Dr. Chaps Compares Planned Parenthood to ISIS

TUESDAY POLS UPDATE: Planned Parenthood Votes Colorado responds to Rep. Gordon “Dr. Chaps” Klingenschmitt in a blistering statement:

It is deeply troubling that Rep. Gordon Klingenschmitt of El Paso County has decided to stoop to ridiculous rhetoric instead of finding common solutions to the real policy issues facing Colorado families. In a recent podcast, he praised a South Dakota legislator who compared Planned Parenthood to ISIS. In fact, the legislator from SD, like Rep. Klingenschmidtt, has championed the extreme agenda being pushed by the groups that yell at and harass women who seek care in health clinics.

Planned Parenthood provides reproductive health care to women and men and makes sure that women have the option to decide when is the best time to begin their families. Planned Parenthood ensures that people have all the information, options, and support that they need to make their own health care decisions. That is why one in five women in America has turned to Planned Parenthood for support and health care. That’s a far cry from “terrorism.”

This is not the first time Rep. Klingenschmitt has taking the extreme position of drawing comparisons between people or policies he disagrees with to the “Islamic State.”

His behavior is reprehensible, extreme, out-of-touch and should be denounced by all of his legislative colleagues and the leaders of both political parties. This goes beyond politics – it is shameful and we hope both Democrats and Republicans alike will be honest in declaring it so.

—–

State Rep. Gordon Klingenschmitt has said he’s “very proud” of South Dakota State Rep. Isaac Latterell, who wrote a blog post last month comparing Planned Parenthood the Islamic State.

“I am discerning the spirit of god on this state rep from South Dakota,” said Klingenschmitt in Tuesday’s edition of his online video series called Pray in Jesus’ Name, beginning at about the five minute mark below. “His name is Issac Latterell. And he is taking a stand to protect the innocent, and I am very proud of that.”

“Father, we ask your blessing, on South Dakota, on all of America, Father, that we would stand against terrorism in all its forms, stand against murder of innocents in all of its forms, that we would be consistent in our policy and stop funding the abortion business with American tax dollars,” he said later. “God, wake us up as a nation to stop the slaughter of innocents.”

As I reported for RH Reality Check this morning, the last time Klingenschmitt brought up ISIS, writing last year that U.S. Rep. Jared Polis  wants “to bankrupt Christians who refuse to worship and endorse his sodomy” and that Polis would “join ISIS in beheading Christians,” Ryan Call denounced Klingenschmitt’s comments.

This, in turn, led Klingenschmitt to say his remarks were “hyperbole” and that “some Democrats do not have a sense of humor.”

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GOP Anti-Abortion Bill #3 (!) Up Today

Creepy Uncle Sam holding a speculum.

Creepy Uncle Sam holding a speculum.

9NEWS' Amy Crowfoot reports, they just can't help themselves:

HB15-1112, sponsored by Rep. Lois Landgraf (R-Fountain), would require a physician to "take all medically appropriate and reasonable steps to preserve the life of a born-alive infant" and prohibits denying nourishment to a born-alive infant with the intent of ending the infant's life. It also prohibits using a born-alive infant for scientific research or other experimentation.

Landgraf said that because there are no reporting requirements for abortions, there is no way of knowing what happens to born-alive infants at this time. "The baby," she said, "can be set on a shelf and allowed to die."

Back in reality,

"It is already illegal to kill a living human being," [Pols emphasis] [Rep. Lois] Court said, also adding, "I am really tired of my Republican colleagues bringing forward divisive social issues when we really should be focused on rebuilding our middle class here in Colorado."

The same arguments apply here as with the other GOP anti-abortion bills that have been introduced to certain death in the Democratic-controlled House. The motivation must be deeply emotional and ideological, because politically, it's just disastrous. Whatever marginal benefit running these bills have with motivating the conservative anti-abortion base is totally undone by the moderate voters these bills alienate. Politically, it's a tremendous gift to Democrats, proof positive that the "War on Women" is no myth.

There seems to be this idea that Republicans can insulate themselves from criticism over abortion, perhaps following Cory Gardner's example of gumming the issue to death, even as they run anti-abortion legislation year after year.

2014's experience notwithstanding, we do not share their optimism.

GOP’s Self-Injurious Abortion Ban Bill Up Today

FRIDAY UPDATE: 9NEWS reports on the bill's eventual death Thursday on a 7-6 party line vote:

Thursday's bill was the second of three anti-abortion bills introduced this year. A bill to increase the regulation of abortion clinics was defeated in committee earlier this year. The third bill, banning partial birth abortions, is scheduled for committee debate next Tuesday.

