ATLANTA - Black pro-life leaders in Georgia strongly oppose Governor Palin's endorsement of gubernatorial candidate Karen Handel. "It is with a heavy heart that we express our profound disappointment with Governor Sarah Palin's endorsement of Planned Parenthood's benefactor, candidate Karen Handel," said Dr. Alveda King, (niece of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.) pro-life advocate and leader in the Black Pro-life Movement. During Ms. Handel's tenure as Chair of the Fulton County Commission, Planned Parenthood received $1.2 million over three years. During 2008 (the last year data was available) 49% of Georgia's abortions occurred in Fulton County. They contrasted her decisions to that of New Jersey's Governor Chris Christie, who recently vetoed a bill which allocated $7.5 million in state funds for "family planning clinics" most of which were operated by Planned Parenthood.
Handel defended her actions, stating, "Because of the criteria, regulations and parameters of the grant, Planned Parenthood was the only eligible vendor approved to meet the state criteria. Additionally, none of the services were related in any way to abortions or abortion related services." However, black pro-life leaders were quick to point that there are 222 Title X funded clinics in Georgia that serve low-income clientele in all 159 Georgia counties. Each of these clinics provides the services that Planned Parenthood does with the exception of abortions.
Said LaNell Babbage-Torres, conservative activist and founder of American Dreams TV, "I was stunned to learn of Sarah Palin's endorsement of Karen Handel! Despite Ms. Handel's evasions, it is clear she approved more than $1.2 million for Planned Parenthood. Unfortunately, Governor Palin's endorsement further obscures Ms. Handel's pro-abortion record. Shame on both of them!"
Dr. King added, "Karen Handel has proven herself a master of political doublespeak, telling voters she is pro-life while directing taxpayer money to the number one killer of black babies in the nation. I am deeply grieved that Governor Palin has moved away from her stand for life by endorsing such a strong benefactor of Planned Parenthood."
"Ms. Handel's defense that the money she directed to Planned Parenthood was not designated for abortions obscures the obvious fact that her funds freed up other money to pay for those very same abortions. As a pro-life black American, I humbly ask Governor Palin to reconsider her endorsement of Ms. Handel," said Dean Nelson, executive director for Network of Politically Active Christians.