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Catholic, Pro-Life Victory in Georgia: Handel Wins House Seat

On Tuesday night, it was announced that Karen Handel had won the most expensive House race in American history. While many are describing this as a defeat for the Democratic party, what's not being mentioned is that Handel's victory is a big win for the pro-life movement and a vindication of sorts for the Congresswoman-elect. 

This is not the first time Georgia's new Congresswoman-elect has made headlines. Back in 2012 after an unsuccessful bid for governor, Handel was appointed the Senior Vice President for Policy of Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Shortly thereafter, the Komen foundation cut ties and funding to Planned Parenthood. According to the New York Times, the change resulted in a halt of grants to 19 of Planned Parenthood’s 83 affiliates, which received nearly $700,000 from the Komen foundation in 2011.

Before running for Congress, Karen Handel advocated for life as an executive at the Susan Komen Foundation.  
A Catholic herself, Handel cited the dozens of Catholic bishops across the country that had been calling on their parishioners to boycott races sponsored by Komen because, in addition to the Planned Parenthood grants, the group gave money for breast cancer research to medical centers doing stem cell research.

The Komen decision was met with fierce outcry from pro-abortion advocates and Komen quickly backpedaled, restoring funding to the abortion giant. Handel resigned her position shortly after Komen reversed its position.

While it was clear that credit was due to Handel for steering Komen in the pro-life direction, Handel later noted in her resignation letter that she was "deeply disappointed by the gross mischaracterizations of the strategy" to cut ties with Planned Parenthood. "The decision to update our granting model," Handel stated, "was made before I joined Komen, and the controversy related to Planned Parenthood has long been a concern to the organization." 

Handel later published Planned Bullyhood as an account of her role in the Komen controversy. It has been described as "a blistering insider’s account of [Komen]’s decision to halt grants to Planned Parenthood and its swift retreat in the face of an intense, widespread backlash." 

On Tuesday night, Karen Handel, a veteran Republican officeholder, overcame a flood of progressive money to win a special House election in Georgia to fill the seat recently vacated by Tom Price. Price, now President Trump’s health secretary, won the district by 23 points in 2016. Handel will likely be eager to assist her predecessor, a key figure in the overhaul of Obamacare.

Handel fended off Jon Ossoff, a 30-year-old Democrat whose political experience consisted of little more than serving as a congressional aide. Despite obscurity, Ossoff was able to raise $25 million, nearly all of which was donated by progressives from outside of Georgia. Through May, Handel's campaign had spent $3.2 million compared to $22.5 million by Ossoff, according to campaign finance reports filed with the FEC. Altogether, out-of-state interests spent $26.2 million on the Georgia special election. 

In the end, outside interests elevated what would otherwise have been a sleepy local race into the most expensive House campaign in American history.

You can watch Congresswoman-Elect Handel's victory speech here, in which she bids "hasta la vista" to her opponent.  

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