What do Female Voters REALLY Care About? The Keystone Pipeline!

Pipelines for Women

According to the GOP, female voters are really interested in the Keystone Pipeline. Also, they want to hear candidates talk about car engines and fantasy football.

Further underscoring the news that Sen. Mark Udall appears to be pulling away from Rep. Cory Gardner in the race for the U.S. Senate is this ridiculous new TV ad from Karl Rove's Crossroads GPS group that attempts — and fails — to divert the narrative that Udall is a better choice than Gardner for Colorado women. From Greg Sargent at the Washington Post:

The ad never mentions Personhood or contraception. Instead, it obliquely refers to Dem attacks as “political scare tactics,” even as the featured women declare they want “a real conversation about issues that matter,” such as the economy. But, as Rebecca Berg writes, this ad actually “underscores the challenge Republicans have faced this year appealing to women voters.”

Now, it’s true that the economy is the top concern. But it’s obvious the Personhood movement (which declares that full human rights begin at the moment of fertilization) has, in fact, dogged Gardner. Last spring he disavowed his support for a previous state Personhood effort, admitting it “restricts contraception.” But Dems have pointed out that Gardner still supports a federal Personhood measure that would raise the same possibility of restrictions to some forms of contraception. Gardner has tried coming out for over-the-counter contraception, but he currently trails Dem Senator Mark Udall by double digits among women.

This new ad, which you can view after the jump, is a desperate attempt to change the subject from issues like Personhood and contraception that are absolutely burying Gardner's campaign. For just one example of how women's issues are crippling Gardner, take a look at Shaun Boyd's fact check of a Gardner ad for CBS4 Denver that we discussed yesterday. As Boyd concluded in her story:

Finally, you should know that Gardner is sponsor of a federal Personhood measure that could outlaw many types of birth control including the pill. Bottom line, this isn't about birth control, it's about the female vote. Cory Gardner wants to be seen as pro-women, but his overall record on birth control is not the best example of that.

So, if you're Karl Rove and you want to help Gardner try to prevent a mass exodus of female voters, what do you do? Why, you talk about how Udall voted against the Keystone Pipeline, of course! The entire premise of the ad is absurd, to be sure, but the Keystone Pipeline reference is really the icing on this crappy cake; we see four women standing around a kitchen talking about the election, and we're supposed to believe that they are primarily concerned with Udall's vote on an oil pipeline that won't come anywhere near Colorado? Yeah, right.

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NextGen Climate Releases New Television Ad: “Choices”

(The wrath of Tom – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

NextGen Climate today launched its second television ad against Congressman Gardner, highlighting his extreme positions on issues ranging from climate to women’s health.

The 30-second ad, titled “Choices,” delves into decisions Coloradans face, and the choices Congressman Gardner wants to make for them.

“From the doctor’s office to Colorado’s environment, Congressman Gardner consistently puts his extreme views ahead of those of Coloradans,” said Abby Leeper, spokesperson for NextGen Climate Colorado. “No matter how hard he tries, he can’t outrun his voting record, which has been far outside the mainstream. We’re confident that Coloradans will reject Congressman Gardner and his far right record.”

The ad highlights Gardner’s ongoing support for a federal personhood measure and his polluter-friendly voting history including; his vote to repeal EPA findings on the harmful effects of carbon pollution; and his vote to allow unlimited pollution from power plants while taxpayers and our kids pay the price.

For more information, visit www.KeepCoryOut.com 

Shaun Boyd’s Reality Check Dismantles Cory Gardner, Again

The last few weeks have been very hard on GOP U.S. Senate candidate Cory Gardner, with numerous objective news sources debunking claims Gardner has relied on to escape his unsightly past record on reproductive choice and contraception. The latest this past Friday was from CBS4's Shaun Boyd:

Key excerpts:

GARDNER: I believe the pill ought to be available over the counter around the clock without a prescription. 

BOYD: That's true. Gardner penned an op-ed calling for birth control bills to be available over the counter without a prescription, and for a provision of Obamacare that prevents insurers from covering the drugs without a prescription to be repealed. Even though he has opposed requiring insurers to require birth control in the past…

GARDNER: Mark Udall's plan is different. He wants to keep government bureaucrats between you and your health care plan.  That means more politics, and more profits for drug companies. My plan means more rights, more freedom, and more control for you.

BOYD: That's spin. Arguably both plans involved government bureaucrats. Udall supports Obamacare, that requires insurance to cover all birth control. And okay. That has meant more politics. But if Obamacare is repealed, something Gardner has voted to do repeatedly, insurers wouldn't have to pay for any birth control whether it is over the counter or not. Hard to see whether that is more rights, more freedom and more control for women. 