HB15-1041 would make abortion unlawful with violations resulting in a class 3 felony. An exemption is made for the life of a woman, though exemptions for rape and incest are not included.

Testimony before the house judiciary committee was limited to three minutes due to the number of supporters and opponents signed up to testify…

When pressed by committee chair Rep. Daniel Kagan (D-Cherry Hills Village) about cases of rape and incest, supporters of the bill defended the non-exception saying that abortion often hides incest or causes the women affected to feel victimized twice.

—–

Photo courtesy NARAL.

Photo courtesy NARAL.

The Colorado House Judiciary Committee is set to debate (and barring unforeseen circumstances, to kill) House Bill 15-1041 Thursday afternoon, the bill sponsored by a number of House and Senate Republicans to make abortion in Colorado a class 3 felony. It's the same essential language that Republicans introduce in most legislative sessions, including and preceding now-U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner's bill to impose the same penalty on doctors who perform abortions in 2007.

A press release from NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado recounts the effort that organization is making, as in previous years, to ensure that the bill not only dies, but politically damages Republicans who sponsored and enabled it:

For the second time in two weeks, anti-choice legislators are wasting time in the General Assembly with HB 1041, yet another “personhood” bill that would ban all abortion and many forms of birth control. This comes after Colorado voters defeated a personhood measure by landslide margins in 2014 for the third time. The bill will be heard in the House Judiciary Committee Thursday afternoon…
 
In 2014, the voters of Colorado overwhelmingly reiterated a belief that they had previously declared in 2012, 2010 and 2008: they believe women have the right to make their own personal, private medical decisions about abortion and that abortion bans are wrong. This is a mainstream value held by the vast majority of Coloradans for decades.
 
The will of Colorado citizens is clear: they want to focus on the economy and other  issues currently affecting our state. Colorado voters appreciate the work being done to reduce the numbers of teen and unintended pregnancy by over 40% and in turn reducing the number of abortions by over 30%, but access to safe and legal abortion is still a necessity for many women.

As everyone knows, this legislation has absolutely no chance of passing the Democratic-controlled House Judiciary Committee today, nor would it pass the House if it made it to the floor–and maybe not even the GOP-controlled Senate, where we have to think there is a moderate Republican vote left to stop a felony abortion ban bill. And of course, Gov. John Hickenlooper would veto it in the worst case. These simple realities have made even some Democrats complacent about opposing–and as a result, publicizing–continuing Republican efforts to ban abortion in Colorado.

Morally and politically, that's a huge mistake. In last year's elections, the principal response to Democratic attacks over reproductive choice from Republicans was that the "war on women" was overblown. Cory Gardner morphed from the sponsor in the Colorado legislature of the same felony abortion ban up for debate today to a supposed "champion" of access to birth control who had only voted for hypothetical abortion bans. Gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez, who in 2006 had promised to sign a total no-exceptions abortion ban as governor, tried to claim last year that he would not do anything of the kind. Republican surrogates and the Denver Post's editorial board told voters flat-out not to worry about abortion rights.

Well folks, what if Bob Beauprez had won? What if Republicans had picked up just a couple more House seats, and 2014 abortion ban co-sponsor Brian DelGrosso was now Speaker of the Colorado House? We're not talking about big margins in either case. If Democrats aren't out there every day extracting maximum damage from the GOP for these bills, reminding voters every time how close last year's elections were, and pushing back on the GOP's insistence that the "war on women" is mythical with this irrefutable proof that it is not mythical at all…if they're not doing that, they're not doing their jobs. And they'd be missing a priceless opportunity.

Because in addition to being politically expedient, making these bills costly for Republicans at the ballot box is the only way to make them stop.

Democrats Sound Off On GOP Abortion “T.R.A.P.” Bill

nonono

FRIDAY UPDATE: As the Denver Post's Joey Bunch reports, Rep. Gordon "Dr. Chaps" Klingenschmitt couldn't even hold it together long enough to keep Republicans unified on a plainly anti-abortion message bill with zero chance of passage. That takes skill, ladies and gentlemen:

A bill that aimed to put more regulations on abortion clinics in Colorado failed in a House committee Thursday, after supporters of regulations said it would make the process safer and opponents called it an attempt to make abortions harder and more expensive to get. The bill was killed on a 8-5 vote.

Rep. Gordon Kligenschmitt, R-Colorado Springs, voted with the Democrats, saying the bill appeared to give state approval to abortions. [Pols emphasis]

Awesome, "Dr. Chaps!" You've discovered the only way to make this bill even more pointless.

