Faced With Catholic/GOP Uprising, Dems Kill Pro-Choice Bill

Protesters against SB-175 Tuesday. Photo credit: Peter Zelasko, Catholic News Agency

Protesters against SB-175 Tuesday. Photo credit: Peter Zelasko, Catholic News Agency

The Denver Post's Kurtis Lee reports on drama yesterday in the Colorado Senate over Senate Bill 14-175, the Reproductive Health Freedom Act. After several days of intense controversy, what was once an important bill for at least some Democrats to close out this year's legislative session is now dead–and the finger-pointing is well underway:

Rather than battle Republicans over a proposal they stressed would help protect reproductive rights, Senate Democrats on Wednesday spiked the legislation — a move that drew applause from some religious groups packed into the chamber's gallery who strongly opposed it…

All Senate Republicans, alongside the Archdiocese of Denver, denounced the legislation as "overreaching" and "ambiguous," saying the measure was not needed.

"It's a solution in search of a problem," said Sen. Bernie Herpin, R-Colorado Springs. "There is no one, no evidence, that has said there's a denial of things like contraception to women in Colorado."

Sen. Andy Kerr, D-Lakewood, who sponsored the measure, said he carried it because constituents expressed at town halls and forums concerns over efforts in other states to make it more difficult for women to seek guidance on abortions and receive common forms of contraception.

From Senate President Morgan Carroll's statement after Senate Bill 175 was killed:

We were optimistic that the Republicans would come on board with a proposal that would ensure all women are able to make private and personal reproductive health decisions with freedom from government interference. But we are disappointed that we were unable to get bi-partisan support to acknowledge and uphold the values of the majority of Coloradans.
 
With 21 days left in the legislative session and 269 bills still pending, having a GOP filibuster would bring D.C. style dysfunction to Colorado.  We have made our point and in the interest of getting the remaining work done, on education, jobs, higher education affordability and childcare, we laid the bill over. 
 
We will continue to fight against attacks on women and their private healthcare decisions and uphold the values of Colorado women and families.

On the other side, here's the story as told by the Catholic News Agency:

Amid growing protests led in large part by the Catholic Church, the Colorado Senate on April 16 killed a controversial bill that could have banned all pro-life laws in the state…

Originally introduced March 31, the controversial bill – S.B. 175 – only gained wide publicity last week. It sought to ban all new pro-life laws and regulations, including requirements for pre-abortion ultrasounds and restrictions on the RU-486 abortion drug.

With the bill now dead, there are reporters and Republicans who say this was a "quixotic effort"–but clearly the bill's religious opponents didn't agree while they massed crowds at the Capitol to oppose it. Proponents point to new restrictions on abortion being passed around the nation, as well as other so-called "pre-emptive" bills, like a bill signed in Oklahoma just this week that pre-emptively bans future minimum wage increases and paid sick day laws, to justify both the intent and functional precedent for the Reproductive Health Freedom Act.

It's our understanding and has been reported, though victorious Republicans deny it today, that threats were leveled by the Senate Minority to bring the entire chamber to a halt for the rest of the legislative session if Senate Bill 175 passed–which could have endangered dozens of important bills. The fact is, Democrats are on solid ground, given the polling on the abortion issue and the overwhelming defeat of abortion ban initiatives in Colorado, pushing a bill to affirmatively protect reproductive choice rights. For that reason alone, predictions that the defeat of Senate Bill 175 has major ramifications seem overblown–certainly not to the degree that Republicans harmed themselves by killing the popular civil unions bill two years ago. In the eyes of voters, questions about efficacy and timing aside, Democrats were on the right side of the issue.

If anything? If you have to take on the Catholic Church, Holy Week might not be the best timing…

Eight reasons why a Denver Post reporter’s scrubbed blog post was newsworthy and should be re-posted on Post’s website

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Here are eight reasons why Denver Post reporter Kurtis Lee's blog post, quoting Rep. Mike Coffman about personhood and abortion-for-rape-and-incest, was newsworthy and should not have been deleted from The Post's website.