Finally, you should know that Gardner is sponsor of a federal Personhood measure that could outlaw many types of birth control including the pill. Bottom line, this isn't about birth control, it's about the female vote. Cory Gardner wants to be seen as pro-women, but his overall record on birth control is not the best example of that. [Pols emphasis]

We don't always agree with Boyd's conclusions in her Reality Check series, but we're big fans of her matter-of-fact delivery in this one. Overall, Boyd's frank style of reporting is very persuasive with the kinds of working class family types who watch local broadcast evening news. To have won over Shaun Boyd on this key issue in the U.S. Senate race is a big coup for Democrats, and demonstrative of the growing consensus among just about all the media voters will come across that Gardner is not being honest about his position on abortion and contraception.

If you're tired of hearing it, keep in mind: many voters still haven't. And that's why more "reality checks" are needed.

Planned Parenthood Debunks Gardner’s Contraception Math

A new ad running in Colorado from Planned Parenthood Action Fund tears into GOP U.S. Senate candidate Cory Gardner's "alternative plan" for over-the-counter sales of oral contraceptives, meant to replace the Affordable Care Act's guarantee of no-cost access to birth control for insured women once Gardner's stated goal of "repealing Obamacare" is achieved. From PPAF's release:

Here’s what you should know about Gardner’s dangerous record on women’s health, and what his OTC proposal really does when paired with his other positions:

• Gardner has voted consistently — and unsuccessfully — to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and take away women’s full coverage for all birth control methods. This is important, because it’s thanks to the ACA that women are able to get coverage of the full range of FDA-approved birth control at no cost.
• By taking away the birth control benefit, Gardner would actually make women pay more. How much more? Up to $600 a year.
• The nonpartisan research group PolitiFact rated Gardner’s claim that his proposal is “cheaper and easier for you” as “mostly false.”
• Gardner’s proposal ignores the fact that birth control is not “one size fits all”: many women don’t use the pill, and some of the most effective methods (like the IUD) need to be inserted by a trained health care provider.
• The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists issued a statement to make clear that Cory Gardner’s proposal is an unworkable choice between birth control access and affordability.
• American women saved $483 million over the past year alone thanks to the birth control benefit; Gardner wants to hand that bill right back to women.

While the issue of contraception has been well–some might say exhaustively–covered during this campaign, we'd say it's very important for someone on the Democratic side to knock back Gardner's "alternative" plan on the merits. It's one thing to explain how Gardner's long record of support for proposals that could ban certain forms of birth control makes his newfound zeal for over-the-counter birth control look like election year whitewash. But beyond that, there is the details of Gardner's proposal compared to the Affordable Care Act guarantee of zero-copay coverage for birth control. 

And those details prove that Gardner's deal is in and of itself a bad deal. However one feels about the politics of Gardner's come-lately support for OTC birth control, or the focus on the issue by Democrats, that's a message Democrats do need to get out there.

Personhood ties run deep in Jeffco GOP campaigns

(Dance with the ones that bring ya – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Laura Waters Woods

Laura Waters Woods

I wrote last week about how senatorial candidate Cory Gardner’s support for Colorado's personhood abortion ban was part of his formula for winning the 2010 Republican caucus process, which was a big step to his being elected to Congress.

If you look at the State Senate races in Jeffco today, you see that the influence of key personhood backers persists, meaning that Gardner would likely face the same pressure to embrace personhood positions today as he did then. Gardner, of course, did not run in Jeffoco, but similar dynamics play out statewide.

The latest campaign finance reports reveal that Jeffco Republican candidates Tim Neville (SD-16), Laura Woods (SD-19), and Tony Sanchez (SD-22) all have notorious GOP strategic consultant Jon Hotaling on the payroll via his company, "Liberty Service Corporation.” Liberty Service Corporation was Sanchez's largest expenditure ($1,750) during the latest campaign-finance-reporting period and the second largest for Woods ($1,000) and Neville ($1,000).

Hotaling’s firm has worked over the years for Rep. Janak Joshi, gubernatorial candidate Tom Tancredo, and other personhood supporters, most notably for Colorado For Equal Rights, which ran the pro-personhood campaign, fronted by Kristi Burton, in 2008, according to campaign-finance reports. In 2008, Hotaling collected about $12,000 from Colorado For Equal Rights.

Tony Sanchez.

Tony Sanchez.