—–

2015-02-12 13.07.45

A press release from NARAL Pro Choice Colorado today publicizes a bill from Colorado Republicans to pass a host of Texas-style restrictions on abortion in Colorado, House Bill 15-1128:

Among our core values is a belief that government has no right to interfere with our personal, private medical decisions. So when anti-choice male Colorado legislators introduce HB 1128, a ‘women’s health’ bill that would impose unnecessary restrictions on Colorado abortion care providers and reproductive health care access, we stand up and say, No, not in our state. Furthermore, the bill establishes "personhood”, which Coloradans voters have rejected three times at the ballot box.
 
Colorado doctors and health care providers shouldn’t be harassed out of business by anti-choice politicians, and Colorado women shouldn't be denied access to care for political, not medical, reasons. Abortion is one of the safest procedures performed in the United States.  According to the Centers for Disease Control less than half a percent of all abortions lead to complications that might lead to hospital care.Abortion providers are already regulated by their professional licensing boards and follow standards set by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and Centers for Disease Control.
 
In other states, anti- choice Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) laws have reduced access to reproductive health care, including abortion care. In Texas TRAP legislation resulted in the closure of 32 out of 40 clinics that provided reproductive health and abortion services. Women in those states are now driving hundreds of miles across the state, in some cases across state lines, to get the care they need. Further, these laws impact the most marginalized, low income women and women of color who already experience the greatest barriers to accessing the care they need.

Although this legislation is being pushed by Republicans as "not banning abortion," in fact the entire bill pertains to the regulation of abortion clinics–and imposes regulations like requiring a doctor at an abortion clinic have admitting privileges at a local hospital. In practice, these regulations have resulted in the closure of most abortion clinics in states like Texas where they've been enacted.

Also interesting in this legislation, as the release above alludes to, is a provision that once again seeks to "define" an unborn child. That is, from the moment of conception.

"UNBORN CHILD" MEANS THE OFFSPRING OF HUMAN BEINGS FROM CONCEPTION UNTIL BIRTH.

Conception is also defined thusly:

"CONCEPTION" MEANS THE FUSION OF THE HUMAN SPERMATOZOON WITH A HUMAN OVUM.

Really, folks, it wouldn't be a Colorado Republican abortion bill without a little Personhood! This is where their bill that "doesn't ban abortion" gets tricky–and might, if passed, do exactly what they say it wouldn't. The bill is expected to die today, but not before giving Democrats another opportunity to prove again why that whole "war on women" thing is not, you know, fake. But for a couple of House races and Bob Beauprez, this could have been a very different situation.

And that is a lesson for both sides.

Key fact in debate about pregnancy-prevention program: IUDs prevent pregnancy

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Sen. Kevin Lundberg (R).

Sen. Kevin Lundberg (R).

The Ft. Collins Coloradoan advanced a story Monday that Boulder Rep. KC Becker is working on a bill to provide $5 million for a state teen-pregnancy prevention program that, in a privately-funded multi-year pilot phase, reduced teen pregnancies by 40 percent and teen abortions by 35 percent–and saved Colorado tens of millions of dollars to boot!

The Coloradoan quoted Sen. Kevin Lundberg, who's the Assistant Republican Majority Leader, as objecting to such funding because the program relies on the distribution of free or no-cost intrauterine devices (IUDs) and other long-lasting pregnancy -prevention implants, and Lundberg (along with twice failed gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez) believe IUDs cause abortions.

But IUDs work before pregnancy occurs!

“Any statement that IUDs aren't contraception simply isn't medically or scientifically accurate," said Dr. Jennifer Hyer, a Denver Ob-Gyn, in a statement distributed by NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado. "As a licensed, practicing Colorado OB-Gyn I recommend IUDs for my patients all the time. They are among the most effective forms of contraception, especially for at-risk women, because they automatically prevent pregnancy. That’s why Colorado's program was so successful, and access to long-acting contraceptives needs to continue if we want to keep reducing the teen birth and abortion rate.”

The Coloradoan rightly pointed out that the "definition of pregnancy used by the [Colorado Department of Health and Environment] and other scientists has pregnancy beginning at the implantation of the fertilized egg."

The definition of pregnancy is so central to the debate around this teen-pregnancy-prevention bill that the Coloradoan should have been even more explicit, saying that the mainstream scientific community, meaning the scientific establishment of nerdy medical people, including the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, have defined pregnancy as beginning at implantation, not before.

