Explaining Gardner’s Mysterious Personhood Hypocrisy

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

POLS UPDATE: Cory Gardner goes all broken record again for MSNBC's Morning Joe today:

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If you've been following my blog, you know that I can't shake this question out of my head. Why did senatorial candidate Cory Gardner drop the state personhood amendments but remain a co-sponsor of the federal personhood bill?

It would have been so easy for Gardner to uncosponsor the federal personhood bill. He's even uncosponsored at least one bill before (not a personhood bill but still, an real-life bill!

Instead, he's left saying, "There is no federal personhood bill," and getting beat up for it by reporters (here and here) and Democrats alike. And rightfully so.

After months of wasteful thought, I offer you my best shot at explaining Gardner's mysterious personhood hypocisy, as posted on The Denver Post's website:

In contrast to state personhood ballot initiatives, the path to legislating personhood via re-defining "person" in the U.S. Constitution, like what's mandated by the Life at Conception Act, is embraced by the national Republican Party platform. Also, 153 members of Congress, (132 in the House and 21 in the Senate) co-sponsored the Life at Conception Act, along with Gardner. The Senate sponsor of the bill is Rand Paul, widely considered a leading GOP presidential contender.

If Gardner declared the federal personhood bill a well-intentioned mistake, like he did Colorado's personhood amendments, he'd have abandoned the all those Members of Congress. He'd also be alienating powerful anti-abortion organizations and countless GOP activists. There's a national movement built around the concept of enacting personhood via constitutional amendment. Not so much with state-based personhood initiatives.

It would be infinitely messier, politically, for Gardner to break ranks with backers of the federal personhood bill than from local pastors and churchgoers who've pushed Colorado's personhood amendments and represent the ragged fringe of the national anti-abortion movement. And by parting ways with personhood in Colorado, Gardner could still try to polish his appeal to women, who will likely decide November's election, while remaining friendly with the more powerful anti-abortion crowd. A perfect both-ways strategy.

All that's speculation, I know, but what else can you do when Gardner's own answer defies the facts?

Now the question is, will this work? Can Gardner win by repeating there-is-no-federal-personhood-bill? Or will a new crop of questions that should be asked by reporters force him articulate an actual factual explanation?

For use in the Gardner rabbit hole, here’s more details on what fed personhood bill would do

(Everyone agrees but Cory – promoted by Colorado Pols)

Rep. Cory Gardner (R).

Rep. Cory Gardner (R).

Fox 31 Denver's Eli Stokols repeatedly tried to convince senatorial candidate Cory Gardner last week that there is such a thing as a federal personhood bill, and Gardner is a co-sponsor of it.

In so doing, Stokols cited Factcheck.org, which reported not only that the bill exists but that the Gardner campaign said Gardner signed it in an effort to ban abortion. Stokols also cited co-sponsors of the bill, who say it's personhood legislation.

This didn't dent Gardner, who continued, parrot-like, to say "There is no personhood bill."

Reporters going down this rabbit hole with Gardner in the future might like to know more details on what the Life at Conception Act would do, in addition to banning common forms of birth control, like Plan B and IUDs, if passed.

So I asked Lynn Paltrow, an accomplished attorney and executive director of the National Advocates for Pregnant Women, what she thought the Life at Conception Act would do. She confirmed that the bill is, in fact, a "personhood" bill.

“If it passed, it would be a federal law that makes the 14th Amendment applicable to the unborn,” Paltrow said.

“It arguably would create obligations on the federal government to protect equally the unborn by doing such things as outlawing abortion, even for rape and incest, outlawing in vitro fertilization, outlawing participation of pregnant women in drug trials that might be helpful to them but could create risks for the unborn,” said Paltrow, an attorney. “The only thing it does not permit is arresting women if there’s a death of an unborn child. But there is no prohibition against prosecuting doctors for murder—and there’s no prohibition against prosecuting pregnant women for other crimes.”