​So a major consultant for Personhood is deeply integrated into the campaigns of the three Republican senate candidates in Jeffco. Neville, Sanchez, and Woods all support personhood, as defined by Colorado Right to Life, based on their responses to its candidate survey this year.

Using what Republicans themselves called unethical tactics, Woods and Sanchez hammered their Republican primary opponents on the abortion issue during their primary campaigns against Lang Sais and Mario Nicolais.

In one flyer produced by "Colorado for Family Values," Nicolais was pictured next to Kermit Gosnell, a Philadelphia doctor convicted of murdering babies. The caption read: “Kermit Gosnell and his ‘House of Horrors’ abortion mill operated in secrecy for 17 years before his murderous crimes became infamous. Ask Mario why he won’t publicly defend the unborn? Call Mario…”

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Cosmo Endorses Mark Udall, Thanks to Personhood

Cory Gardner's Personhood twist

Cory Gardner does the Personhood Pretzel.

"Cosmopolitan" magazine on Tuesday announced that the magazine is endorsing Democratic Sen. Mark Udall for re-election to the U.S. Senate instead of Republican challenger Cory Gardner. The editors of Cosmo write that "Colorado's Senate race is crucial for women's health:"

One of the most important races for women's rights is happening in Colorado this year, between Senate incumbent Mark Udall and challenger Rep. Cory Gardner. Colorado is ground zero for anti-choice "personhood" laws, which seek to define fertilized eggs only a few cells large as people with rights equal to, and sometimes greater than, those of actual, born people. The laws wouldn't just outlaw abortion, but many forms of birth control and fertility treatments as well. While personhood initiatives have failed twice in Colorado and Gardner claims his views have changed, his name still appears on a proposed federal personhood law, [Pols emphasis] and even the president of Personhood USA says Gardner is just "playing politics" in this election, because he has "built his entire political career on support of personhood."…

…Mark Udall is a leader who stands up for Coloradans' rights and their health, not a reactionary who puts the rights of a fertilized egg over the rights of women. We are proud to endorse his candidacy.

This is the second time in two months that we have written about "Cosmopolitan" magazine and Colorado's Senate race. Critics can try to dismiss "Cosmopolitan's" endorsement and the effect it might have on the outcome of the race in November, but it's a stupid argument to attempt; Udall and his supporters will make sure that women see this endorsement, and in a state where female voters are critical, getting the approval of one of America's most iconic women's magazines is a big help indeed.

But here's the bigger point about this endorsement: Gardner's Personhood flip-flop is a mistake from which his campaign may never recover. One of the first major moves that Gardner made in his Senate campaign — which helped him earn the nickname "Con Man Cory" — was to publicly attempt to change his position on the Personhood issue. We thought this flip-flop was a terrible decision when Gardner made the move back in March, and as we sit here in mid-September, it is clear that he's never going to be able to get this particular albatross from around his neck. In fact, Gardner's own maneuvers on Personhood have done more to keep the issue at the top of voters' minds than anything Udall could have done himself. By flip-flopping on Personhood, Gardner made this into a bigger issue than it would have been.

If Gardner was never going to drop his name from a federal Personhood bill — of which he is a co-sponsor — then he should have just maintained his long-held support for the idea. It has not been lost on the media that Gardner remains a co-sponsor of the federal Personhood bill, even as he has made one ludicrous attempt after another to change the subject or to flat-out lie about it altogether. Gardner tried, for awhile, to claim that Colorado's Personhood ballot measures were different than the federal Personhood bill that carries his name, and when that didn't work, he changed tactics to just outright lying through his teeth. Witness 9News reporter Brandon Rittiman, who is not amused by Gardner's ridiculous claim last week that "there is no federal Personhood bill," or the Washington Post's Jaime Fuller, who wrote that Gardner "doesn't support his former self on this issue, either."

Over the course of his Senate campaign, the only thing that Gardner has truly shed in trying to ditch Personhood is his credibility — and that's a tough thing to get back once it's gone. After all, it's hard to support a candidate who doesn't support himself.

Politifact, OB/GYNs Skewer Gardner Contraception Plan

mostlyfalse

As the battle in the Colorado U.S. Senate race has raged over women's access to reproductive health care and contraception, Republican Cory Gardner has tried desperately to get out from under his longstanding support for the Personhood abortion ban initiatives–which, as everyone even remotely literate in Colorado politics should know by now, could have the effect of banning certain forms of so-called "abortifacient" birth control in addition to banning all abortions even in cases of rape or incest. After disavowing his past support for the Personhood measures, Gardner unveiled a new position on birth control–making oral contraceptives available over the counter. This strategy from Gardner served as a response to the charge that as a Personhood supporter he supported banning birth control, and also allowed Gardner to trot out an "alternative" to Obamacare–since one of the major benefits of the Affordable Care Act that Gardner wants to repeal is no-copay coverage for contraceptives.

