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04 June 2010

Karen Handel Suggests Pro-Life Group, GOP Opponents Don't Support The Death Penalty

The spat between former Secretary of State Karen Handel and Georgia Right To Life took a new turn Friday as the Handel gubernatorial campaign roundly chastised the pro-life organization for their "attack on her pro-life position."

Thursday, AJC political insider Jim Galloway reported that Georgia Right To Life "picked a fight" with Handel by emphasizing their non-endorsement of her candidacy.

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.

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.

Galloway, Jim (2010-6-3). Georgia Right to Life picks a fight with Karen Handel. AJC Political Insider. Retrieved on 2010-6-4.

That prompted the following response from the Handel campaign:

" 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 in-vitro fertilization, which has helped so many couples realize their dream of having children. The group has proposed legislation to virtually eliminate in-vitro. 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.

Dan Becker, the President of Georgia Right to Life even went so far as to say of Karen "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."

Handel's team also sought to use Georgia Right To Life's words against them by strongly suggesting that the group's pledge indicated they're against the death penalty.

"GRTL did endorse all of Karen's opponents and praised them for their opposition to rape and incest exceptions and their support for banning in-vitro fertilization. They are welcome to their position and will have to explain it to the voters in July," the Handel news release read. "They will also have to explain signing a statement vowing to protect life until 'natural death' which is in clear opposition to the death penalty which Karen strongly supports."

Jeff Chapman, Nathan Deal, Eric Johnson, Ray McBerry and John Oxendine all signed the Georgia Right To Life pledge that reads in part, "we believe, in the face of compelling biological evidence, that a continuum of human life and personhood begins at the moment of fertilization and ends at natural death. . ."

The conclusion being drawn here, obviously, is that if someone vows to protect life until "natural death", then if a criminal is killed by the state, they did not die naturally.

Let's see where this goes. I expect a bunch of statements from the GOP gubernatorial field shortly.