1. It was news! The core of Denver Post Politics Editor Chuck Plunkett's written explanation for scrubbing the piece is that it was basically old news. But Lee's piece advanced our understanding of Coffman's thinking both on the personhood amendment (he opposes it under any circumstances; see number four below.) and on abortion-for-rape-and-incest (he supports it beyond his previous narrow support of it in a specific piece of legislation; see number three.)

2. It was the first time Coffman made a public statement himself about un-endorsing the personhood amendment and withdrawing his longstanding opposition to abortion-for-rape-and-incest. These are major flips, and journalism is all about providing a record of actual statements by public officials, not their mouthpieces.

3. Lee's deleted piece, for the first time, informed the public that Coffman has completely changed a long-held position and now broadly favors allowing a woman raped by her father to have an abortion. Last year, as Lee noted in his piece, Coffman supported a provision in a bill allowing abortion for rape and incest. But this anti-choice bill focused narrowly on banning abortions 20 weeks after fertilization, and no news outlets covered Coffman's position. It was completely unknown, until Lee asked Coffman about it, if Coffman favors broad rape-and-incest exceptions to his overall extreme opposition to abortion. It turns out his flip was complete. So Lee's headline for his post reflected actual news: "Mike Coffman adjusts abortion stance in cases of rape and incest."

4. Lee's deleted piece reported, for the first time, that Coffman is opposed to any version of the personhood amendment, even of it were narrowed. In his deleted piece. Lee reported that "Coffman said there is no language he would change in the ballot initiative that would make him support it." This advances Lee's March 25 story, which quoted Coffman's spokesperson, Tyler Sandberg, as saying only that Coffman did not support the personhood amendment in 2012 or this year, and the matter is settled because voters rejected it (not that Coffman's thinking had changed).

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Gardner’s attempt to compare his abortion stance to Schaffer’s doesn’t make sense

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Cory Gardner, Bob Schaffer.

Cory Gardner, Bob Schaffer.

In a blog post Friday, I tipped my hat to a Greeley talk-radio show for being the first media outlet to report that Cory Gardner's new position on abortion, in the wake of his un-endorsement of the personhood amendment, aligns with dogmatic religious views against abortion, even in the case of rape and incest.

But KFKA hosts Tom Lucero and Devon Lentz let me down by not questioning Gardner when he told them he holds the same position on abortion as "many pro-lifers in Colorado, including Congressman Bob Schaffer."

But Bob Schaffer never endorsed the personhood initiative at all, much less collected signatures for it. Personhood leaders would never have called Schaffer one of their "main supporters."

In Congress, Schaffer never co-sponsored federal personhood legislation, which would have banned all abortion, even for rape and incest, like Gardner did less than a year ago.

You can bet Schaffer never sent a constituent a letter saying, "Throughout my life, I've been committed to protecting human life, beginning at conception." Gardner wrote this just last month.

So, actually, Gardner's abortion position is significantly to the right of Schaffer's, which obviously carries serious political baggage for Gardner, as Lucero and Lentz should have pointed out.

On abortion policy and politics, Gardner is much more like Ken Buck. Afrwe being an enthusiastic supporter of the personhood amendment, Buck un-endorsed the measure in much the same way Gardner did, saying he still supported it "as a concept" but he hadn't fully understand it. Gardner, you recall, said the personhood initiative was motivated by "good intentions."

Buck's flip did nothing to stop him from, arguably, losing the election due to his position on women's issues. Schaffer would neither have been as vulnerable as Buck was or as vulnerable as Gardner remains.

These are the issues that should be raised, if Gardner continues to downplay his personhood flip flop by comparing himself to Schaffer.

Talk-radio scoop: Gardner says his abortion position is same as Archbishop Chaput

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Cory Gardner Flip Flops

When Rep. Cory Gardner dumped his longstanding support of the Personhood amendment two weeks ago, reporters failed to tell us about Gardner's new position on abortion.

