Get More Smarter on Friday (April 17)

MoreSmarterLogo-Hat1Rain, or snow? Yes! It’s time to Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example).

 

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper is taking a big step forward in urging the legislature to do more to deal with Colorado’s fiscal/TABOR woes. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle seem a bit confused at the timing of Hickenlooper’s “Fiscal Thicket” plan, given that only four weeks remain in the current legislative session.

► The U.S. Senate will hold a field hearing on the status of the VA Hospital project in Aurora next Friday. As Mark Matthews writes for the Denver Post:

A day after the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs ripped into the VA for its role in building a new Colorado hospital now expected to cost $1.73 billion — more than five times its original estimate — the Senate veterans’ affairs committee announced plans to hold a field hearing on the issue April 24 in Aurora.

Colorado Sens. and had urged their colleagues to visit the state to investigate the troubled project, which has been beset by delays, cost overruns, and legal battles.

Do we really need the Senate Committee on Veteran’s Affairs to come to Aurora to understand that the hospital project is a complete mess?

 
Get even more smarter after the jump…

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You Can’t Spell “Justice” with “Personhood”

Senate President Bill Cadman (R).

Senate President Bill Cadman (R).

After weeks of internal discussions, State Senate President Bill Cadman introduced legislation yesterday that would change the definition of a “person” to include “an unborn person at every stage of gestation.” In other words, Personhood, the same general idea that Colorado voters have rejected like John Andrews reading a Log Cabin Republican application.

Cadman was interviewed this week by Denver Post reporter John Frank for a segment on “Denver Post TV,” and the Colorado Springs Republican must have said the word “justice” about 700 times in less than 5 minutes (no, seriously, watch it yourself). Unfortunately for Cadman, repeating the word “justice” doesn’t make his legislation (SB15-268) any more noble than repeating the word “Beetlejuice” will resurrect the ghost of Michael Keaton.

This is the point in the story where we could cut-and-paste the definition of “justice” from the Merriam-Webster dictionary, but that’s a trite cliche that is not only unnecessary, but largely irrelevant when it comes to discussing SB-268. This legislation, titled “Concerning Offenses Against an Unborn Child,” is an attempt by Republicans to take another shot at getting “Personhood” on the books in Colorado; first, foremost, and everything else in between.

This bill, and the latest incarnation of this entire discussion, is the result of a horrific crime committed against a pregnant woman named Michelle Wilkins. But it does not right any wrongs. It does not fix any holes in the law. And it certainly won’t give Wilkins any more justice than she rightfully deserves. The alleged assailant in Longmont, Dynel Lane, is facing eight felony charges laid out by Boulder District Attorney Stan Garnett, as the Denver Post reported last month:

Dynel Lane, suspected of luring an expectant mother to her Longmont home last week and cutting out her unborn child, was charged Friday with eight felony counts in the attack, including first-degree unlawful termination of pregnancy…

…Lane, 34, also faces a charge of first-degree attempted murder, two counts of first-degree assault and two counts of second-degree assault. Prosecutors also filed two counts of a crime of violence against Lane, which are sentence enhancers…

…Garnett said the counts filed are ones they believe they can prove “beyond a reasonable doubt.”

“She could get a very long sentence and very well die in prison,” Garnett said of Lane. [Pols emphasis]

 

In 2013, the Colorado Legislature passed the “Crimes Against Pregnant Women Act,” a carefully balanced approach to increasing penalties for crimes against pregnant women while also protecting them from prosecution and essentially outlawing abortion altogether. Cadman proclaims loudly that this is not enough — that we need more laws on the books so that we can enact extra justice that won’t do anything to change the past or the future for anyone involved in the March 18 attack.

Will Dynel Lane be punished for her crimes? Is justice served if Lane spends the rest of her life in prison? Is this “justice” any more or less real because of the wording used in the criminal charges against her?