Paltrow continued: “For example, even if a woman seeks to maintain her pregnancy, a personhood law could be used to justify prosecuting a pregnant woman for risk of harm. The proposed law would do nothing to protect women from investigation, arrest, and prosecution under all the other mechanisms by which women are being arrested.”

Beauprez Gives Campaign an “Abortifacient”

UPDATE: The Denver Post's John Frank has a new story up as the Beauprez's IUD controversy grows:

Beauprez drew a rebuke from experts in the medical community who called his assertion false, while Democrats and like-minded women's rights organizations suggested it showed the candidate is out of touch.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and 10 other physician organizations, as well as the Federal Drug Administration, define IUDs as contraceptives that prevent a pregnancy. An abortifacient ends a pregnancy after it has occurred.

Dr. Daniel Grossman, obstetrician and gynecologist who does reproductive research and practices in San Francisco, said the definition of a pregnancy as the implantation of a fertilized egg is an established scientific standard. He said IUDs are not abortifacient.

"I would say in mainstream medicine this is really not a debate," Grossman said. [Pols emphasis]

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UPDATE: The Yes on 67 campaign–wow:

No ambiguity here, folks.

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“Both Ways” Bob Beauprez (right).

Coverage of last night's debate between Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper and GOP challenger Bob Beauprez at the Denver Post auditorium has zeroed in on a pivotal exchange, in which Hickenlooper presses Beauprez on his record of support for banning abortions even in cases of rape or incest–as well as measures like Personhood which could affect access to certain forms birth control. Beauprez initially seemed prepared to avoid this question, making it clear that he does not support the current Personhood measure Amendment 67–but was quickly lured into exactly the discussion he did not want to have. As John Frank and Lynn Bartels of the Denver Post reported from the scene:

When it was time for the candidates to ask each other questions, Hickenlooper pressed Beauprez about personhood, abortion and birth control. He asked whether Beauprez would support using public money to reduce abortions and teen pregnancies.

"I have no problem with people using contraception," Beauprez said.

"I have a big problem publicly funding contraceptives that are actually abortifacient."

He said he considered intrauterine devices, a common form of birth control known as IUDs, the equivalent to a drug that causes an abortion. [Pols emphasis]

Hickenlooper touted a state program that helped lower teen birth rates drop by 40 percent in five years after more than 30,000 IUDs and other implants were provided to low-income women at 68 family-planning clinics across Colorado since 2009. The cost was covered by a private anonymous donor.

CBS4:

Hickenlooper also asked why Beauprez was pro-life but opposed to this year’s so-called “personhood” amendment that would change the criminal code to apply to unborn children.

“You have switched on personhood in this election,” the governor said.

“I am opposed to the personhood amendment,” Beauprez countered.

“I said that,” Hickenlooper interjected.

“You said personhood. There’s a big difference,” Beauprez retorted. [Pols emphasis]

As to the question of whether or not the IUD is in fact an "abortifacient" form of birth control, meaning a type that supporters of Personhood and other "moment of fertilization" abortion bans want to outlaw, there appears to be some debate–certain types of IUDs may be able to stop a pregnancy if inserted within a few days of fertilization, but in their normal use, IUDs are intended to prevent fertilization for very long periods of time.

But folks, that doesn't really matter. Because the conversation we are having is a disaster for Colorado Republicans.

Not only does Bob Beauprez not, whether he realizes it or not, want to get into the messy details of which kinds of birth control women ought to be using, we assure you that Cory Gardner is absolutely horrified that we are talking about so-called "abortifacient" forms of birth control. The last thing Cory Gardner wants is to start interjecting qualifications about which kinds of birth control are morally okay into his Senate race. After all, he just told the world last weekend that he would "never" support legislation to ban birth control.

That's crazy!