While pushing his new plan for over-the-counter sales of oral contraceptives, Gardner has made a number of claims, chief of which is that his plan would be "cheaper and easier" for women than Obamacare. Unfortunately for Gardner, the Pulitzer Prize-winning fact-checkers at Politifact took a look at this claim: and yesterday pronounced it "mostly false."

Gardner, who has repeatedly voted to repeal President Barack Obama’s health care law, says he believes a "cheaper and easier" alternative is to allow the pill to be sold over the counter, meaning without a prescription…

We found that even the groups that advocate making the pill available over the counter — like Jessica Arons, president and CEO of the Reproductive Health Technologies Project and Dan Grossman, vice president for research at Ibis Reproductive Health — did not believe it was a cheaper alternative for consumers than requiring insurance companies to cover contraceptives without cost sharing. [Pols emphasis]

…Other birth control methods may be more effective or more preferable for certain patients, but they are also a lot more expensive at the point of purchase, said Alina Salganicoff, vice president and director of Women’s Health Policy at the Kaiser Family Foundation. Like intrauterine devices, which can cost $500 to $1,000 without insurance.

Bottom line, says Politifact:

Gardner’s plan is lacking in concrete details that would allow a thorough evaluation. There’s some evidence that health care costs generally go down when drugs are made available over-the-counter, but those studies did not look specifically look at the pill. There is a lot of uncertainty and experts — from advocates to economists — question whether Gardner’s proposal would be cheaper to most consumers or the health care system compared to the Affordable Care Act. And Gardner’s plan would only address one type of contraceptive, meaning the many people who choose other methods of birth control would see higher costs.

We rate the statement Mostly False.

In addition, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) released a statement today on the election-year proposals by Gardner and a handful of other Republicans to make the pill available over the counter:

Over-the-counter access should not be used as a political tool by candidates or by elected officials. [Pols emphasis]

Regardless of any current or future proposals from lawmakers, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not yet approved oral contraceptives for over-the-counter use, and any future FDA approval for such use would likely cover only a subset of oral contraceptive formulations.

Of course, cost continues to be a major factor in a woman’s consistent use of contraception, and many women simply cannot afford the out-of-pocket costs associated with contraceptives, OTC or not.  That’s why ACOG strongly supports the Affordable Care Act (ACA) provision that mandates insurance coverage of birth control, as well as other preventive services, without cost-sharing for the patient. [Pols emphasis]

Separately, OTC access to oral contraceptives alone will not help to increase use of the most highly effective methods, such as intrauterine devices (IUD). IUDs are more effective than oral contraceptives, and because they can last for as many as ten years, they are also cost-effective. However, their initial out-of-pocket costs – which can near $1,000 – can be prohibitive for women who don’t have comprehensive insurance coverage.

Given the amount of coverage Gardner's "plan" for over-the-counter birth control has received in local press, and how heavily Gardner has relied on over-the-counter oral contraceptives as a foil to attacks on his long record of support for no-exceptions abortion bans, we really hope both Politifact's debunking and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists's rejection of the idea as a workable alternative to Obamacare receive as much attention.

New Romanoff Ad Rips Coffman on Abortion

A press release from Democratic CD-6 candidate Andrew Romanoff puts incumbent Rep. Mike Coffman on the hot seat over banning abortion and the Personhood ballot measures:

Romanoff's third TV ad, released today, focuses on Congressman Mike Coffman's long history of denying women the right to choose, supporting the Personhood amendment, and restricting reproductive rights. The ad features Karen, a resident of Colorado's 6th Congressional District, who emphasizes the personal nature of making these decisions and the importance of these rights.

"This is a matter of fundamental freedom.  Women should have the right to make their own health care choices," said Romanoff. "No one should have to surrender her most personal decisions to a politician, an employer, or anyone else."

"These are incredibly personal decisions that every woman must make for herself, but Congressman Coffman has pushed an agenda that takes these decisions out of our hands and puts them into his," said Denise Baron, spokeswoman for the Romanoff campaign.  "For 25 years, he's attempted to restrict our rights by voting to criminalize all abortions, outlaw common forms of birth control control, and restrict access to health care."

