6:21 pm

Ethical fertility assistance preserves life, but some doctors are focused only on “success rates”. How many dead little human beings must be sacrificed for someone to bear a child via In vitro fertilization? Overproduction of embryos leads to “leftovers” in cryo-preservation interminably or to their death via “research” or disposal. Transferring too many in one cycle leads to “selective reduction” later during the pregnancy. Pick a couple to eliminate, leave one or two to be born. Georgia Right to Life is right to fight for more ethical IVF.


June 3rd, 2010
6:52 pm

Given the facts above . . . SHOULD someone’s “right” to parent supersede another’s “right to life?” Handel believes that the death of a few children are necessary in her quest to parent. In war that is called an “acceptablle loss.”

All of the other Western countries have much more restrictive laws concerning IVF than the US. UK allows only two embryos at a time (the GA RTL position) GA RTL was simply attempting to rein in the profit motives of these clinics and the unsafe and destructive practices they are selling to these desperate perspective parents . . . NOT stop the treatment of infertility.


June 3rd, 2010
6:55 pm

Right to Life are a bunch of terrorists.


June 3rd, 2010
7:10 pm

The clowns on here who think that having a college education is mandatory to becoming governor. Here is a list of the US presidents who did not have a college education:

Washington, Jackson, Van Buren, Taylor, Fillmore, Lincoln, A Johnson, Cleveland, Truman


June 3rd, 2010
7:37 pm

So this group believes that if a woman is raped, it should be against the law for her to have an abortion? Wow!


June 3rd, 2010
7:52 pm

“A person’s a person, no matter how small.” Dr. Seuss in Horton Hears a Who.

Rape is a horrible crime, a violent violation of a woman, but it is more. Why shouldn’t the rapist pay for the damage he has caused? For the position he puts a woman in if she conceives? She shouldn’t have to be dealing with that. But abortion is not the answer. It causes its own damager to her–psychological, physical, spiritual. If abortion were good for women, they would talk about their experiences, it wouldn’t be a secret. Abortion is a further assault on a woman who has been raped. see for some of the risks.


June 3rd, 2010
8:22 pm

Karen Handel just helped me to decide how to vote. I applaud her distancing herself from those KOOKS and she is going to get my vote and a check. I, too am not in favor of abortion except in cases of rape and incest, but I am not going to let it totally define how I vote. Our state government is totally in a shambles because we have a dominant Republican party (KOOKS) that screen all candidates on the abortion issue above and beyond everything else.

When are we going to come to our senses. KOOKS!

the only sane one

June 3rd, 2010
8:25 pm

first off no one I MEAN no one has or should have the right to decide what is right for another. First everyone situation are different. I feel that if u know that the person was a victim of a crime that resulted in pregancy, they should not be judge by wether the continue a pregnancy or not for simple fact the they may not have that support system that few are fortunate to have. Let state the fact most people are all talk until they are one in that shoe . As I always say let him without fault cast the first stone


June 3rd, 2010
8:25 pm

Wait until your mother, sister or daughter is impregnated by a rapist. Then let me know if you’d want her to give birth and care for the unplanned child!!!

the only sane one

June 3rd, 2010
8:34 pm

What they need to do quit runnig around like crazies and ask question like how well do u manage your personal funds, what are your agenda to get people working,what are your plan for saving our children future (schools)

Religious Nuts'R'Us

June 3rd, 2010
8:37 pm

Why can’t these fruit flies actually address a real issue? Were I to be running, I would wear their rejection like a badge of honor. I would speak openly about it at every stop of my campaign and tell the people that I have no desire to be persuaded and approved of by a bunch of people whose only purpose is to divide my constituency and enforce their own brand of religious discrimination into local and national politics. I would remind everyone that America is a diverse country based on freedom of religion and that we as a state and a nation have much greater concerns that need to be addressed than trying to legislate everyone elses morality. Maybe throw in a little Thomas Jefferson for them to reflect on – History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance of which their civil as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purposes.


June 3rd, 2010
8:50 pm

Right to lifers are extreme morons. Is there an candidate who is not a part of these clowns.

Oxendine is an Assskisser

June 3rd, 2010
9:11 pm

Who gives a crap…abortion will continue no matter who becomes the STATE OF GEORGIA’S governor…BTW, John Oxendine is a prick!!!


June 3rd, 2010
9:44 pm

Lead by example…..get a college degree.

Georgia Voter

June 3rd, 2010
9:58 pm

Karen Handel will never win a Republican primary in Georgia when she is the ONLY candidate without Georgia Right to Life’s endorsement.

Another Georgia Voter

June 3rd, 2010
10:37 pm

Good for the GRTL. This is a major issue to a lot of folks. If she can’t be totally clear we don’t need her as govenor.


