Politics

Jon Ossoff Launches Planned Parenthood Attack on Karen Handel

New ad targets Handel’s tenure at Susan G. Komen Foundation

A new attack ad from Jon Ossoff attacks Karen Handel for cutting Susan G. Komen’s financial ties with Planned Parenthood.  (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Georgia Democrat Jon Ossoff is going after Karen Handel’s opposition to Planned Parenthood in a new TV ad launching Tuesday, as he tries to paint a contrast between him and his Republican opponent in the upcoming the 6th District special election runoff.

The ad features Mindy Fine, who identifies herself as an OB-GYN in Cobb County.

“Karen Handel cut off funding for Planned Parenthood cancer screenings when she was an executive at Susan G. Komen,” Fine says, wearing scrubs and standing in what looks like a doctor’s office. 

“I don't usually get involved in politics, but as a doctor and breast cancer survivor myself, what Karen Handel did is unforgivable,” Fine says. 

After unsuccessfully running for governor in 2010, Handel served as senior vice president for public policy at the breast cancer charity Susan G. Komen for the Cure. While there, she severed the group’s financial ties with Planned Parenthood, which provides health care screenings to women, among other services.

Komen later reversed that decision, and Handel resigned. In 2014, she published a book titled “Planned Bullyhood” about the experience.

Handel is running as an anti-abortion candidate in the race to succeed Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, who held the suburban Atlanta seat for 12 years. She touts the endorsement of the Susan B. Anthony List and the Georgia Life Alliance on her website. 

"We always knew Jon Ossoff would lie and distort in order to get back to Washington. I am proud to have advocated for women's health issues for virtually my entire adult life and will fight every day in Congress for Georgia women and their families," Handel said in a statement responding to Ossoff's ad.

Handel released her first TV ad of the runoff election Tuesday. The positive spot, in which she talks about her ties to the community, is running on broadcast and cable. It's the first ad of what's expected to be a $2 million buy.

Handel was the only competitive woman in a field of 18 candidates in the April open primary election. She finished second behind Ossoff with 20 percent of the vote. If elected on June 20, she’d be the first Republican woman to represent Georgia in Congress, where the number of female GOP lawmakers is dwindling.

With a little over a month until the runoff, Ossoff’s campaign is looking to paint a contrast between the two candidates, particularly when it comes to their record on issues that the campaign thinks will resonate with the district’s affluent, well-educated voters who tend to be more moderate than voters in the rest of the largely red state.

"It’s time to say to the women of Georgia's Sixth that Karen Handel has a pattern of imposing her own personal views on others, which could have resulted in thousands of Georgia women losing access to lifesaving breast cancer screenings," said Sacha Haworth, a senior communications adviser to the campaign. The campaign did not release the size of the buy.

On the trail, Ossoff often highlights the role women have played in jump-starting his campaign. Two groups in particular — Pave it Blue and Liberal Moms of Roswell and Cobb counties — helped boost the former Hill staffer. 

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