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Sorry, Rep. Klingenschmitt, You’re Out of Order

Via the AP's Kristen Wyatt, Colorado's most-discussed freshman state legislator Rep. Gordon "Dr. Chaps" Klingenschmitt ran smack into the merciless buzzsaw that is Robert's Rules of Order this morning:

Here's video of Rep. Klingenschmitt's abortive (pun intended) moment of silence for "57 million American citizens lost since Roe v. Wade":

​All things being equal, this could have been worse for the rookie GOP lawmaker, but he wisely chose not to press any objection. You see, the general announcements period in the morning is not for these kinds of political grandstand-y statements. It's for, well, general announcements. It's okay to take time on the House floor to make a more political statement of this kind, in what's known as a "moment of personal privilege"–but you have to have the permission of the Speaker of the House to do that, and Rep. Klingenschmitt did not.

It's a little humiliating, but certainly nothing to have a hunger strike over. Also not evidence of Speaker Dickey Lee Hullinghorst's demon possession, unless it's true, as we've heard, that demons are sticklers for parliamentary procedure. In which case…

Just kidding, "Dr. Chaps."

Gumming Abortion To Death, Part III: Game Over

Sen. Cory Gardner.

Sen. Cory Gardner.

Huffington Post's Laura Bassett:

Emboldened by a new Senate majority, Republicans in Congress introduced five abortion restrictions in the first three days of the new legislative session that would severely limit women's access to the procedure.

Reps. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) on Monday reintroduced a ban on abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, which the GOP-controlled House already passed once in 2013. And Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) introduced four bills on Wednesday that would bar Planned Parenthood from receiving federal family planning funds, require all abortion providers to have admitting privileges at a local hospital, ban abortions performed on the basis of gender, and allow hospitals, doctors and nurses to refuse to provide or participate in abortion care for women, even in cases of emergency…

While the 20-week abortion ban never received a vote in the Senate after passing the House, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has promised anti-abortion activists that he will bring the bill to the floor. It would ban abortions two to four weeks earlier than the fetus would be viable outside the womb, violating the precedent set by the Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. (In that case, the court ruled that women have a constitutional right to legal abortion up until the fetus would be viable outside the womb.)

Last August, now-Sen. Cory Gardner recommitted to voting for the 20-week abortion ban, as he did in June of 2013 the last time he was given the opportunity as a member of the House. We haven't seen a position from Gardner on these new abortion restriction bills introduced by Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana, but none of them seem out of line with his "support for life"–even after abandoning the Colorado statewide Personhood abortion ban measures he had previously supported. And before any of you accuse Vitter of hypocrisy, keep in mind that he always used protection with the D.C. Madam's prostitutes.

We digress.

The long battle over Gardner's slippery record on abortion in 2014, an issue that Gardner freely embraced the extreme right of until he became a candidate for statewide office, was lost by Democrats–it's a story we've recounted since the election several times. Gardner's ability to "gum to death" his major and ongoing contradictions on abortion, eventually turning his opponents' relentless focus on the issue into a positive for his campaign, was a remarkable feat of political subterfuge–one of the greatest we have seen in our decade of covering Colorado politics.

Gardner's triumph over his own record on the issue of abortion is perhaps best demonstrated by the Denver Post's endorsement, in which they declared flat-out, in denial of all evidence to the contrary, that "Gardner's election would pose no threat to abortion rights." Not all newspaper endorsements matter, and arguably their importance has been in decline for years. But in this case, the "liberal" Denver Post's wholesale dismissal of this central plank in the case against Gardner's election had an outsize effect: perhaps even decisive after being celebrated in pro-Gardner ads from that moment until Election Day.

It's important to know all of this in order to understand why so many Democrats haven't "gotten over" the Post's endorsement of Cory Gardner. It wasn't just that the so-called "liberal" Denver newspaper endorsed the Republican candidate. It was the fact that their stated rationale for doing so was based on something Gardner's opponents knew was not true. And now, Gardner's going to prove it wasn't true. With votes.

With his own actions, Gardner is about to further erode the trust of voters in the information they get from the media to make electoral choices. In the long run, that's a very bad thing for the Post–but it hurts the rest of us, too. It's what makes people cynical about politics.

Maybe you shouldn't "get over" that.

Abortion Ban Bill Introduced In Colorado Legislature (Again)

For God and country.

For God and country.

The Colorado Springs Gazette's Ryan Maye Handy:

A slew of proposed bills from both the House and Senate target some of Colorado's hot-button issues, including one House bill that seeks to make performing abortions a felony…

Longtime Sen. Kent Lambert, R-Colorado Springs, along with Sen. Kevin Grantham, R-Cañon City, and newly elected Rep. Gordon Klingenschmitt, R-Colorado Springs, put their names on House Bill 1041, the anti-abortion bill.