It turns out, Gardner now holds the same abortion stance as Archbishop Charles Chaput, who left Denver for a Vatican post in Philadelphia in 2011.

That's what Gardner told KFKA (Greeley) talk-show hosts Tom Lucero and Devon Lentz March 27. They get the intrepid-talk-show-host prize for being the first to ask Gardner the logical follow up to his March 21 bombshell about ditching personhood:

LUCERO:  So, Cory, has your position on life changed, or just your position on – with regards to the Personhood initiative?

GARDNER:  Yeah.  I mean, if you look at my record, it still is a pro-life record.  And many pro-lifers in Colorado, including Congressman Bob Schaffer, the Archbishop Chaput of the Catholic Diocese, hold the same position.

LENTZ:  So, it’s really, it’s more along the lines, if I’m understanding correctly, on what contraception is available for women, not – not abortion — for being abortion– it’s just more having the choice of birth control itself.

GARDNER:  Well, that’s one of the consequences that we looked at in terms of contraception, but this issue [personhood] is, I think, a settled issue in Colorado and something that pro-lifers – you know, like I respect peoples’ difference of opinion on this, and I think there are a lot of differences of opinions on this, but I happen to agree that, with the things that I have learned, that I did something that was the right position to take.

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Personhood USA Begs Gardner: “Come Back Before it’s Too Late”

Personhood USA logo.

Personhood USA logo.

Despite his best efforts, Republican Senate candidate Cory Gardner just can't shake the Personhood issue; but it's not just Democrats who keep bringing it up. The following is an open letter, reprinted in its entirety, released via the Christian Newswire by Keith Mason of Personhood USA to Gardner, lamenting Gardner's recent reversal of support for the organization's namesake abortion ban initiatives:

Let's start by taking a deep breath–myself included. The life and death issues surrounding abortion and personhood elevate passionate responses of most Coloradans. In the midst of all the passions and political posturing ahead of the election, I want to extend my hand to Representative Cory Gardner and offer a return to the pro-life principles that many of his constituents hold so dear.

Representative Gardner, you've long said you stood in defense of unborn life from the moment of fertilization, including by co-sponsoring the federal "Life Begins at Conception Act." That act would guarantee the rights and protections of personhood for all unborn children, just like the personhood bills here in the state of Colorado.

Tarnishing that pro-life record by repudiating personhood now makes you untrustworthy–the worst kind of politician. I don't want to think the worst of you, but it's hard not to draw the conclusion that you jettisoned your core principles in a transparently desperate attempt to win a few extra votes. But Cory, this move isn't winning over any Democrats or Independents, it's just alienating to your base. [Pols emphasis]

This type of action prevents me and tens of thousands of Colorado voters from ever voting for you again, or voting for what you represent to us, because we're bound by conscience and completely sick and tired of politics-as-usual. We're weary of candidates who base their positions on polls rather than principles.

But Cory, it's not too late. Retract the false statement, instigated by Planned Parenthood and NARAL, that a personhood bill could ban contraception, when in fact it could not. Of course this is just a talking point, a scare tactic.

Mason's open letter continues after the jump.

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BREAKING: Gardner Recommits To “Personhood” Abortion Ban

Cory Gardner.

Cory Gardner.

As the Rocky Mountain News reports today, another stunning turnabout in the Colorado U.S. Senate race:

Less than two weeks after Republican U.S. Senate candidate Cory Gardner announced he could no longer support the so-called "Personhood" abortion bans that appeared on the Colorado ballot in prior years, today Gardner announced that he "takes it all back."

"This was a bad idea driven by good intentions," Gardner told the Rocky Mountain News. "I was right the first time. I support personhood. I support personhood going forward. To not do it again would be a mistake."