June 3rd, 2010
10:40 pm

Enter your comments here

Will Jones - Atlanta Jeffersonian Exegesis

June 3rd, 2010
10:48 pm

Anyone who maintains that a victim of rape should be forced by law to bear a child conceived through that act of rape, is a sick person and an abomination to G-d. It is little wonder that those who do promote such evil are members of the Babylonian pedophile priesthood whose Black Aristocracy gave us Hitler and Bush.

Time to “chop weeds” America.

[...] Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) [...]


June 3rd, 2010
11:11 pm

just went on line and donated to grtl. Thanks for seeing through this lier.


June 4th, 2010
12:09 am

It’s one thing for GRTL to pontificate, but there is absolutely NOTHING, ZILCH, ZIP, NADA that the governor of this state can do to overturn FEDERAL protections for the mother’s right to choose provided by Roe vs. Wade.

No candidate would be able to ban abortions in the state of Georgia as governor.

The ONLY candidate I’ve seen with a common sense and worthwhile answer to this question has been Carol Porter, the Democratic candidate for Lt. Governor. Instead of sitting around and angrily talking about abortion (like Deal, Oxendine, Handel, Johnson, etc. intend to do), her position is to actually create policies that limit the need of women to get an abortion in the first place.

That means better schools, to push our children into worthwhile careers rather than early pregnancy. More jobs, to help the poor establish a life for themselves and support their existing families. No one in this state should have to fear the thought of getting pregnant. No one in this state should have to abort their child.

If you elect any of the candidates endorsed by GRTL, abortions will continue to happen in the state of Georgia. They’ll increase in frequency, because these candidates, Handel included, won’t actually do anything to stop them.

Take a look at Carol Porter, and consider voting for someone that actually wants to reduce the number of abortions in this state, not make money off of them like GRTL does.

Will Jones - Atlanta Jeffersonian Exegesis

June 4th, 2010
12:15 am

June 3rd, 2010

donates to “Georgia Right to Life” and proves himself conformed to the pedophile priesthood of Babylon.

Thomas Jefferson, America’s Founder, told us Rome is “the real Anti-Christ.”

Let’s “do the math,” Georgia, and make governor someone who is more American than papist.

LIfe is a miracle directly from G-d. Let’s each work out our own salvation like good Americans and keep the institution which gave us “pro-life,” Hitler, who agreed with Rome to make it illegal to have an abortion even in cases of rape and incest, locked out in this New Secular Order.

Those who reject Our Creed, let’s we reject as American leaders.


June 4th, 2010
12:15 am

All that exchange could possibly do is make Karen Handel a more attractive candidate (a damn hard thing to do, by the way), and make all the candidates endorsed by these right-wing out-of-touch, out-of-their-tiny-mind neo-con A-holes even less attractive than they already were.


June 4th, 2010
5:01 am

Interesting, that the voter suppressionist Handel is despised by both the left and the right.

It is absurd that such a complete non-entity can seriously compete for the governorship of a large state. She is without intellect, principles, or competence.


June 4th, 2010
5:17 am

Uneducated? By whose standards? A college degree is no indicator of education and certainly no indicator of common sense based on some of the postings here of “educated” people. Spare us from college educated idiots!


June 4th, 2010
6:36 am

If you dont like abortion then DONT have one!

Karen Handel is the ONLY qualified candidate for Governor!


June 4th, 2010
7:33 am

….and here’s the reason why I can never describe myself as a Republican. Certainly I favor smaller, efficient and responsive government that creates jobs, opportunity and a better quality of life for everyone. Then, the right-wing religious anti-choice zealots get involved and I would like to run for the hills.

When will this clueless Georgia GOP organization realize that they have a great female candidate in Handel who is able to cross party lines to become a great chief executive for this state? I do hope that Karen bolts this archaic party to become an independent or possibly a Libertarian.

I do hope that the public wakes up and sees that the other GOP gubernatorial candidates are quite corrupt in so many ways.

No wonder this country is screwed up....

June 4th, 2010
7:59 am

To have a PAC that wants top protect life is one thing but to have them go as far as to promote a total ban on invitro is an outrage. These special interest groups our illogical and selfish in pushing their agendas.

Pro-life is one thing but the position that GRTL takes that someone that is raped has to bear that child is crazy and the ban on invitro is even crazier. Notice how Becker softens the answer…they never want to come out and give their true mission because people will stop giving them money.

I applaud Karen for standing up for her beliefs and not selling out for an “endorsement”. That’s why she needs to be in the governor’s office!


June 4th, 2010
8:03 am

If GRTL is going to demand that the police power of a state be used to prevent abortion and force a pregnancy and birth, then the police power of the state should also be used to ensure the medical care of that child from conception until adulthood.

Fair enough?

Zig Zag Deal

June 4th, 2010
8:05 am

Nathan Deal was once a Pro Abortion Democratic.


June 4th, 2010
8:08 am

The confrontation was not unexpected. The Handel campaign was ready with an endorsement from Adrianne Susong, a former director of Georgia Right to Life.

Jim, why didn’t you give equal space to Adrianne Susong in this article to voice her views…..are you saying you agree with the crazy people at GRTL.