…The abortion bill is an echo of past attempts to get personhood laws on the books in Colorado. The most recent attempt, a law that would have classified killing unborn child[ren] as murder, was rejected by voters in the November 2014 election.

A total of ten Colorado Republican legislators in the House and Senate have signed on as cosponsors of House Bill 14-1041. Democrats have assigned the bill to the House Judiciary Committee to die, avoiding the negative optics that sometimes come with sending a bill to the usual "kill committee" of State Affairs. It's not like the bill's fate is any less certain.

What this lost-cause piece of legislation will do, of course, is provide Democrats with exactly what they need to validate their contention that Republicans are the true "social issue warriors"–the label Republican Cory Gardner pinned successfully on Mark Udall as a foil to Udall's nonstop attacks on Gardner over abortion. The media and chattering class turned against "Mark Uterus," but when Gardner votes for a 20-week abortion ban in the Republican controlled U.S. Senate this year, what will they say then?

Because when local Republicans told voters last year that Colorado womens' "right to an abortion is not in jeopardy," they were flat-out lying. This latest abortion ban bill just continues a trend:

During the 2014 state legislative session, lawmakers introduced 335 provisions aimed at restricting access to abortion. By the end of the year, 15 states had enacted 26 new abortion restrictions. Including these new provisions, states have adopted 231 new abortion restrictions since the 2010 midterm elections swept abortion opponents into power in state capitals across the country.

The risk inherent here is that voters, honest reporters, etc. will begin to understand that the "war on women" simply goes on hiatus at election time. This bizarre cycle of abortion being written off by the pundits as a nonissue in October, only to roar back to life the following January, can't go on forever.

Can it?

Top 10 Stories of 2014: Colorado’s Two-Headed Electorate (#10)

How many fingers am I holding up?

Today we kick off our annual list of the "Top 10 Stories of the Year" in Colorado politics. We start, appropriately, with #10: Colorado's Two-Headed Electorate.

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The 2014 Election was unlike the 2012 Election in Colorado.

You don’t need to be a rocket surgeon to have come to that conclusion, but the 2014 Election did indeed confirm a suspicion that arose following the results of 2012: There are two distinct electorates in Colorado.

In 2010 and 2014, Colorado experienced similar results to states around the country as part of a Republican “wave” election (though you can argue that 2014 wasn’t really a wave year, but that’s another subject for another time). In fact, Colorado post-election 2014 looks incredibly similar if not for the collapse of Republican Ken Buck’s Senate campaign in the closing weeks of 2010. This might be understandable as a trend if we ignored Presidential election years, but there’s no question that Democrats were stronger at the polls in 2008 and 2012.

It is not a groundbreaking theory to suggest that Colorado has two different electorates that vary from Presidential to mid-term election years, but in 2014 we saw the extension of a very distinct pattern in Colorado that dates back to President Barack Obama’s election in 2008. Perhaps this pattern will break in 2016 with a different group of Presidential candidates, or perhaps this is a new modern reality in American politics. Everything we’ve seen suggests the latter. Here's why:

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Watchdog reporting needed on Gardner

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Sen.-elect Cory Gardner.

Sen.-elect Cory Gardner.

Yesterday, Rep. Cory Gardner voted to halt Obama's program to defer deportation of millions of immigrants who have children in our country.

Gardner voted in Aug. (during the election campaign) against halting Obama's  program to defer deportations of young immigrants.

The two votes weren't exactly identical, but they're close enough to  make you wonder how Gardner reconciles the two. Yet, I can't find a single reporter who asked him directly about the inconsistency.

Instead,  the Associated PressDurango HeraldFox 31 Denver, the Grand Junction Sentinel,  and The Denver Post all apparently relied on Gardner's self-serving statement saying, in part, that "we owe it to generations past and generations to come to find a solution to our broken immigration system."

It's possible some reporters asked to speak with Gardner himself, but they didn't report this. If so, they should have.

But it's not too late to insist on talking to Gardner, if you're a journalist who has access to him, to cover the basic journalistic function of calling out public officials on their inconsistencies between what's done on the campaign trail and what happens in office.

A baby step in the right direction was provided during a Gardner interview Dec. 3 on SeriusXM's new show, Yahoo! News on POTUS

Host Olivier Knox had the presence of mind to ask Gardner whether his "campaign talk" about making birth control pills available over the counter "can translate into legislative action."