Following Gardner's dramatic Friday evening announcement that he was abandoning support for the abortion ban amendments which were twice rejected overwhelmingly by Colorado voters, Gardner was harshly criticized from both sides of the aisle. Anti-abortion activists denounced Gardner for turning his back on them after years of steadfast support, while Democrats coined the nickname "Con Man Cory" to call attention to his willingness to "say anything to get elected."

"I know I said I was wrong to support Personhood, but I've since realized that it's even worse to be trusted by no one," said Gardner. "Honestly? I got crap advice. With a record of supporting total bans on abortion at every opportunity, nobody believed me when I flip-flopped anyway. I now understand that flip-flopping on Personhood isn't going to win me a single vote, so obviously it was a mistake."

"Mark Udall said a good-faith re-examination of a position you've held in the past should be seen as a virtue, not a vice," Gardner said. "If it's a virtue to change your position once, twice in two weeks should win me a medal!"

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Abortion Debate Polarizes Jeffco Republicans

Great rundown from Lynn Bartels at the Denver Post on how the abortion debate is polarizing Republicans in Jefferson County:

The division in the Colorado Republican Party over abortion was apparent during the Jeffco GOP assembly when a low-key nomination for a state House seat turned into a passionate debate on abortion.

Nate Marshall, a construction manager, was the lone GOP candidate for the seat now held by Rep. Max Tyler, D-Lakewood. At the House District 23 assembly Saturday, delegate John Darrow asked Marshall where he stood on abortion.

“100 percent opposed,” Marshall said, drawing gasps and comments from from the audience.

Bartels goes on to explain how several Republicans spoke up immediately, questioning Marshall's "100% opposed" position on abortion — with one woman even claiming it would force her to vote for the Democrat in the race (Rep. Max Tyler).

The Personhood issue has been a hot topic in Colorado and nationally lately, thanks to Congressman Cory Gardner and his dubious announcement that he was changing his position on Personhood after years of support. Republican candidates still need to be firmly anti-abortion in order to make it through a Primary, but it sounds like more and more GOP voters are getting fed up with the Republican Party's refusal to bend on the issue.

Gardner Was Affirming Personhood Belief Just Days Before Flip-Flopping

Former Democratic Presidential candidate John Kerry was famously attacked in 2004 for his own admission that he voted against the War in Iraq before he voted in support of the conflict. Republican Congressman Cory Gardner, now running for the U.S. Senate, may have just upped the ante on flip-flopping; it's sounding like Gardner was against Personhood while he supported it.

The Denver Post's Lynn Bartels writes in "The Spot" today about Sen. Mark Udall's campaign hitting hard on Rep. Cory Gardner's Personhood flip-flop:

Sen. ’s campaign is up with a brutal online ad on Congressman , looking at his comments and his actions on and .

The message from the ad, which features ominous music: “His beliefs haven’t changed. Just his ambitions.”…

…Gardner’s views have been national news ever since The Denver Post revealed last Friday that Gardner had switched his position on personhood, saying it was wrong to have supported the ballot measures because he now agrees with critics that they outlawed some forms of birth control. Gardner said he still opposes abortion.

In Bartels' post at "The Spot," she mentions receiving a copy of an email sent from Gardner's office to a CD-4 constituent just a few days before Gardner flip-flopped on Personhood. The email is important because it contradicts Gardner's original claim to Bartels last Friday that he began re-thinking his position on Personhood after it was pummeled in the polls in 2010. According to Gardner's official email, that's not true. At all. Take a look:

From: "Representative Cory Gardner" <CO04CGIMA@mail.house.gov>
Subject: Responding to your message
Date: March 17, 2014 at 1:02:20 PM MDT
To: <lbouche@>

 

 

 

 
 

 

 

Dear Mrs. Hauser,

 Thank you for contacting me regarding the Women's Health Protection Act.  I appreciate you taking the time to write.  It is an honor to serve you in Congress and I hope you will continue to write with your thoughts and ideas on moving our country forward.  