Last week, Congressman Coffman launched the first TV ad of his campaign, a brazen attempt to whitewash his decades-long opposition to women’s equality. The Romanoff campaign, along with state leaders, local activists, and CO-06 voters, launched a social media campaign to highlight the more than 50 votes the congressman has taken in the past four years to perpetuate gender discrimination and restrict women's rights.  Romanoff's new ad highlights Rep. Coffman's votes and actions to restrict women's reproductive rights. 

A big research dump of Coffman's anti-choice votes follows after the jump. Republicans surely aren't happy to see this ad, hitting on an issue they're as tired of as they are fearful: but there's a distinct lack of angry responses as of this writing from Coffman's campaign.

The reason may be simple: drawing further attention to this issue just makes it worse.

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Video: Cory Gardner’s Epic Abortion Pivot Fail

We've got several clips of video from yesterday's debates in Grand Junction hosted by civic engagement group Club 20 to share, but one particularly noteworthy exchange between incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Udall and GOP challenger Cory Gardner last night needed to get in the record right away. In this truly remarkable clip of video, Udall hammers Gardner over his longstanding support for banning abortion, including making abortion a class 3 felony–which could result in health care providers receiving harsher prison sentences for performing abortions than persons found guilty of rape.

Gardner's attempt to pivot away from this issue, as you'll see, did not go well:

UDALL: Congressman. When it comes to a woman's reproductive rights and women's health, how can women and families trust you? You voted for a class 3 felony bill that would punish doctors more than rapists, you voted against providing emergency contraception to rape victims, you supported a bill to defund Planned Parenthood. After you told the, uh, Colorado, the Fort Collins newspaper that you would not do anything of that sort. How can families and how can women trust you when it comes to staying out of their personal health care decisions?

GARDNER: Senator Udall, I look forward to growing an economy that makes sure that women have jobs in this country, the kind of jobs that they are lacking right now. I look forward to putting economic policies together that keep women in this country from struggling to make ends meet as they are under Barack Obama's failed economy. And look, I understand, I understand that you have a concern with my position, I'm pro life, and I believe every life is precious, and I understand that you do not support that policy…

UDALL: Congressman, you didn't answer my question.

GARDNER: But what I think we ought to do is recognize that women around this country deserve a growing economy.

MODERATOR: You should answer his question.

UDALL: Would you answer my question? Would you answer my question?

GARDNER: I answered your question about…

UDALL: How can women and families trust you?

GARDNER: Because I…

(Applause grows)

UDALL: Why are you getting between women and their doctors? Why are you asking, women… (unintelligible) …why should just Washington businessmen, Washington congressmen tell women what they should do?

Sen. Udall's words at the very end of the clip are tougher to understand, mostly because the raucous applause from the audience was drowning him out–please help us correct this transcript if you find any errors. But by that time, Gardner's attempt to pivot off the issue had done more than just fallen flat. Gardner revealed himself as totally unprepared to answer questions about his record on reproductive choice. Gardner's answers up to now to straightforward questions about his record are simply not backed by the facts, and Udall would have been ready for any of them.

So the only choice Gardner has is to pivot to something else. Even when doing so is disastrous all by itself.

Gardner: “There is no federal personhood bill.”

(Once again–the federal Life at Conception Act contains the same operative language as Colorado's Personhood abortion ban. Gardner's distinction according to fact-checkers, is complete BS. – promoted by Colorado Pols)

Cory Gardner's Personhood twist

9News political reporter Brandon Rittiman got one-on-one interviews with both senatorial candidates last week, and the questions he chose to ask Sen. Mark Udall and his Republican opponent, Rep. Cory Gardner, should earn him the respect of conservatives and progressives.

One of Rittiman's questions for Gardner has been consistently overlooked by Denver journalists:

Rittiman: How do you square your recent change on personhood at the state level with the bill that you still are on in Congress. The life begins at conception act?

Gardner: Well, there is no federal personhood bill. They're two different pieces of legislation, two different things.

Rittman followed up by pointing out that other co-sponsors of the bill say it it is federal personhood, and asking, "But it's still a piece of legislation that says abortion ought to be illegal, no?"

Gardner: No. It says life begins at conception. Look, Sen. Mark Udall is trying to say that it's something that it's not.

Rather than letting Gardner's false statement slide, Rittiman reported:

Rittiman: At the very least, the bill is meant to set up a legal challenge to a woman's right to choose. [Factcheck.org supports Rittiman's reporting here.]

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Some details on how Gardner “built his entire political career on support of personhood”

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Cory Gardner.