Gardner replied:

It needs to translate into policy action. The FDA has their approval process when it comes to prescription, over-the-counter move. I will certainly continue to support and urge, whether it’s legislative action. We’ve got to figure out the best policy option, the best way forward in making sure we have the continued fight for over-the-counter contraceptives, which I continue and will continue to support and push for. And so, we’ll be talking to the FDA and talking about how best to make that happen. It’s something Gov. Jindal first proposed, ACOG, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, supported the move to over-the-counter contraceptions and it’s something we’ve got to encourage to happen here.

I give Knox credit here for asking the question, even though I'd have pressed Gardner to clarify his plan for implementation of a major campaign promise. Will he seek legislation if necessary? How long will he press the Administration? Etc.

Ditto for Gardner's plan on immigration. If he's against deferring deportations, then what's he for? And how does it comport to his campaign promises?

I'm hoping we get this type of watch-dog attitude from reporters going forward on Gardner.

Gumming Abortion To Death, Part II: Joke’s On You, Ladies

Abortion-Rights

One of the central issues of the 2014 elections in Colorado was the battle over abortion policy–both at the federal and state levels, where GOP U.S. Senate candidate Cory Gardner outlasted months of withering attacks on the issue, and voters again rejected a "Personhood" abortion ban ballot measure. Colorado has a long history of support for women's reproductive rights, and the lopsided margins by which Personhood has been defeated here in recent years have made the issue toxic for Republican politicians who used to proudly campaign on their support for banning abortion.

In 2014, however, Republicans successfully blunted the issue of abortion in Colorado–more than that, they managed to turn the debate back on Democrats, successfully countering that liberal "social issue warriors" were wrongly obsessing about a non-issue. Conservative go-to foil on women's issues Laura Carno wrote an op-ed suggesting that the entire question of abortion rights in this year's elections was overblown–declaring flat-out, despite the many avowedly pro-life GOP candidates on the ballot, that Colorado womens' "right to an abortion is not in jeopardy." In the Denver Post's endorsement of Cory Gardner, they claim with no supporting evidence whatsoever that "Gardner's election would pose no threat to abortion rights." Next month, one of the GOP-controlled U.S. Senate's top priorities is a 20-week abortion ban.

In 2006, Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez promised to sign an abortion ban in Colorado that would make no exceptions even for cases of rape or incest, and was happy to explain in detail exactly why he thought that was the right thing to do. This year, Beauprez's message on abortion was a complete about-face: "I respect people's opinion, women's right to that choice."

Because Beauprez was defeated, and Democrats retained at least partial control of the state legislature, the question of what Republicans in full control would do on abortion isn't going to be tested here. But what's going on elsewhere, in the wake of the GOP's huge gains in state legislatures across America? As Politico's Paige Cunningham reports, all that stuff you heard before the election about abortion rights not being in jeopardy–it's simply not true.

The big Republican gains in the November elections strengthened and enlarged the anti-abortion forces in the House and the Senate. But it’s the GOP victories in the statehouses and governor’s mansions that are priming the ground for another round of legal restrictions on abortion…

Abortion rights advocates have had setbacks in the states for several years, with a surge of legislative activity since 2011. [Pols emphasis] Women seeking abortions may face mandatory waiting periods or ultrasound requirements. Clinics may face stricter building codes or hospital admitting privilege rules they can’t satisfy. Dozens of clinics have shut down in multiple states. Texas, for instance, has fewer than 10 abortion clinics now. A year ago, it had 40.

Republicans now hold two-thirds of the state legislative bodies, after winning control of 11 more chambers. They completely control the legislature in more than half the states, adding Nevada, New Hampshire and West Virginia to that list earlier this month. And they gained two more governor’s seats, so they will hold 31 next year.

Steady Democratic control of Colorado in recent years means we haven't seen the same kinds of proposed restrictions on abortion that have passed in many other states, and the ones that have been introduced have been defeated with enough fanfare to render them political liabilities for Republicans. Despite this, 2014 marked the greatest challenge to Democratic control by Republicans since Democrats took the legislature in 2004–and before the ballots were fully counted, Republicans had a few glorious moments when control of the Colorado House, Senate, and Governor's Mansion were all at least hypothetically in reach.

Today, even with Republicans only in narrow control of the Colorado Senate after last month's elections, a program credited with reducing teen pregnancy by 40% is already in jeopardy. Without more power, there's not much that Republicans in Colorado can do legislatively to further restrict abortion and contraception access–but now that the election is over, it's time to recognize that the downplaying of abortion by the GOP and accommodating local media was enormously deceptive. The truth is, restrictions on reproductive choice are passing across the nation–and if Republicans had taken control of this state as they did so many others in the last two midterm elections, restrictions on abortion rights could well become law in Colorado too.