 On November 13, 2013, Congresswoman Judy Chu (D-CA) introduced H.R. 3471, the Women's Health Protection Act of 2013. This legislation works to eliminate regulations and laws which restrict women's access to abortions. It has been referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

 Throughout my life, I have been committed to the protection of life beginning at conception. [Pols emphasis] I am also a strong supporter of women's rightsOn February 28, 2013, for example, I voted in favor of the Senate proposal to reauthorize funding for Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) grant programs to help prevent domestic violence and protect victims of abuse. I was also a co-sponsor of the H.R. 3067, the Accelerating the End of Breast Cancer Act, in the 112th Congress. Common-sense legislation like this ensures women have access to necessary resources in times of crisis. I will continue to support legislation which promotes women's health, as well as the health and lives of their unborn children. 

Again, thank you for contacting me, and do not hesitate to do so again when an issue is important to you. [Pols emphasis]

 

 Sincerely,

Cory Gardner
Member of Congress

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


There you have it, folks. Cory Gardner, in his own words, directly contradicting his own words. Could he possibly have been any sloppier with this Personhood flip-flop?

“Personhood” Is The Symptom, Not The Problem

GOP Reps. Cory Gardner and Mike Coffman.

GOP Reps. Cory Gardner and Mike Coffman.

AP's David Espo takes a high-level look at the last few remarkable days of Colorado politics:

Republican Rep. Cory Gardner, moving toward the middle in a Senate race with national stakes, said Tuesday he abandoned his longtime support for measures giving legal rights to fertilized human eggs because it is a "settled issue" at home in Colorado…

Gardner's switch comes as Republicans nationally seek to win control of the Senate in this fall's elections. They hope to avoid a repeat of defeats in 2010 and 2012 in Colorado and elsewhere when their candidates lost apparently winnable races because they appeared too extreme on abortion and other issues for mainstream, moderate voters.

…Jennifer Mason of Personhood USA, which sponsored the personhood initiatives, expressed dismay at his shift. "He was elected to his position by pro-personhood, pro-life voters. It's pretty shocking," she said.

Gardner made his comments as a second Colorado Republican in Congress, Rep. Mike Coffman, also jettisoned his support for personhood proposals.

The decision by U.S. Senate candidate Cory Gardner and Rep. Mike Coffman whether or not abandon their prior support for the "Personhood" abortion ban measures involved the risk of massive, perhaps lethal political damage no matter which way they came down. To attempt to defend their support of these measures, would would have banned all abortions even in cases of rape or incest–and even some forms of "abortifacient" birth control–would have likely been political suicide. But by ripping the scab of an issue that smart Republican strategists wish would just go away completely, forcing other Republicans into the unwelcome spotlight with their flip-flopping…it's arguable that just as much damage has been done.

Because when you get past the defensive bluster, it's not about "Personhood." It's about banning abortion.

The possibility that the one-sentence Personhood amendments might have "unintended consequences" like banning certain forms of birth control was used unsuccessfully by Ken Buck in 2010 as an excuse to flip-flop, just as Gardner has now done four years later. But between 2010 and today, Gardner sponsored Personhood legislation in Congress with all of the same "unintended consequences"–that being the term of choice for Coffman's campaign explaining his flip-flop on the issue this week. And while we don't want to minimize the extreme nature of a ban on birth control, this excuse seems to be an attempt to distract from the real problem.

Cory Gardner and Mike Coffman both have explicitly supported a total ban on abortion even in cases of rape or incest during their political careers, entirely unconnected to the Personhood amendments. They may have flip-flopped on a specific policy measure which serviced the goal of banning all abortions, but other than Gardner's absurd denial in Lynn Bartels' original story, we've not seen any further engagement on the larger issue:

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. [Pols emphasis]

Folks, as the record shows clearly, that charge is not a lie. There's no question that in the past, both Gardner and Coffman were willing to detail their opposition to abortion even in cases of rape or incest. Personhood is serving as an escape hatch for both of these men from bigger questions about the issue of abortion, and Democrats should not let that be the last word. In a state as historically pro-choice as Colorado, with the recent electoral history in our state clearly showing that abortion bans are not what the voters want, flip-flopping on the Personhood amendments without context isn't enough.