Inaction — or action — by the Colorado legislature WILL NOT SET LANE FREE. Let’s not forget this very important point. It is natural for elected officials to feel an over-inflated sense of importance during the fast-paced legislative session, and Cadman and his allies no doubt see this as a political opportunity that could help create a law (Personhood) that Coloradans do not want. This is our elected legislature we are talking about — we don’t give them judicial authority for a very good reason, and that shouldn’t change now.

So call this brazen legislative attempt whatever you want, even if you refuse to call it what it is.

Just don’t call it justice.

Reporters should call bill giving legal rights to fetuses “personhood,” not “fetal homicide”

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

In response to the March 18 attack on a pregnant women in Longmont, state Senate Republicans have introduced legislation expanding the definition of “person” in specific state laws, including Colorado’s murder statute, to include an “unborn child at every stage of gestation from conception until live birth.”

If that sounds like personhood to you, giving legal rights to zygotes (fertilized eggs), that’s because it is a form of personhood. It establishes the fetus as a person, opening the door to possible bans on abortion and the arrest of pregnant women for crimes (e.g., child abuse) against their own fetus. And that’s what concerns Senate Democrats, who are opposing the legislation and saying Republicans are taking advantage of the horrific crime against Michelle Wilkins to pass personhood legislation.

“I am disappointed that the Republicans are choosing to use what happened to the Wilkins family to get ‘personhood’ into law,” said state Sen. Pat Steadman (D-Denver) in a statement after the GOP bill was introduced Tuesday afternoon.

(more…)

Get More Smarter on Wednesday (April 15)

Does your Mom/Dad/Spouse/Significant Other work as an accountant? You might see them tomorrow! It’s time to Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example).

 

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► It’s Tax Day, which is a fitting time for the State Senate to discuss legislation to allow local governments to increase the minimum wage. The statewide minimum wage is $8.23 an hour, and more than 600,000 Coloradans earn less than $12 per hour. Meanwhile, Colorado Democrats are pushing to close offshore tax loopholes that could save the state millions of dollars every year.

► Ruh, roh! It’s starting to look like there was plenty of warning that the VA Hospital project in Aurora was going to get ridiculously expensive. Quick, Rep. Mike Coffman, put out a statement with some sort of military analogy!

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

(more…)

Say no to Personhood–again

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

POLS UPDATE: Statement from Cathy Alderman of Planned Parenthood Votes Colorado:

A recent bill, SB15-268, “Offenses Against Unborn Children,” would broaden Colorado’s definition of “person” to include an “unborn child at every stage of gestation from conception until live birth.” We are concerned that any law creating fetal “personhood” will impact access to abortion services in Colorado, as well as open a door to allowing prosecution of pregnant women.

Over the last few years Planned Parenthood Votes Colorado has worked with lawmakers to pass laws that punish crimes against pregnant women and their unborn fetuses. In 2013, the Colorado General Assembly succeeded in passing the Crimes Against Pregnant Women Act, which allows for a felony charge in the first degree for unlawful termination of Ms. Wilkins’ pregnancy. This is an addition to charges of attempted murder and use of a deadly weapon. In this case, the accused attacker is facing upwards of 100 years in prison if convicted of all the charges. There is no “gap” in Colorado law for punishing this horrific crime.

And from Karen Middleton at NARAL Pro Choice Colorado:

What happened to Michelle Wilkins was awful, and like all Coloradans our hearts go out to her and her family. We support pregnant women who are the victims of crime, and we support holding criminals accountable under our laws.

But SB 268 isn’t the answer. Under the guise of establishing fetal homicide, Senate Republicans have introduced a bill that will result in establishing fetal ‘personhood’ and outlaw access to safe and legal abortions in the state of Colorado.

SB 268 is a very dangerous proposal for Colorado women and their health. It undermines Colorado law, which is the gold standard for protecting pregnant women. Colorado’s law is carefully balanced, unlike other states where fetal homicide laws have been used to prosecute pregnant women and even put them in jail.

—–

Like us, you have probably heard about the horrifying attack suffered by Michelle Wilkins of Longmont. She was violently assaulted by another woman who attempted to steal her unborn child. The alleged perpetrator of this awful crime has been charged with multiple counts of felony criminal behavior, including attempted first degree murder and first degree unlawful termination of pregnancy. If convicted, the assailant will spend the rest of her life in prison.