Well, as it turns out, it's not so crazy! The critical point to understand here: prior to Republicans realizing with Ken Buck in 2010 that this whole banning birth control thing was politically disastrous, banning "abortifacient" forms of birth control was an explicit goal of the Personhood movement. Opponents didn't just make up banning birth control as a possible "unintended consequence." It's part of the plan. Or at least it was, until Republicans were compelled to run away from the idea after women voters spelled the difference between victory and defeat for the Colorado GOP in their greatest wave election since 1948.

And by taking Hickenlooper's bait, willfully ripping the scab off an issue Republicans are desperate to keep out of the headlines, Beauprez has done more to validate the Democratic "war on women" theme than any Democrat ever could. Beauprez just legitimized the very issue Gardner, and every other Republican interested in career preservation this election season, wants you to disregard.

What a way to kick off October.

Gardner ad cites nonexistent entity as backer of his contraception proposal

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Cory Gardner.

Cory Gardner.

In a post on RhRealityCheck.org today, I reported that a mailer produced by senatorial candidate Cory Gardner refers to the “American Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists” as a backer of his proposal to sell contraception over-the-counter. But this group apparently does not exist.

An organization with a similar name, which Gardner has cited previously, doesn’t support Gardner’s proposal.

The advertisement states:

Supported by the American Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Cory’s proposal would make oral contraception: Less expensive — about the price of Aspirin; More convenient — helping women obtain The Pill on their own schedule without an appointment; More accessible — ensures women in underserved urban and rural areas have greater ability to obtain The Pill. [BigMedia emphasis]

The RH Reality Check piece states:

A Google search for the “American Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists” returns references to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG).

After seeing the Gardner mailer, Kate Connors, ACOG Director of Media Relations, told RH Reality Check via email, “For all I know, there is an AAOG out there, somewhere, but it has certainly never come to my attention. I dare say that the mailer’s reference to it is an error.”

Connors said that it was also an “error” for Gardner to suggest that “we have supported his proposal.”

A September 9 ACOG statement emphasizes over-the-counter sale of contraception is a long-term goal, not a proposal it supports currently.

Politifact.com, in a September 8 analysis, judged Gardner’s claim about the pill being cheaper if sold over-the-counter as “mostly false,” in light of various uncertainties as well as the fact that, under the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies cannot charge policy holders a co-pay for preventive health care, including contraception. So, for most women, contraception is currently free.

What’s next for reporters covering Cory Gardner’s personhood hypocrisy?

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Fox 31 political reporter Eli Stokols tried hard last week to extract an explanation from senatorial candidate Cory Gardner for his decision to withdraw from "personhood" legislation at the state level but, at the same time, to remain a co-sponsor of a federal personhood bill, which would ban all abortion, even for rape, and some forms of birth control.

So what else could a reporter ask Gardner at this point?

We know he thinks there's "no federal personhood bill," because he said it four times to Stokols and once previously to 9News political reporter Brandon Rittiman.

So what does Gardner think the bill aims to do? If it's not personhood, what is it?

Gardner discussed this question at least twice: Factcheck.org reported last month that "Gardner’s campaign says he backed the [state and federal] proposals as a means to ban abortion, not contraception."

Later, contradicting this, Gardner told Rittiman that the "[Life at Conception Act] says life begins at conception." Gardner's spokespeople have said the same thing, saying it won't ban contraception, but they did not mention abortion.

Abortion

Expanding on Factcheck.org's article, reporters should discuss with Gardner the ramifications of his co-sponsorship of a personhood-style abortion ban. All abortion, even for rape and incest, would be banned. Thus, under the Life at Conception Act, a teenager raped by her father would not have the option of getting an abortion.

Contraception

Gardner has said the Life at Conception Act doesn't ban contraception. In fact, he told Stokols, "I do not support legislation that would ban birth control. That's crazy! I would not support that."

Gardner did not waiver or offer further explanation, even after Stokols told him directly about one of  Factcheck.org's conclusions: "Gardner says he has changed his mind and no longer supports the Colorado initiative, precisely because it could ban common forms of birth control. But he still backs a federal personhood bill, which contains the same language that would make a ban of some contraception a possibility."