In that event, a lot of local pundits and media types would owe you an apology.

For If It Prosper, None Dare Call It a “War on Women”

waronwomen

AP via the Denver Post, a familiar 2015 Colorado legislative battleground already taking shape:

Democrats who credit a drop in teen pregnancy to expanding access to long-acting birth control such as intrauterine devices have to persuade Republicans to use state money for contraceptives…

The Colorado Family Planning Initiative has provided low-income women access to birth control like IUDs and hormone implants for free or low cost at 68 clinics in the state. But state officials say $5 million is needed to continue the program.

The problem, of course, is that Democrats no longer have full control of the Colorado General Assembly. And that means the decision of whether to continue a program credited with reducing the rate of teen pregnancy in Colorado by 40%, in addition to reducing the number of abortions, is at least partly in the hands of Assistant Senate Majority Leader-elect Kevin Lundberg.

"We are talking about the most critical issue of protecting life or abortion," said Sen. Kevin Lundberg, a Republican from Berthoud who will chair the Health and Human Services Committee. Lundberg said he doesn't oppose the use of condoms or pills. But he said IUDs are "abortifacients," meaning they cause abortions.

"That is not medically correct," countered Dr. Larry Wolk, the state's chief medical officer and the director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment… [Pols emphasis]

The thing is, we already know it's not medically correct, we just dealt with the incorrect assertion that interuterine devices (IUDs) are "abortifacients" when failed GOP gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez said as much during a debate against Gov. John Hickenlooper this year. Beauprez was drilled by reproductive health experts for claiming IUDs are "aborifacient" after Hickenlooper cited this same program a successful policy. Other Republican candidates, like U.S. Senate candidate Cory Gardner desperately trying to convince undecided voters that the whole idea of banning birth control is "crazy," watched in horror as Beauprez at least morally validated the idea of doing just that.

Perhaps the biggest triumph of the 2014 elections in Colorado for Republicans was successfully "gumming to death" the issue of reproductive choice, which had cost them dearly in previous years as Colorado's electorate rejected abortion bans over and over. Led by Cory Gardner's deliberate campaign to "muddy up" the issue enough to blunt Democratic attacks, the GOP's insistence that the "war on women" is fake eventually suckered enough pundits, reporters, and editorial boards to sway conventional wisdom–at least through November 4th.

But as we'll all learn again next month, the "war on women" simply takes a break during election years.

Re-run: Ken Buck jumps back on personhood horse!

(Remember, the "war on women" is a myth! – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Rep.-elect Ken Buck.

Rep.-elect Ken Buck.

The GOP's newbie House members elected U.S. Representative (forthcoming) Ken Buck as their president Thursday.

If you follow Buck's history here in Colorado, you know his squeaker victory over establishment-backed Republican Jane Norton in the 2010 Republican primary was powered by a coalition of fiscal and social conservatives on the far right side of the party's base.

Buck's victory formula involved trotting off to Tea-Party shebangs and bragging not only getting rid of the 17th Amendment but also about his exuberant opposition to abortion even for rape.

And, of course, he went whole hog for Colorado's personhood amendments, until he didn't.

You might not think Buck would dive into the personhood rabbit hole again, given how badly it went for him last time, with the embarrassing flip flipping and all. I mean, for Christ sake! But no. He's on personhood again!

Last month, as he was apparently looking ahead to taking a Republican leadership role in Congress, Buck endorsed the infamous Life at Conception Act, which aims to ban abortion by giving zygotes (fertilized eggs) legal protection as persons under the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

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Unpacking “Abortion”: What White Men Don’t Get

Or, “Why Mark Udall and Amendment 67 Both Lost in 2014″

I was sitting in my living room a number of months ago, when a Udall commercial came on television and our wonderful Colorado senior U.S. Senator confidently and clearly articulated the word, “abortion”. “He’s going to lose”, I told my husband, “Mark’s going to lose”.

White men don’t get it — especially the kind of 30 year old, private school-educated, pea-coat-wearing frat boys who run market research firms and conduct polls and fly back and forth between DC and Denver — the kind who show up in every federal election, advising Senate and Congressional candidate campaigns on behalf of the DCCC or the DSCC. Out of touch and clueless about middle-aged or retired suburban women, or people of color of all ages in CO, they brought down Joe Miklosi’s congressional campaign in 2012, and they just brought down one of the best U.S. Senators we’ve ever had, Mark Udall. Udall’s team should have questioned their advice and trusted local grassroots, boots-on-the-ground opinions instead. They can’t say they weren’t warned.