You know, the AJC better get it’s act together or it’s not gonna be airing anyone’s views and you’ll be writing a column in Podunk Junction

Karen Handel is absolutely the right person to bring accountability and fiscal responsibility to a state so sorely lacking in same. Does anyone remember the old Lucky Strike Commercial……LS/MFT….Lucky Strike Means Fine Tobacco. Years ago it meant something else too…..Lord, save me from Talmadge :) Talmadge is gone but you can say the same about all the other candidates for governor except “Karen Handel”. They are all corrupt and will sell us down the river just like BHO.


June 4th, 2010
8:10 am

GRTL says abortion is murder. Fair enough.

If I hire you to murder my wife, and you do so, you will be tried for murder and I will be tried for murder. Correct? Correct!

But if a lady hires a doctor to abort a pregnancy, the doctor who performed the abortion and the lady who hired the doctor are not tried for murder. Why? GRTL should logically have the position that if you have an abortion you are guilty of premeditated murder. But they do not.


Former GRTL supporter!

June 4th, 2010
8:17 am

Thanks for helping me decide to go all in for Karen’s campaign. The hypocrisy of GRTL and their extreme requirements will continue to reduce their impact and importance. I am pro-life, but there is nothing wrong with Handel’s views on this subject, which are measured and reasonable to most Georgians. I will support GRTL no further.

Former Handel Supporter

June 4th, 2010
8:30 am

I will be going with one of the 5 other candidates in the primary that are pro life.


June 4th, 2010
8:39 am

Anyone with an IQ of 40 can see where this Tea Party/Ultra Conservative/Libertarian movement is taking us and it “ain’t” a place I want to go.

Fortunately, the more they talk, the worse they look. Rand Paul and his clones are the best reason to vote Democrat.

Penny Lane

June 4th, 2010
8:43 am


For the first time I find myself agreeing with something Karen Handel has said. These woman-hating extremists are anti-life (just look at their position regarding infertility treatments) and Handel is smart to be distancing herself from their polarizing positions. What a bunch of mullahs.

John K

June 4th, 2010
8:59 am

I’m so glad these right-to-lifers put their money where their mouth is and there are no children left to adopt……oh wait.

Big Dude

June 4th, 2010
9:02 am

Seig Heil!!!! There…satified??

No Ox Noo Raw Deal, Nooo Linger Longer Johnson Noooo King Roy

June 4th, 2010
9:09 am

Zig Zag Deal

June 4th, 2010
8:05 am

Love your name,

No Ox Noo Raw Deal, Nooo Linger Longer Johnson Noooo King Roy

June 4th, 2010
9:14 am

Alittle cut & paste from the PP

I’m sorry that GRTL has fallen to the point that they would rather have a child molester represent their version of family values than someone that supports invitro fertilization. That’s sad, because 6 years ago, they were at a point where they could have pushed for victory.


June 4th, 2010
9:19 am

I love watching the Republican primary. It’s a fight for who can be the most radical right-wing cuckoo bird. Lord help us, though, if one of these fools actually gets elected.

Mr. Grumpy

June 4th, 2010
9:28 am

Why is it that GRTL’s position on abortion and solutions to it sound reminiscent of Nazi Germany doctrine? It’s interesting that GRTL is headed up by a male who wouldn’t know how to deal with an unwanted or unintended pregancy, while female GRTL members sit quietly and dutifully by, adhering to the commands of their male overlords. What’s wrong with these people? I don’t even like Karen Handel, and won’t vote for her, but she along with Carol Porter make more sense on birth-right issues than that collection of male candidates who can’t spell “pregnancy.” People who blindly and unquestioningly support a PAC like GRTL are insane. God help us all! This country is turning more fascist everyday.

Both parties are going nuts

June 4th, 2010
9:51 am

I feel I am one of the measured and reasonable people in this state mentioned above. I am a pro-life Christian business owner. I have 2 kids in public school, own my home (current on payments) and just go about life not messing with others and don’t want people messing with me, my family or friends. I have white friends, black friends, hispanic friends, male friends, female friends, queer friends and straight friends. Just an everyday American guy.

The tea partiers, the liberal wackos and special interest extremists are what is killing our country. We need logical, common sense leaders with a backbone to stand up for us. Leaders that understand that there needs to always be give and take in an issue and not every case is black and white. A leader that understands economics and commerce, wants government to only do the tasks it is mandated to perform and not spend money on things we don’t need. We need someone that has compassion and is willing to accept the fact that we need to sometimes teach people to fish but never, ever just hand out fish. That knows that educating our youth is an investment and that yes, even the old folks need to help fund it. Leaders that demand accountability from every appointment, every office, every department and every employee.

That’s what we need…in my humble opinion.

Wounded Warrior

June 4th, 2010
10:01 am

of course mcMolester is anti-abortion. He wants all the little girls to be born so he can molest them when he is their teacher. And his daddy is the DA, so he can get away with it.