Congressman Cory Gardner's surprise flip-flop on Personhood last Friday continues to rage as a story this week, with another Colorado Congressman now ensnared (Rep. Mike Coffman) and a strange new battle — among anti-abortion groups, no less — about whether we can really believe Gardner's Personhood reversal. In other words, Gardner's attempt to ditch Personhood and leave the issue behind him is working out swell.
The quote at right appears near the end of a long article at LifeNews.com by site founder and editor Steven Ertelt, writing yesterday about Rep. Cory Gardner's switcheroo on Personhood. Ordinarily, you'd probably be able to guess what a story like this, from an anti-abortion news site, would include about a politician who just publicly dismissed Personhood.
But we absolutely did not see this one coming…
To begin: the beginning (specifically, the third paragraph):
During his tenure, Gardner has voted 100% pro-life, casting pro-life votes 14 out of 14 times since he was elected to Congress. Gardner has voted to stop taxpayer funding of abortions, he’s repeatedly voted against Obamacare and funding or Obamacare, he’s voted for legislation to ban late-term abortions, he’s voted to de-fund the Planned Parenthood abortion business and to ban sex-selection abortions.
Gardner is also a sponsor of the Life at Conception act, a pro-life bill establishing the scientific fact that human life begins at conception.
Okay, pretty standard set up before yelling BETRAYAL, right?
Nope. Instead, Ertelt uses those bonafides to start making his case for why Gardner isn't really changing his mind at all. Ertely writes that Gardner is ditching Personhood now because "he saw what happened to a fellow pro-life advocate who endorsed the measure" (Ken Buck in 2010).
And then, the ProLife.com article starts bashing Personhood USA for having the gall to be mad that Gardner just threw them under the bus.
Under a false headline, “Congressman Cory Gardner confesses pro-choice position,” Personhood USA is attempting to mislead pro-life voters into thinking Garnder (sic) is not pro-life.
“Cory Gardner has betrayed the Republican Party, his pro-life voters, and most importantly, unborn babies in Colorado,” commented Jennifer Mason, Personhood Spokesperson.
Obviously, this isn’t the case. Unfortunately, Personhood USA confuses a difference of opinion on pro-life strategy with a difference of opinion on pro-life principles. [Pols emphasis]
The pro-life Susan B. Anthony List endorsed Gardner when he first ran for Congress and confirmed his pro-life bonafides…
…Unlike Harry Reid and his friends who control the Senate, Cory Gardner will give the pro-life movement another vote and the potential to actually pass legislation that will stop abortions and abortion funding. [Pols emphasis]
"Obviously, this isn't the case." It would be funny if it weren't so cringe-worthy — you're not supposed to tell people that the political stunt is just a politican stunt.
The folks at Personhood USA have likely been hearing this argument themselves, because today they sent out a news release to double-down on their anger at Gardner. It's also worth mentioning that they quoted directly from a recent Colorado Pols post, and provided the link (nice Internet etiquette, Personhood USA people!). Here is that release in its entirety:
On Cory Gardner’s recent flip-flop on Personhood:
When a candidate claims to be 100% pro-life, with a 100% pro-life voting record, it is understood that the candidate opposes abortion in every circumstance.
After U.S. Senate-hopeful Cory Gardner erroneously claimed that Personhood amendments would ban contraception, and wrongly denied the Republican Party platform of Personhood for all, Gardner stated a “pro-choice with exceptions” position of advocating for abortions in cases of rape and incest. [Pols emphasis]
“Gardner said he stepped forward because Udall and his allies have spent the last three weeks “distorting my record.” Among the “lies,” he said: claiming that he opposes abortion even in cases of rape or incest.” http://www.denverpost.com/
news/ci_25395470/senate- bombshell-cory-gardner-says- cant-support-personhood
Babies conceived in rape are no less people than babies conceived in any other circumstance. Politicians seem to believe that they can run on a 100% pro-life platform, get elected by a pro-life base of voters, then flip-flop to a more “moderate” position on life and other social issues when they have their sights set on Washington D.C.
The Personhood movement has seen overwhelming growth in Colorado over the past six years. As a movement, nearly half a million signatures have been collected for personhood amendments in Colorado alone. Indeed, ColoradoPols notes that Cory Gardner would likely not have been elected had he not announced support for Personhood in 2010.
"Don't forget that Gardner's public support for Personhood came in 2010, when Gardner was wooing Republican voters in order to become the GOP nominee in CD-4. Gardner might have had trouble winning that nomination in 2010 had he not been such a firm supporter of Personhood. If Gardner really doesn't support "Personhood" now, then he was being disingenuous at best by claiming such fervent belief in 2010."
"Personhood isn't one of those squishy issues that people don't have a strong feeling about one way or the other. Gardner didn't just flip-flop on giving subsidies to Ukraine; where you stand on Personhood is much more of a core belief that speaks to who you are as a human being." http://coloradopols.com/diary/
Cory Gardner’s new stance, opposing the Republican party platform and decrying protection for babies conceived in rape, is an affront to his constituents. A "pro-choice in some circumstances" position is not pro-life, and candidates who adopt this position cannot be counted as pro-life. We can only hope that Congressman Gardner will research and recant the false information he parroted to the Denver Post and return to the values that got him into office. [Pols emphasis]
Communications Director, Personhood USA
If you choose to believe ProLife.com, "re-flip-flopping" on his Personhood position is only a matter of time.
Regardless of the outcome of this anti-abortion wrestling match, it's clear now that Gardner's late-Friday surprise! news dump has become a disaster. Gardner was hoping to separate himself from Personhood, and was probably even counting on some Personhood groups to publicly chastise him. But to have other anti-abortion groups chiming in and trying to gloss over his own remarks? Not in the playbook.