Cory Gardner.

Back in July, Cosmo's Ada Calhoun quoted Keith Mason, president of Personhood USA, as saying:

Mason: "[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."

Calhoun didn't get into the details of how and why Gardner relied on personhood to advance himself in politics, so I'll hit on it briefly now, not only because it gives you insight into Gardner but, in the bigger picture, the anti-abortion movement's lock on Republican candidates as they move through caucus and primary processes in Colorado.

From the time he was elected to the State Legislature, Gardner clearly made his anti-abortion stance a priority, sponsoring state personhood legislation, in 2007, defining life as beginning at conception and outlawing abortion even in the case of rape and incest.

In 2008, Gardner stood with other Colorado legislators in support of Colorado's first personhood ballot measure, earning a shout out from Kristi Burton, the mother of our state's personhood movement,

When she helped launch the 2012 personhood measure, which didn't make the ballot, Burton praised Gardner as "very supportive" and "one of our main supporters" of personhood campaigns.

Gardner's deep support from anti-abortion activists paid off as he launched his first congressional campaign against a tough field of candidates, including Tom Lucero, the former CU regent.

At a Tea Party event in November of 2009, Gardner was asked if he'd carry legislation to end the "practice" of abortion:

Gardner: "Yes, and I have a legislative background to back it up."

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Udall Unleashes Devastating Abortion Memo On Gardner

Cory Gardner.

Cory Gardner.

FOX 31's Eli Stokols reports–this one's going to leave a mark.

Just as GOP U.S. Senate hopeful Cory Gardner is looking to re-introduce himself on women’s health issues, Democratic Sen. Mark Udall’s campaign is set to hammer him for legislation he supported as a state lawmaker that sought to punish abortion providers more harshly than rapists.

Udall’s campaign is focusing on legislation Gardner sponsored in 2007 as a state legislator, Senate Bill 143, which would have subjected physicians who perform abortions in every case but to save the pregnant woman’s life to class three felony charges and a sentence of up to 12 years in prison.

That’s a longer sentence than that served by the average convicted rapist in Colorado, according to a memo from Bruce Brown, the district attorney in Colorado’s 5th Judicial District, written for and soon to be distributed by Udall’s campaign…

Let's be crystal clear about what we're talking about. From Summit/Eagle DA Bruce Brown's memo:

In 2007, Rep. Gardner co-sponsored legislation in the State House (SB07-143), which would have subjected physicians to class 3 felony charges, with up to a twelve year prison sentence, for performing abortions in all cases except to save the life of the pregnant woman. To put the level of felony assigned by this legislative proposal in perspective, for physicians treating women who had been raped, the punishment assigned would be equal to that reserved for a residential arsonist and some second-degree murderers.

Most grotesquely, if Congressman Gardner’s law were enacted, a doctor providing abortion care for a victim of rape could be sentenced to a lengthier prison term than the average rapist serves. [Pols emphasis]

First of all, let's give some credit to our friend Jason Salzman, who explored this very question almost three weeks ago–and got the same answer from the American Civil Liberties Union's Mark Silverstein.

With that said, this isn't the first time Rep. Cory Gardner's sponsorship of 2007's Senate Bill 143 has come back to haunt him on the Senate campaign trail this year. In addition to Gardner's support for the Colorado Personhood ballot measures and the federal Life at Conception Act that Gardner remains a co-sponsor of, this 2007 abortion ban legislation, which made no exceptions for victims of rape of incest, is another central point in the case that–as Personhood USA's own Keith Mason said best–Gardner "built his entire political career on support of" banning abortion.

But even worse may be the response Stokols got from Gardner's campaign spokesman Alex Siciliano:

Gardner’s campaign blasted Udall, calling the attack “bogus” and “slanderous” but stopped short of pushing back against Brown’s interpretation of the 2007 bill. [Pols emphasis]

“Senator Udall is so desperate to continue his long career in politics that he is throwing out ridiculous charges that he knows are bogus,” said Gardner’s spokesman Alex Siciliano. “It’s sad that Senator Udall has nothing good to say about his own record and instead only slanders Cory Gardner. The facts don’t back Senator Udall up, again.”

…When pressed specifically to rebut Brown’s assertion that S.B. 143 would have resulted in longer sentences for abortion providers than rapists and whether that is something Gardner still supports, Siciliano did not respond further. [Pols emphasis]

Remember, Siciliano is the same Gardner spokesman who falsely claimed that there is a difference between the Colorado Personhood abortion ban measures Gardner has disavowed and the federal Life at Conception Act that Gardner is to this day a co-sponsor of. As Factcheck.org and experts have concluded–and the plain language of the proposals clearly shows–there is no distinction between Colorado's Personhood measures and the Life at Conception Act that would make one less likely to ban birth control than the other. And both would outlaw abortion even in cases of rape or incest.