Reporters who question Gardner should avoid asking him about his position on "contraception" or birth control" generally, because these words means different things to different people, as you can read here.

Instead, the question is, Does Gardner support specific types of contraception, like Plan B and IUDs. Plan B and IUDs could be banned under the Life at Conception Act because they threaten or destroy fertilized eggs (zygotes), which would gain full legal rights, the same ones you and I have, if the federal personhood bill became law.

In vitro fertilization

Factcheck.org pointed out that personhood measures, like the federal personhood bill, threaten "in vitro fertilization, which often involve creating more than one embryo in an effort to help a woman conceive — the American Society for Reproductive Medicine has been against personhood initiatives." What's Gardner's stance on this issue, given his backing of the Life at Conception Act.

Plenty to ask.

So Stokols' intense interview with Gardner leaves plenty of questions unanswered, and they go beyond the ones from Stokols that Gardner dodged or refused to answer factually.

In teaser for Sunday show, Stokols presses Gardner for explanation of personhood hypocrisy

(Stay tuned – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Cory Gardner.

Cory Gardner.

Fox 31 Denver is teasing interview with Cory Gardner to be broadcast 9 a.m. Sunday on reporter Eli Stokols' "#COPolitics from the Source."

Judging from the short exchange between Gardner and Stokols broadcast by Fox 31 last night, it appears Stokols pressed Gardner for a factual explanation from Gardner about why he withdrew his endorsement from personhood amendments at the state level but continues to support federal personhood legislation, which would abortion, even in the case of rape and incest.

Stokols: You don't support the personhood amendment at the state level anymore. Why keep your name on that Life At Conception Act at the federal level?

Gardner: There is no such thing as the federal personhood bill.

Stokols: Cory, the people who wrote that bill, Congressmen Duncan Hunter of California, Paul Brown of Georgia, they say–Personhood USA says–that that is what the Life at Conception Act is.

Gardner: When I announced for the Senate, that's when this outcry started from the Senate campaign of Senator Udall. That's what they are tyring to do. This is all politics. It's unfortunate that they can't focus on–

Stokols: But the facts are —

Gardner: No, the facts are, Eli, that there is no federal personhood bill. There is no federal personhood bill.

I'm looking forward to seeing the entire interview, which will air on Fox 31 Sunday morning at 9 a.m.

Beauprez’s Shame

Just when you thought you knew everything about Bob Beauprez, it gets even worse.

During Beauprez's last run for governor, he proved himself to be hopelessly out of touch on issues that matter to women voters. Beauprez was even forced to apologize for claiming in a Colorado Public Radio interview that 70% of African American pregnancies end in abortion–a claim which is ridiculous, offensive, and bigoted in the extreme.

Another portion of this same interview was published this week. Here is what Beauprez says about abortion, even in cases of rape:

RYAN WARNER: A sixteen-year-old girl is raped. She and her parents want to get an abortion for her. They would pay for it, it wouldn't be state dollars. You would support a law preventing her from getting an abortion under those circumstances?

BOB BEAUPREZ: Yes, and I'll tell you very simply why.

WARNER: Please.

BEAUPREZ: I don't think it's the child's fault. And I think we either protect life — all life, especially the most innocent of life — or we don't. The situations of rape or incest, and pregnancies resulting from, are relatively few…

Tell Beauprez right now: this is totally unacceptable.

Not since Todd Akin said that rape victims "have ways" of preventing pregnancy have I heard such a sickeningly offensive comment from a politician. This morning, I hosted a press call with Dr. Rebecca Cohen, an OB/GYN doctor and Family Planning Fellow, as well as a brave survivor of sexual assault to respond to Beauprez's horrifying remarks. You can listen to the recording here.

(more…)

Gardner’s Personhood Dodge Gets Much Harder

Cory Gardner does the Personhood twist.

Cory Gardner does the Personhood twist.