Unless this really is all a cheap semantic game? Let's poll some Colorado women voters and find out.

Annnnddd…It’s Officially Gotten Worse for Cory Gardner. Much, Much Worse.

Personhood Cory GardnerCongressman 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.

GardnerStache

That wasn’t me who flip-flopped on Personhood. It was that other Senate candidate. The one with the moustache.

But we absolutely did not see this one coming…

Not only is LifeNews.com defending "Con Man" Cory Gardner's move to ditch Personhood, but the author goes so far as to indicate that Gardner doesn't actually mean what he's saying.

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?Cory Gardner

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:

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Romanoff Calls Out Coffman on “Personhood”; Coffman Drops Support

UPDATE #2: Per Fox 31's Eli Stokols, Rep. Mike Coffman is now doing a Cory Gardner and kicking Personhood to the curb entirely — not just as a 2014 ballot measure.

GOP Congressman Mike Coffman is no longer supporting personhood, his campaign confirmed Tuesday, making him the second Republican in the last five days to disavow the movement to ban abortion — even in cases of rape or incest — that he’d previously supported. Coffman, R-Aurora, made his abrupt 180 on the issue public through his campaign just hours after his opponent, Democrat Andrew Romanoff, challenged Coffman to do so…

Cory Gardner Flip Flops

One more pair for Mike Coffman, please

…In fact, Coffman has never disavowed personhood until today. In 2012, he told the Denver Post he “will not be endorsing nor opposing any state or local ballot questions” because he’s running for federal office — which he’s doing again in 2014. But a 2012 article by the Colorado Statesman noted that Coffman “stands alone as a major Colorado politician in close election who has not withdrawn his previous support for the personhood amendment” and quoted two personhood backers praising Coffman for his stance.

Looks like "daddy needs a new pair of shoes":

—–

UPDATE: Coffman's campaign manager responds, as Kurtis Lee of the Denver Post reports:

Coffman’s campaign manager, Tyler Sandberg, called Romanoff the “Czar of Sleaze,” comments that echoed Democratic U.S. Senator Michael Bennet from their bitter 2010 Senate primary, and noted Coffman did not support personhood in 2012 (it was not on the November ballot that year) and does not support this year’s proposal…

…In 2012, Coffman was consistently assailed by this then Democratic challenger, state Rep. , for supporting “personhood.” Often in debates two years ago, Coffman, who is pro-life, would deflect the criticism and insisted his candidacy was not focused on social issues.

That's nice of Tyler Sandberg to note that Coffman didn't support Personhood in 2012, since that's relevant and all. And what's with "Czar of Sleaze?" Is that really the best nickname they could come up with for Romanoff?

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​In a press release and email blast to supporters this morning, Democratic CD-6 candidate Andrew Romanoff challenges incumbent Republican Mike Coffman on the suddenly reanimated issue of the "Personhood" total abortion bans repeatedly proposed in Colorado.

Most Coloradans understand the dangers of the "personhood" amendment. That’s why they’ve rejected this proposal every time it’s reached the ballot.

The amendment would criminalize not only abortion — even in cases of rape or incest — but also common forms of birth control. This initiative represents a clear violation of the U.S. Constitution, and it has no place in Colorado law.

We need a representative who recognizes that.

Unfortunately, Congressman Mike Coffman has supported the personhood amendment at every turn. He has described his opposition to reproductive rights as “unequivocal” and “unapologetic.”