This latest piece of the puzzle, a credible legal opinion that one of Gardner's many abortion ban proposals could have had the outlandish consequence of punishing a doctor who performs an abortion more than the rapist who made the abortion necessary, could be the most damaging attack yet. Gardner's new ad up this week, trying to whitewash his positions on birth control, smacks of desperation with this memo in view–especially while his campaign denies any of this is an issue out of the other side of their mouths. We're not in the spring any more, voters are starting to pay attention now–and if all Gardner's campaign can do is feign outrage and misdirect away from these very simple questions?

It's not going to end well, folks. Because the questions are not going away.

“Dr. Chaps” Loves Cory Gardner’s Life At Conception Act

Cory Gardner, Gordon Klingenschmitt.

Cory Gardner, Gordon Klingenschmitt.

Yesterday saw a new lengthy email missive from Republican HD-15 nominee Gordon "Dr. Chaps" Klingenschmitt, whose wild rhetoric before and after winning the Republican primary to succeed former House Minority Leader Mark Waller has been making national headlines. Klingenschmitt's recent suggestion that openly gay Rep. Jared Polis was ready to start "beheading Christians" "in America" led to calls by Democrats for Klingenschmitt to withdraw from the HD-15 race–a call that tellingly was not picked up by Republicans like Waller or the chairman of the EL Paso County GOP.

In Klingenschmitt's latest email blast, there's no reference to Democrats beheading Christians. But while trying to watch what he says, "Dr. Chaps" still manages to leave his fellow Republicans in the hot seat:

Let's petition Congress to pass the "Life Begins at Conception Act."

Urgent Petition! Sign petition for "Life Begins at Conception" Act S.583 w/ Sen. Rand Paul. Select, sign, and WE WILL FAX your petition to all 100 Senators and 435 Congressmen instantly (saving you time!) Or select free option to Amend S.583 here.

Sen. Rand Paul's "Life Begins at Conception Act." Can it stop abortion?

The U.S. Senator from Kentucky, Rand Paul (R) has introduced the "Life Begins At Conception Act" Senate Bill S. 583, which is modeled after "Personhood" legislation we supported in ballot initiatives in Mississippi, Colorado, and Florida. [Pols emphasis]

The pro-life legislation simply applies the protections of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution to unborn children, by defining them as "persons." Personhood is a legal strategy that can potentially overturn Roe v. Wade and stop the abortion holocaust in America, as predicted by Justice Blackmun who wrote the 1973 ruling: "If this suggestion of personhood is established, the appellant’s case, of course, collapses, for the fetus’ right to life would then be guaranteed specifically by the [14th] Amendment."

S. 583, Sen. Rand Paul's Life at Conception Act, is the Senate's companion measure to H.R. 1091, the Life at Conception Act co-sponsored by…yes, that's right, U.S. Senate candidate Cory Gardner! As our readers know, Gardner's campaign has claimed that H.R. 1091 does not have the same effect as the Personhood abortion bans that Gardner disavowed support for right after jumping in the Senate race. Factcheck.org and experts on the issue have responded that Gardner's distinction between the Colorado Personhood initiatives and the federal Life at Conception Act is bogus–the same language conferring rights to a fetus from "the moment of fertilization" in both proposals is what would have the effect of banning all abortions even in cases of rape or incest, as well as certain forms of so-called "abortifacient" birth control. Gardner has not responded anywhere that we've found to Factcheck.org's debunking of this key claim, presumably because, as we've explored at length, there is no good response.

And as you can see, "Dr. Chaps" agrees! Though we doubt Gardner will appreciate the clarification.

New Gardner Ad Keeps Contraception “Distraction” Top of Mind

UPDATE #2: FOX 31′s Eli Stokols:

While Gardner disavowed Colorado’s personhood initiative earlier this year, he remains a sponsor of the federal version of the same policy, the Life Begins at Conception Act, which would ban common forms of birth control and abortion. [Pols emphasis]

“Congressman Gardner will do anything to hide his backwards agenda from Colorado women,” said Udall for Colorado spokesperson Kristin Lynch. “The undeniable fact is Gardner continues to push radical, anti-woman measures that would ban common forms of birth control. One 30-second ad doesn’t make up for that.”