We've been waiting for many weeks now for the Denver Post to revisit the story of GOP U.S. Senate candidate Cory Gardner's ongoing support for the federal Life at Conception Act–legislation in Congress with functionally similar language to the state Personhood abortion ban ballot measures Gardner disavowed support for soon after entering the Senate race. As we've discussed in this space repeatedly, the Life at Conception Act contains the same references to rights at "the moment of fertilization" as Personhood–which could have the same effect in terms of outlawing certain forms of so-called "abortifacient" birth control. When the Post last reported on this matter, the Gardner campaign's denial that the two measures would have a similar effect was left unchallenged–even after fact-checkers and experts had long debunked it.

Lynn Bartels at the Post finally revisited this story today, and she worked her way through the spin (for the most part) to get to the facts of the situation:

"I was not right," he said. "I can't support personhood now. I can't support personhood going forward. To do it again would be a mistake."

But critics note Gardner remains a co-sponsor of the federal Life at Conception Act, which implements "equal protection under the 14th article of amendment to the Constitution for the right to life of each born and preborn human person."

Coloradan Keith Mason, president of Personhood USA, said the federal proposal mirrors state personhood efforts, which can be interpreted to mean prosecution for those performing abortions, "which I welcome," he added… [Pols emphasis]

"The federal proposal in question simply states that life begins at conception, as most pro-life Americans believe, with no change to contraception laws as Sen. Udall falsely alleges," [Gardner spokesman Alex Siciliano] said.

But as the Colorado Personhood abortion ban's chief proponent Keith Mason says above, and Factcheck.org validates with expert opinion, Personhood and the Life at Conception Act are "mirrors" of one another. Gardner said flat-out when he abandoned support for the state Personhood measures, "the fact that it restricts contraception, it was not the right position." Now to be fair, Mason says he doesn't think either measure would ban contraception. But that doesn't matter: if what Gardner claims about Personhood is true, the same must be true of the Life at Conception Act, because they say the same thing. Again, the operative language in the Life at Conception Act:

The terms "human person" and "human being" include each and every member of the species homo sapiens at all stages of life, including the moment of fertilization, [Pols emphasis] cloning, or other moment at which an individual member of the human species comes into being.

And the full text of Amendment 48, the 2008 Personhood abortion ban measure:

Person defined. AS USED IN SECTIONS 3, 6, AND 25 OF ARTICLE II OF THE STATE CONSTITUTION, THE TERMS "PERSON" OR "PERSONS" SHALL INCLUDE ANY HUMAN BEING FROM THE MOMENT OF FERTILIZATION. [Pols emphasis]

This is why is was so important for Gardner to have removed himself as a co-sponsor of the Life at Conception Act before Congress adjourned last week, which he failed to do. There was no way Gardner was going to be able to get to November without this obvious discrepancy being exposed. Either both Personhood and the Life at Conception Act would result in banning birth control, or neither would. And Gardner has already validated the argument that Personhood would "restrict contraception." In short, Gardner is screwed.

Our friend Jason Salzman also has a post up about today's story, noting an error by Bartels on legislation Gardner sponsored in 2007–legislation that would have, despite one misleading clause, likely restricted the legality of some forms of contraception. It's a valid point that further underscores Gardner's long duplicity on this issue as he tries to please the hard-right champions of this issue while remaining electable to higher office. But it shouldn't take away from the many things Bartels got right in this story, things that voters need to understand about the issue before ballots drop.

Despite his best attempts, this is the needle Gardner couldn't thread. And there will be a high price.

No Means No: Fight Colorado’s Amendment 67

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

 

All across the country, women are fighting for control of their own bodies, to make their own choices. Access to birth control, safe, legal abortion options, the ability to decide when, and if, to have children—these rights seem to be under constant attack.

Nowhere is the fight fought harder than here in Colorado. Personhood USA, the leading group in the country working to ban all abortion by giving rights to a fertilized egg, is based right here in Colorado.

