Democrat Jon Ossoff launched a new round of attack ads on Tuesday that for the first time targeted Republican Karen Handel’s stint at a breast-cancer charity, calling her short-lived tenure at the Susan G. Komen Foundation “unforgivable.”
The 30-second ad features Mindy Fine, an OB-GYN in Cobb County, and opens a new front in the 6th District race. Clad in medical scrubs, she says Handel “cut off funding for Planned Parenthood cancer screenings when she was an executive at Susan G. Komen.”
And then: “I don't usually get involved in politics, but as a doctor and a breast cancer survivor myself, what Karen Handel did is unforgivable."
It is likely the first in a string of targeted attacks from Ossoff’s campaign as he aims to win over young voters and women. He often credits his first-place finish in the election to strong support from women who back his abortion rights stance.
The ad refers to Handel’s 2012 decision to quit the charity, where she served as vice president for policy. She resigned after the foundation reversed a decision to cut ties with Planned Parenthood, which had alienated many staunch supporters of the charity Her book about the episode, called “Planned Bullyhood,” propelled her into the national spotlight.
Handel has said the foundation’s decision to halt its partnerships with Planned Parenthood was motivated by financial and not political reasons. On the campaign trail, she has said she would boost funding for community health centers, not Planned Parenthood, because they’re more accessible.
“They are the front lines of healthcare for poor women, and they offer services everyone needs access to,” she said of the health centers in a recent interview, adding that they offer contraception. “I want to see more dollars go there so we really are offering more women access to healthcare.”
She said in a statement Tuesday that the ad aimed to "lie and distort" her positions.
"I am proud to have advocated for women's health issues for virtually my entire adult life," Handel said, "and will fight every day in Congress for Georgia women and their families."
Ossoff supporters hope he can capitalize on a surprising gender gap emerging in the race. Even as Handel races to become the first Georgia Republican woman in Congress, she trails Ossoff among female voters in recent polls by nearly double-digit margins. She leads Ossoff among male voters.
Planned Parenthood, which provides abortions, cancer screenings and preventive care, has long been targeted by opponents of abortion rights. Donald Trump recently signed legislation that allows states to withhold federal funds from the organization - a non-issue in Georgia where that funding is already prohibited.
See the ad here:
And the transcript:
"My name is Mindy Fine and I'm an OBGYN in Cobb County.
Part of a normal exam is screening for breast and cervical cancer.
When we catch it early, we save lives.
But Karen Handel cut off funding for Planned Parenthood cancer screenings when she was an executive at Susan G. Komen.
I don't usually get involved in politics, but as a doctor and a breast cancer survivor myself, what Karen Handel did is unforgivable."