The Udall campaign Tuesday also pointed to an amendment to the state budget Gardner sponsored as a state lawmaker in 2006 that sought to prohibit the state Medicaid program from purchasing Plan B emergency contraception.

“Spending taxpayer dollars on a non-physician oversight use of Plan B pills is something we must consider,” Gardner said during the floor debate on the amendment, which failed…

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UPDATE: ThinkProgress:

Udall has pointed out that while over-the-counter birth control is a good idea to expand access, it must still be covered by insurance. Some experts say the new Republican push to move it over the counter is an attempt to undercut Obamacare’s contraception coverage guarantee.

Gardner first announced his support for over-the-counter access in a Denver Post op-ed in June, in an apparent attempt to set himself apart from “too many Republicans [who] are afraid to break the mold.” In a similar vein, his campaign released an ad Monday in which Gardner, a climate change denier, uses a wind farm as a backdrop to express his support for alternative energy sources.

But Gardner’s extreme right-wing record has been hard to shake. He’s had to disavow his former support to the Colorado “personhood” measures that would have banned abortion and some forms of contraception. As a member of Congress, he voted against measures to require insurance companies to cover birth control and to allow pharmacists to prescribe emergency contraception. He’s also stood against a bill to help poor women on Medicaid to get birth control…

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The Denver Post’s Lynn Bartels reports on GOP Senate candidate Cory Gardner’s latest TV spot:

Congressman Cory Gardner has borrowed a page from Sen. Mark Udall by unveiling an ad aimed at women — in this case, the availability of birth control.

“What’s the difference between me and Mark Udall on contraception? I believe the pill ought to be available over the counter, round the clock, without a prescription — cheaper and easier, for you,” Gardner says in the spot, as various women nod their heads.

“Mark Udall’s plan is different. He wants to keep government bureaucrats between you and your healthcare plan. That means more politics, and more profits for drug companies. My plan means more rights, more freedom, and more control for you — and that’s a big difference.”

Although abortion and birth control is an issue that Gardner’s campaign has routinely dismissed as a “distraction,” devoting a TV spot entirely to it proves otherwise. There’s little question at this point that heavy Democratic attacks on Gardner’s position on reproductive choice has severely damaged his chances of unseating Democratic incumbent Sen. Mark Udall. It should be noted again that Gardner invited choice as a central issue in this campaign when he dumped the Personhood abortion bans soon after entering the Senate race, claiming he “didn’t know” they could also have banned common forms of so-called “abortifacient” birth control. Gardner’s acknowledgement of that potential consequence has in turn led to controversy over his continuing sponsorship of the federal Life at Conception Act–legislation that experts and fact-checkers alike say would have the same consequences as the state Personhood abortion ban Gardner has disavowed.

What’s the way out of this conundrum for Gardner? Like Republican strategist Katy Atkinson said–”muddy it up enough to take it away from Udall.” Gardner is hoping a combination of misdirection, faux surrogate outrage, and media complaisance will carry him through November.

As for this ad, it either means Gardner is upping the “muddy up” ante, or it isn’t working. Or both.

Will the real Both Ways Bob please stand up?

(Skip to 4:10 in the video below for the quotes in question – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

As women across the country celebrate Women's Equality Day, ProgressNow Colorado demands that Bob Beauprez tell the truth about his opposition to a woman’s right to choose–even in the case of rape and incest. Beauprez claims his hard line opposition to abortion is his "personal" view, but during his last run for governor, Beauprez clearly stated he would sign an abortion ban into law with no exception for victims of sex crimes.

"It's time for Bob Beauprez to end his war on women: a woman has the right to make her own personal, private medical decisions, including victims of rape and incest,” stated Amy Runyon-Harms, Executive Director of ProgressNow Colorado. "It's shocking that in 2014 we are still having a debate about something so basic."

In an interview broadcast this past Sunday–transcribed below–Beauprez said, "I respect that different people have different opinions than me and I respect the law of the land which is very clear and as Governor I will enforce the law of the land…for me personally the only exception is life of the mother–that's me personally."

Yet in 2006, Beauprez said he would sign a bill that outlaws abortion, even in cases of rape and incest. (Denver Post, October 20, 2006)

"Beauprez's record shows that he would let the government interfere with decisions that should be left to a woman, her family and her doctor," said Runyon-Harms. "Beauprez supported federal Personhood legislation, and said in his last run for Governor that he would sign a bill outlawing all abortions, even in cases of rape or incest. Once again, Both Ways Bob is saying one thing to women, while his record demonstrates otherwise."

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