The polling has shown that if Amendment 67 were voted on right now, it would pass and Colorado would face the harshest restrictions on women’s rights in the country.

Personhood USA has gotten more savvy each year they bring their “Personhood” measure forward. They only talk about “protecting the life of a pregnant women”. The ballot language is confusing and misleading and right now it is working. Polling shows Amendment 67 would pass if it were voted on today.

Which means we MUST reach each and every voter in Colorado and educate them about what Amendment 67 would really do. Ban all abortions. Outlaw common forms of birth control. Criminalize women.

(more…)

Frantic Republicans Try Really Weird Pivot on Women’s Issues

Laura Carno

Laura Carno

It's no secret that Republicans in Colorado have been having a heck of a time trying to convince women to vote for them in recent years. In 2010, Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet defeated Republican challenger Ken Buck thanks primarily to strong support from female voters (assisted by Buck's tone-deafness around women's issues). In 2014, Republican candidates such as Bob Beauprez, Cory Gardner, and Mike Coffman are facing similar electoral conundrums when it comes to appeasing their right wing base and trying to attract the support of moderate women in Colorado.

Republicans have yet to figure out how to deal with their problem of (not) appealing to female voters — and make no mistake about the size of the problem. As noted on Colorado Pols today, Beauprez is on the record in a very Todd Akin-like manner on abortion, declaring that he believes abortion should be outlawed with no exceptions for rape or incest. Both Cory Gardner and Mike Coffman are rowing the same boat.

If you are a Republican, how do you reach out to women voters while your candidates are simultaneously making them cringe? When all else fails, apparently, you do your best to tell women that these issues don't really matter anyway. Check out this guest commentary from the Denver Post over the weekend in which Republican activist/consultant Laura Carno sacrifices the interests of the GOP base at the altar of election-year panic:

Since the 1973 landmark Supreme Court decision, Roe vs. Wade has "survived" the pro-life presidencies of Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush

…a deafening barrage of political commercials is now telling women their reproductive rights are in danger. Let's be clear: They aren't. [Pols emphasis]

In other words, don't worry about Bob Beauprez's far-right view on abortion because Republicans can't or won't change the law anyway.

“Ta-da!”

Lest you think these are the words of a lone wolf activist, you should know that Carno is the founder of an organization called "I Am Created Equal," which lists among the members of its "Advisory Board" — wait for it — Bob Beauprez himself.

You can't make this stuff up.

Carno's guest commentary is incredibly enlightening in offering a peak at Republican strategic thinking on the even of the election. Clearly, the GOP has no idea how to deal with their "women voters" problem, which is never going to go away until Republican candidates stop taking positions that are offensive to female voters.

Without putting forth more moderate candidates, this is certainly a difficult conundrum for Republican strategists to ponder. But we dare say that Carno's messaging isn't helpful for a lot of reasons.

For one thing, there are plenty of right-wing Republicans waiting in the wings who will use this message to defeat moderate Republicans in future Primary Elections.

And then there is this closing argument from Carno, which takes us full-circle back to the original problem:

The option for a woman to choose a legal abortion is only one issue out of many. And since that option is not likely in jeopardy, look at the other choices that are important to you and your family, including health care, take-home pay and your family's safety.

Why would you bring up "take-home pay" for women when politicians such as Rep. Mike Coffman have voted again and again and again to deny legislation that would ensure equal pay for women? Why would you bring up equal pay for women when Democratic Sen. Mark Udall is the co-sponsor of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, and your Republican candidate for Governor (Beauprez) is on the record in opposition?

See, female voters shouldn't just worry about issues like abortion, because Republican candidates are just as bad on fair pay for women!

Carno is trying really hard here to discount the idea of a "War on Women," while at the very same time demonstrating that Republicans wouldn't be fighting for women if such a war did exist. (Not) well played.

 

In case you don’t think Beauprez’s abortion stance is important

(Beauprez's Todd Akin moment, this is a must-read – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Bob Beauprez.

