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Monday, June 19, 2017

What's in store for pro-life politics? Watch Georgia to find out.

Congressional candidate Karen Handel
Tomorrow, residents of Georgia's 6th Congressional district will hold an election to replace their previous representative, Tom Price, who left the position to become the Secretary of Health and Human Services. Price, who has a strong anti-abortion record, carried the district with ease for over a decade. But the current race is too close to call.

The Republican candidate is Karen Handel, Georgia's former Secretary of State. But pro-lifers will know from her past service as Senior Vice President of the Susan G. Komen Foundation. During her tenure, Komen decided to end its relationship with Planned Parenthood, both because of Planned Parenthood's many scandals and because, for the millionth time, Planned Parenthood does not do mammograms. Planned Parenthood responded with a disgusting campaign to turn its supporters against Komen; sadly, Komen caved and agreed to divert breast cancer funds to Planned Parenthood, at which point Handel resigned. (This is a very truncated summary of what happened; Handel wrote a whole book about it if you're interested.)

Karen Handel practically embodies the idea that standing up for women's health means standing against Planned Parenthood. Her pro-life, pro-woman credentials have won her the support of every major right to life organization.

The Democratic candidate is Jon Ossoff, whose campaign website equates Planned Parenthood with women's health. It's a stark contrast, to be sure. But Ossoff isn't so much running against Handel as he is against Donald Trump. Ossoff's campaign slogan is "Make Trump Furious." That sentiment has raised millions of dollars, mostly from outside the state. As a result, the Handel-Ossoff race is set to become the most expensive House seat election in U.S. history—and there is a real chance that the seat, which Republicans have held since 1978, will turn blue.

Ossoff was initially a long-shot candidate. A February article by local news station WSB-TV described him as "a documentary filmmaker who was until recently unknown to even veteran Georgia strategists," but noted that he had "quickly captured the imagination of Democrats hoping to notch an early victory against Donald Trump."

It is difficult to imagine a 30-year-old Republican winning a 2008 special election in a deep blue district on a "Make Obama Furious" platform, or a 30-year-old Democrat winning a 2000 special election in a deep red district on a "Make Bush Furious" platform—especially against someone as experienced as Karen Handel. But we are living in different times, and Donald Trump is a uniquely hated figure in American politics. There is no evidence to indicate that Georgia voters have suddenly embraced abortion. Rather, this has become a referendum on Trump, and unborn children are caught in the political crossfire.

Secular Pro-Life predicted that the election of Donald Trump would be "a disaster" for the pro-life cause and that the pro-life movement's response to Trump's nomination would have "years-long, life or death consequences." Tomorrow's results will tell us just how damaging the consequences of President Trump can be.

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