Although the “frat boys” (as I like to call them) are confident in the answers they receive in their polls and surveys, they ask all the wrong questions. Any federal level candidates in CO who continue to run campaigns without having every important CO demographic represented on their strategy teams will lose in the future (are you listening, Senator Bennet?). If they want to understand suburban, middle class mothers or college-aged people of color, or seniors on fixed incomes, they better have them on their steering committees in similar proportions.

The abortion issue is a perfect example. Research shows the vast majority of women want abortion to be legal and safe (this is not a Democratic secret, folks). For some people (including young men), the battle cry “My body, my choice” resonates with an underlying libertarian “don’t tell me what to do” chord. For many women I have spoken with about this issue, either as a women’s leader, or as a former crisis center counselor, or as an activist/organizer who has knocked on thousands of CO doors over many years, abortion is not a black and white, intellectual issue – it is a personal, very private decision which is frequently not discussed in polite company. For some women, it is a painfully emotional subject associated with layers of spiritual, family and financial baggage. For many women, terminating a pregnancy is a tug-of-war with their heart, and certainly not a subject they are comfortable having bantered about ad nauseum on their living room televisions by a bunch of men who have no proverbial clue what it is like to be a woman. For many women, the entire conversation is off-limits, and the frankness of the political ads makes them feel very, very uncomfortable.

Not only are many women uncomfortable hearing abortion debated while they’re helping their eight year old with homework or collapsing into a chair after a long day at work, their motives to have had an abortion are not always what men assume them to be. For a lot of women, abortion is not about “my life” or “my body” or “my choice”. For many women I’ve talked to, choosing to end a pregnancy is motivated by selfless concern and love for the potential life they are considering bringing into the world. Women are motivated to have abortions for the same reasons they are motivated about organics, GMOs, fracking, education, climate change, gun restrictions and punishing pedophiles –- because they love children and want every child to be wanted, so they can have healthy, happy lives. For many women, termination is a decision made early in a pregnancy long before there is significant fetal growth or sensation, to protect a child from a life without adequate resources (parenting, food, clothing, health care, etc.) or because of quality of life issues related to fetal anomalies and genetic disorders. For many women, abortion is an emotionally painful but completely selfless decision, made with the best interests of another potential human being in mind – not something every frat boy understands easily.

If there is one thing women will fiercely protect more than their own bodies, or their own choices, or their own civil rights, its children — even other people’s children. Mike Coffman’s brilliant marketing team (let’s face it – he doesn’t get re-elected every two years because he is a good congressman) understood this well in 2012 when they watched Joe Miklosi take a stand for Choice, and then they socked him with an ad that associated Joe with pedophiles because he voted no on the straw-man “Jessica’s law”. I’ll never forget the women I spoke with at the doors while canvassing for Joe who said, “I can’t decide if I want to vote for the guy who hates women, or the one who hates children”. In the end, they voted against the man they were tricked into thinking “hated children” by Coffman’s brilliant, yet evil henchmen.

Amendment 67 failed because women want to keep politicians out of their doctor’s offices. Senator Udall lost his race because women want to keep politician’s talking about abortion out of their living rooms. If Senator Bennet wants to win re-election in 2016, he needs to listen to CO middle-class moms directly and include them on his steering committees — and skip any advice from frat boys about messaging — unless it is about messaging to other frat boys.

Personhood leader’s Halloween costume shows how Gardner stabbed him in the back

(Ouch! – promoted by Colorado Pols)

Here's my favorite Halloween costume. I only wish I'd actually seen it.

We all know senatorial candidate Cory Gardner stabbed the personhood movement in the back, but who would think Keith Mason, the co-founder of Personhood USA, would illustrate the point so brilliantly by inserting a Cory-Gardner monographed knife in his own back?

I offered to buy Mason a beer if he'd send me a photo of his costume. Then I realized he'd probably want harder stuff, so I said I'd buy him shots in exchange for the pic. No response yet, but I wouldn't be surprised if he sent me the photo.

Mason hasn't held back expressing his feelings about Gardner, telling Cosmo a few months ago, for example, that “[Cory Gardner has] built his entire political career on support of personhood. I think he’s just listening to some bad advice, and he’s playing politics.”

Or, put another way, Gardner stabbed Mason and his hard-working personhood colleagues in the back, after they stood with Gardner throughout his political career.