Bob Beauprez.

I wrote last week about gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez's comment, unchallenged by reporters, that he believes a governor has "very limited impact" on a woman's right to choose–even though he told Colorado Public Radio back in 2006 that he'd sign a bill outlawing abortion, if such a bill landed on his desk.

If you're a reporter, and you're inclined to sluff this off, because Beauprez isn't thumping his chest about banning abortion nowadays, you need to know more of what he said during that interview with CPR's Ryan Warner back in 2006.

You can read his exact words below, but, to summarize, he dismisses the notion of making abortion exceptions for rape an incest with, "No. No. I don't make exceptions for that."

He also said, specifically, that he'd support a law preventing a raped 16-year-old girl from having the right to choose abortion, saying pregnancies resulting from rape are "relatively few" and the "child" conceived by the rape should not be punished.

Here's a partial transcript of the interview:

HOST RYAN WARNER: Let’s start with abortion. As governor, if Roe v. Wade is overturned, would you sign a bill banning all abortions in Colorado?

BOB BEAUPREZ: As long as it protected the life of the mother, I would.

WARNER: Rape? Incest? Anything like that?

BEAUPREZ: No. No, I don’t make exceptions for that.

WARNER: Would you seek such a bill?

BEAUPREZ: Uhh, –

WARNER: Or would you sign it if it came to your desk.

BEAUPREZ: I believe that what happened up in — I believe it was North Dakota, or South Dakota –North, if I remember right.

WARNER: South Dakota

BEAUPREZ: South Dakota, excuse me. I thought that was a legitimate question to put in front of the people again. And I thought that’s what South Dakota did. If there was a move mood within the legislature, I’d, uh — I would applaud that.

WARNER: Let me give you what is admittedly an extreme hypothetical. A sixteen-year-old girl is raped. She and her parents want to get an abortion for her. They would pay for it, it wouldn’t be state dollars. You would support a law preventing her from getting an abortion under those circumstances?

BEAUPREZ: Yes, and I’ll tell you very simply why.

WARNER: Please.

BEAUPREZ: I don’t think it’s the child’s fault. And I think we either protect life — all life, especially the most innocent of life — or we don’t. The situations of rape or incest, and pregnancies resulting from, are relatively few. And I think, unfortunately, what we have done, sometimes, is use rather what we think of as extreme exceptions, to justify a carte blanche abortion policy that has resulted in– well in excess, as I understand it, of a million abortions a year in our nation. Tragically, I think, in some of our ethnic communities we’re seeing very, very high percentages of babies, children, pregnancies, end in abortion. And I think it’s time that we have an out in the open discussion about what that means.

WARNER: Do you know which ethnic communities, in particular?

BEAUPREZ: I’ve seen numbers as high as 70% –maybe even more– in the African American community, that I think is just appalling. And I’m not saying that it’s appalling on them. I’m saying it’s appalling that something is happening to encourage that. Frankly, it raises another question, you know? Do we think it is okay that that many African American babies aren’t allowed to be born and live an otherwise normal life and reach the blessings, the fullness of the American Dream. I think those are very serious, very intense, very personal questions that a society such as ours ought to ponder. [BigMedia Note, After being called out by MediaMatters of Colorado, Beauprez later admitted that his 70% figure was incorrect.]

WARNER: Do you believe the state has a role in preventing unwanted pregnancies?

BEAUPREZ: Yes. Yeah, and I’ve supported abstinence training, for example, which is very consistent with my belief and my background. I think that’s a very appropriate role. Some, certainly, their beliefs embrace birth control and the use of condoms. I think that kind of awareness is fine. I’ve got, you know, my own personal beliefs. But I think we need to — certainly need to provide that kind of education to people.

WARNER: Just to briefly–

BEAUPREZ: –especially to young people, I might add.

WARNER: On your personal beliefs, where do you stand on birth control and prophylactics?

