Karen Handel and Donald Trump have at least one thing in common: they are willing to throw women under the bus in order to promote their abortion-stigmatizing agendas.
For Handel, her anti-abortion, anti-woman leadership was most notable when she used her position at the Susan G. Komen Foundation to end the organization’s funding of mammograms at Planned Parenthood healthcare facilities. She later wrote a whole book about it, called “Planned Bullyhood,” after the Komen Foundation reversed the decision and Handel was forced to resign. She has since been reluctant to talk about it with press, however has repeatedly pushed her anti-abortion stances during this and previous campaigns.
National anti-abortion organizations, like the Susan B. Anthony List, are not only endorsing her candidacy, they have reached out to at least 25,000 voters in the district, championing her as someone who will vote to defund Planned Parenthood and make abortion care and other forms of reproductive health care harder to access, especially for low-income women.
Meanwhile, Trump has been busy appointing nationally recognized anti-abortion activists to work as leaders within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Both Charmaine Yoest and Teresa Manning have perpetuated the dangerous lies that abortion is linked to breast cancer and that contraception doesn’t work.
In a time when the federal government is actively working to further curtail abortion access and cut funds for family planning services in this country, there needs to be leaders invested in women’s reproductive health. Handel, Trump and his appointees Yoest and Manning are all invested in ending women’s critical access to abortion services and contraception, endangering women’s physical and economic health.
“Handel does not understand what’s at stake for Georgia women and families, campaigning on an extreme agenda of blocking access to care at Planned Parenthood health centers and believing government should intervene in women’s health care decisions,” said Candace Fowler, a Board Chair for Planned Parenthood Southeast Advocates, in an interview with Fortune.
Pushing to defund Planned Parenthood is an ideologically driven move meant to further stigmatize abortion access, and push reproductive health care out of reach for the millions of Americans who rely on Planned Parenthood (and similar health clinics) for pap smears, birth control, STD tests, breast cancer screenings and other health screenings, in addition to being able to receive abortion care in a safe, supportive environment.
Trump wants to make abortion care, birth control and other forms of reproductive health care inaccessible to millions of women — or anyone with a uterus, regardless of their gender identity — because it serves his political and ideological goals. And so far, he’s been determined to move people into leadership roles who will support this.
But these policy positions are untenable, because they put the health and wellness of women (and others) at stake. And Karen Handel is perfectly content to play along.