After the jump, the Romanoff campaign's long list from today's release of supporting evidence that Coffman, or at least what we've come to refer to as "Old Coffman," is/has been a longtime supporter of the very same "Personhood" total abortion ban measures that have recently ensnared U.S. Senate candidate Cory Gardner. None of the information is new, of course; we and Democrats have taken note of Coffman's former ardent support for banning abortion even in cases of rape or incest in prior campaigns. But with the issue once again waylaying the campaigns of Colorado Republicans–much to Dick Wadhams' dismay–this may be the year that Coffman is finally made to answer for it.

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Gardner Said He’d Modify his Abortion Stance Before…Then Promptly Co-Sponsored Two Abortion Bills

(We remember this well — the Ft. Collins Coloradoan was not amused. — promoted by Colorado Pols)

Before being elected to Congress four years ago, Rep. Cory Gardner backed off campaign promises to ban abortion, much like Gardner did Friday when he un-endorsed the Personhood amendment.

But, as documented by the Ft. Collins Coloradoan, Gardner subsequently broke his promises and pushed multiple anti-abortion bills, including legislation banning abortion outright. Gardner's history raises the question of whether Gardner's latest twist of his abortion stance can be trusted.

In 2010, just after winning the GOP primary to run against Rep. Betsy Markey, Gardner promised journalists at the Ft. Collins Coloradoan that he wouldn't introduce anti-abortion legislation, despite promising to do so at a campaign event.

The Coloradoan posted audio of a meeting between Gardner and Coloradoan editors in 2010:

Coloradoan Editorial Page Editor Kathleen Duff: You say you're not running on social issues, so you're not, for instance, planning any legislation.

Gardner: Correct.

Duff: And you haven't crafted anything.

Gardner: [laughs] Correct. No. No.

Coloradoan Executive Editor Bob Moore: Although I've been at Tea Party events where you were at where you were specifically asked if you would introduce legislation on abortion, and you did say yes.

Gardner: Bob, I don't recall that.

Moore: Yeah. At one, you even mentioned some legislation you had already introduced in the state legislature, too.

Gardner: I don't recall that.

Moore: I can go back and dig it out. [He did. He posted the audio here.]

Gardner: Be that as it may, I am running to balance the budget…

Moore called out Gardner on his flip, in an article headlined, "Despite tea party pledge, Gardner says he won't carry abortion bill."

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Republicans Hammer “Con Man Cory” Gardner Over Personhood Flip-Flop

Cory Gardner Flip Flops

Camoflauge flip-flops! Perfect for hiding your positions and for looking good on the beach.

UPDATE: More GOP anger at Gardner, as Eli Stokols reports at FOX 31:

Just like Ken Buck, the GOP’s 2010 Senate candidate who first supported personhood only to disavow it later in the campaign, Gardner is suddenly the target of heavy criticism for trying to fool conservatives now that he’s through a primary.

Personhood USA offered this false headline: “Congressman Cory Gardner confesses pro-choice position,” telling pro-life voters that Garnder 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.

Yikes!

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If you're tired of hearing about Republican Senate candidate Cory Gardner's flip-flop on the Personhood issue…get over it. As we've said repeatedly since Gardner tossed Personhood under the bus on Friday afternoon, this may very well be the defining moment of the 2014 U.S. Senate campaign.

Today, Lynn Bartels of the Denver Post follows up on the story she broke on Friday afternoon with reaction from some angry Republicans:

"It was politically stupid for him to do that," Keith Mason, president of Personhood USA, said Monday.

Critics on both sides accused Gardner of trying to alter his image now that he is running against Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Udall in a state where voters two election cycles in a row overwhelmingly rejected personhood. [Pols emphasis]

The 2008 and 2010 ballot measures in essence outlawed abortion, but critics said the language also would have banned emergency contraception in rape cases and limited treatment for infertility.

"Republicans are so thirsty for victory they're ready to drink saltwater," personhood activist Ed Hanks of Douglas County wrote on his Facebook page. "Cory Gardner has just renounced the party platform and embraced abortion. Why are so many conservatives not fazed by this?" [Pols emphasis]

Mason, the President of Personhood USA, also warned that Gardner may now be at risk of losing a chunk of the 475,000 voters who supported Personhood in 2008 and 2010. "He's not going to lose all of them," Mason told the Post. "People are pretty ticked by Obamacare, guns and all the other stuff — but Cory needs those votes."