Michelle Wilkins’ attack is a heartbreaking situation. We are deeply saddened for the loss she and her family have suffered. Rightfully the public outcry for justice is great. 

However, there are some who want to use this tragedy for political gain to attack access to safe abortion services in Colorado. Yesterday, anti-abortion extremists in the Colorado legislature introduced a bill, SB-268, “Offenses Against Unborn Children.” The legislation seeks to create new criminal charge of fetal homicide, which would result in a new definition of a “person” in Colorado law to include an “unborn child at every state of gestation from conception until childbirth.”.  In other words — creation of “personhood.” 

This bill goes against Colorado values. Colorado voters have wisely rejected “personhood” time and time again. They understand creating “personhood” in Colorado law is dangerous and could criminalize Colorado women and their doctors, who need access to safe abortion services. This past November   voters overwhelming rejected the personhood Amendment 67 on the ballot by 64%. Furthermore, SB-268 could put women who have suffered their own loss of a miscarriage or stillborn birth at risk of being prosecuted. SB-268 is a very dangerous proposal for Colorado women and their health.

With our serious and punitive laws in place, Colorado does not need “personhood,” as SB-268 seeks to create. Colorado’s legal system already has the tools to respond and punish criminals who attack pregnant women.  

(more…)

Get More Smarter on Tuesday (April 14)

Forgot to do your taxes? You’ve got a good 36 hours left. It’s time to Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example).

 

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► The Obama Administration says it has a plan to fund construction of the troubled VA Hospital in Aurora. Congressman Mike Coffman, the Republican Chair of the Veterans Subcommittee on Oversight, continues to bluster without taking time to suggest an actual solution.

► The State House is finished debating several more attempts to overturn gun safety laws passed in 2013. There was much debate, talking, and blustering, but in the end, nothing changed…though divisions within the Republican Party are growing, as the Colorado Springs-Gazette editorial board writes:

Forget Michael Bloomberg, Gov. John Hickenlooper and legislative Democrats for now. The bigger threat to gun rights in Colorado is Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, headed by political operative Dudley Brown.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

(more…)

Anti-choice activists push for dangerous fetal-homicide bill

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Senate President Bill Cadman (R).

Senate President Bill Cadman (R).

During a KNUS 710-AM radio interview yesterday, Colorado Senate President Bill Cadman said he’s “really hoping” to get a fetal homicide bill introduced “by the end of the week.”

KNUS radio host Dan Caplis, who’s a deep-red social conservative, urged Cadman to push for a law like California’s, which establishes a fetus as a potential victim of a crime.

Cadman replied that the California law is “definitely one of the models that we’re looking at.”

Pro-choice advocates, however, say the California law undermines civil rights protections of pregnant women, allowing for criminal investigations of pregnant women based on the legal rights of the fetus.

They say any fetal homicide measure is unnecessary, as Colorado’s Crimes Against Pregnant Women Act is the gold standard insofar as it mandates severe penalties for perpetrators of crimes like the Longmont attack, while protecting abortion rights and the civil rights of pregnant women.

The Longmont attacker faces charges that could result in a 100-year prison term.

(more…)

Fetal Homicide: Let No Tragedy Go Unexploited

UPDATE: Speaking of exploiting tragedy, Personhood USA is now sending out requests invoking the crime to raise funds for another attempt at banning abortion in Colorado. From their recent email to supporters:

The suspect in a gruesome unborn baby-killing case, Dynel Lane, will only be charged with unlawful termination of pregnancy and other crimes against the mother, according to Boulder District Attorney Stan Garnett.

These inadequate charges do not recognize Michelle Wilkins’ daughter Aurora as a victim of the attack, and do not recognize that a crime was committed against her that resulted in her death…

The preborn must be recognized as persons and victims, or else the perpetrators of these crimes will not be adequately punished. How many more pregnant women and unborn children will have to suffer until Colorado changes its laws?