How big of a problem does Gardner have with Republicans who now feel betrayed? We heard rumblings over the weekend from Republican County Assemblies in Douglas and Jefferson that Gardner's flip-flop was a heated topic of conversation.

Gardner’s Personhood Flip-Flop: The Story Continues

Republican Senate candidate Cory Gardner was obviously hoping that his flip-flop on the "Personhood" issue would be a minor blip on the campaign radar — hence the Friday afternoon surprise — but things haven't quite worked out that way. As FOX 31's Eli Stokols reports, Friday's news-dump is still a story on Monday:

On Monday, Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Udall’s campaign responded to Gardner’s allegation to the Denver Post that the Udall team was”distorting his record” on the issue by pointing to the lawmaker’s record itself, noting that the Republican has co-sponsored legislation to ban abortion without exceptions for rape and incest as a member of the Colorado legislature and the U.S. Congress.

“Once again, Congressman Gardner is trying to run from his long record of turning his back on Colorado women,” the Udall campaign said in a press release. “Despite Gardner’s crocodile tears, the fact remains that the 2007 Colorado abortion ban that bears his name banned abortion even in cases of rape and incest.”

“And for the past two years Gardner cosponsored the Life at Conception Act, which would ban abortions even in cases of rape and incest, and outlaw common forms of birth control. The only person not being honest with Colorado voters is Cory Gardner.”

In 2007, Gardner, then a state representative, sponsored SB 143, which sought to outlaw all abortions with the exception of cases that is “designed to protect the death of a pregnant mother, if the physician makes reasonable medical efforts under the circumstances to preserve both the life of the mother and the life of her unborn child in a manner consistent with conventional medical practice.”

And in 2012 and 2013 as a member of Congress, Gardner supported The Life Begins at Conception Act, a federal attempt to establish personhood. [Pols emphasis]

Those last two sentences above are a key point in Gardner's Personhood flip-flop. As we wrote over the weekend, Gardner's claim to have "re-thought" the issue of Personhood in 2010 is not supported by his own record. If Gardner really did re-think his stance on Personhood four years ago, he certainly kept it to himself while he was co-sponsoring legislation such as "The Life Begins at Conception Act," which is a fundamental part of the Personhood idea.

Not a “lie” for Udall to claim Gardner opposes abortion for rape

Rep. Cory Gardner (R).

Rep. Cory Gardner (R).

(Let's be crystal clear – promoted by Colorado Pols)

The Denver Post reported Friday that senatorial candidate Cory Gardner accused the Udall campaign of lying when Udall claimed Gardner opposes abortion, even in the cases of rape and incest. The Post's Lynn Bartels reported Friday:

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. "Mark Udall wants to run a social issues campaign. He definitely wants to run as the social issues candidate," Gardner said.

Bartels should have stated, specifically, that it was not a lie for Udall to point out that Gardner opposes abortion, even in the cases of rape and incest. That's been Gardner's position–even when asked about it outside of the context of the personhood amendment. Bob Moore of the Ft. Collins Coloradoan reported Sept. 26, 2010:

"I've been very up-front on it; I am pro-life," Gardner, a state representative from Yuma, said in an interview with the Coloradoan. When asked if he would allow exceptions for victims of rape or incest, or when the mother's life is in danger, Gardner said, "I'm pro-life, and I believe abortion is wrong."

Reporters should ask Gardner if he's had a change of heart not just about the personhood amendment, which would ban abortion for rape, but about his opposition specifically to abortion-in-the-cases-of-rape-and-incest. Gardner told The Post that his flip on personhood was based on its restriction on forms of contraception, but he has yet to explain if he's also reversed himself, specifically, on opposing abortion-for-rape-and-incest, and, if so, why.