[Y]ou can help us recognize the personhood of preborn babies and put an END the senseless dehumanization of these precious children. Make a donation today toward our continued personhood efforts.

Original post follows.

—–

Image vis CBS4 Denver

Image vis CBS4 Denver

The New York Times’ Jack Healy reports on the debate headed for the Colorado legislature over an horrific crime committed in Longmont last month, and an opportunistic response from anti-abortion interests to this story that could get ugly:

Voters in Colorado have overwhelmingly rejected three “personhood” measures that sought to include the unborn as a person or child for legal purposes. Opponents said the redefinition would have criminalized abortion and birth control, and the measure last year failed to gain support of prominent Republicans like Senator Cory Gardner, who was then a Senate candidate, or the party’s nominee for governor, Bob Beauprez.

But the unfathomable crime against Ms. Wilkins, 26, in Longmont stunned people across Colorado and the country, and has revived an emotional debate in heated commentaries online and in the halls of the Capitol here, giving abortion opponents what they hope will be an opportunity to change local criminal laws…

But the effort to pass such a bill could face stiff opposition from Democrats, who control one chamber of the legislature, as well as from reproductive-rights supporters who fear such measures lay a path toward outlawing abortion or birth control. [Pols emphasis]

Democratic lawmakers here and a spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains said they could not comment on the Republican efforts because a bill had not yet been introduced. But Democrats said the push for one was a rushed reaction to a rare and horrible crime that could not be applied retroactively to Ms. Wilkins’s case.

As Healy reports, Colorado passed a compromise measure in 2013 making “unlawful termination of a pregnancy” a felony crime. Our state’s long history with proposals intended to confer rights on fetuses at any stage of development has made defenders of abortion rights here wary of fetal homicide legislation. In addition to the “Personhood” abortion ban ballot measures that Colorado voters have rejected over and over, Republicans have regularly introduced fetal homicide legislation in the Colorado General Assembly in recent years. Such bills usually contain no language disclaiming an impact on abortion law–and even when they do, the basic intent of making the fetus a secondary corporeal victim of a crime sets a dangerous precedent. It’s not that pro-choice advocates are unmoved by horrific crimes like the one committed in Longmont, it’s that this legislative answer from known abortion opponents has an obvious ulterior motive.

The disastrous abortion-themed response to this crime from one Colorado Republican lawmaker, Rep. Gordon “Dr. Chaps” Klingenschmitt, has already pushed would-be fetal homicide opportunists off their message. The fact that there is already a felony statute in Colorado law directly pertinent to this crime calls motives for passing yet another law making a fetus a separate victim into question.

Bottom line: Republicans inject failed “Personhood” politics into this tragedy at their peril.

Klingenschmitt Doesn’t Separate Political and Religious Money, either…

Rep. Gordon K. in Da Housse! (from GJK’s Facebook page)

(This is a reader diary promoted to the front page by Colorado Pols)

Representative Gordon Klingenschmitt from Colorado’s House District 15 just cannot remove his foot from his mouth. He also just cannot separate religious and political speech. Using scripture to explain horrible crimes, slandering of colleagues and organizations as terrorists, all stem from this basic conflation.

However, what I’m outlining here is how his campaign finances suffer from the entanglement of religion with politics. I will look at all three organizations Klingenschmitt owns or uses:

  1. GJK, Inc (his for-profit company),
  2. GordonforColorado, (his campaign committee),
  3. The Pray in Jesus Name/Persuade the World Ministries nonprofit. (PIJN/PTWM).

It’s not as gruesome and insensitive as his “God judges America /Ripping Women Open” comments, but just as horrifying if you believe, as our country’s founders did, as I do, in the separation of church and state.

Problem #1: The mysterious GJK, Inc. corporation

GJK as linked from the Pray in Jesus Name to Paypal “Donate to Political Work”
  •  GJK Inc, appears to be Klingenschmitt’s large, unregulated,  unaccountable cash stream from online donation buttons on the PJIN religious pages. This is illegal and unethical. 

 

 

[Lots more after the jump…]

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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."