BEAUPREZ: We don’t use them. I’m Catholic. And I’m Catholic by choice, and I embrace the teachings of my church, and so we’ve used what our church calls — and I think is widely recognized as ‘natural family planning’ It served me and my wife very, very well.

This interview is proof positive that reporters should ask Bob Beauprez to clarify, precisely, what kind of abortion restrictions (counseling, MRI's, hospital requirements, etc.) he'd impose in Colorado, if legislation, for example, requiring a woman to view an MRI of her fetus before being allowed to have an abortion, as passed in other states, is presented to him for his signature.

MSNBC Nails Gardner As Federal Personhood Deadline Passes

Cory Gardner.

Cory Gardner.

​MSNBC's Steve Benen reports on the deadline missed by Rep. Cory Gardner last Friday, as noted by our friend Jason Salzman, to remove himself as a co-sponsor of the federal Life at Conception Act before the November elections:

No issue has dogged Rep. Cory Gardner’s (R) Senate campaign in Colorado more than a policy known as “personhood,” which would ban abortions and many common forms of birth control. In a bit of a surprise, the far-right congressman has decided to ride this train straight through to Election Day.
 
Gardner has long been a culture warrior, championing personhood at the state and federal level, even after Colorado voters rejected it (twice). After launching a statewide campaign, the Republican tried to flip-flop on the issue, but Gardner struggled to even do this properly – the congressman announced he no longer supports the state personhood policy, but he would remain a co-sponsor of the federal personhood legislation.
 
With Election Day nearing and Gardner locked in a very close race with Sen. Mark Udall (D), would the conservative Coloradan complete the reversal and walk away from the right-wing legislation? Apparently not. Jason Salzman reported Friday that “the die is cast.”

…There’s simply no ambiguity here. Over a year ago, Gardner signed on to the Life at Conception Act (H.R.1091) as a co-sponsor. The Colorado Republican ostensibly changed his mind about the issue a few months ago, but nevertheless kept his name on the federal personhood bill, despite having ample opportunity to withdraw his support.
 
And now it’s too late to do anything about it.

Now that the House has adjourned until November 12th, there's no opportunity for Gardner to take the formal steps necessary in order to remove himself as a co-sponsor of this legislation. In response to questions about the obvious conflict between Gardner's abandonment of the state Personhood ballot measures and his continued sponsorship of the functionally equivalent federal Life at Conception Act, Gardner has clung to a fictional distinction between the two proposals. Both Personhood and the Life at Conception Act contain the same language conferring rights from "the moment of fertilization" that could result in a ban on certain forms of "abortifacient" birth control.

The fact-checkers have thoroughly debunked Gardner on this point, but Gardner still hasn't changed his answer to the question. The simple remains that the same language that exists in the Personhood abortion bans Gardner has abandoned is in the bill Gardner is still sponsoring. Gardner's abandonment of Personhood is therefore meaningless at best, and a desperate, incomplete attempt to escape his record ahead of a statewide run in the more likely case.

And now he's stuck. The only thing Gardner can hope for now is that the voters won't figure it out until it's too late–that, as GOP consultant Katy Atkinson said, he can "muddy it up" enough to confuse the issue until the election. That was the whole purpose of Gardner's over-the-counter birth control redirection, which has also been dismantled by fact-checkers. But the polls show clearly that this issue has already severely harmed Gardner with women voters, and there's more for them to learn about the story now. Gardner's refusal to acknowledge this ongoing liability opens him to a whole new line of attack.

If anyone can outline a scenario where this ends well on Election Day, we're all ears.

Gardner all in on federal personhood bill

(The die is cast – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Rep. Cory Gardner (R).

Rep. Cory Gardner (R).

The House of Representatives adjourned at noon today, meaning Colorado senatorial candidate Cory Gardner has officially missed his chance to withdraw his name from the Life at Conception Act, a federal personhood bill, prior to the Nov. election.

To uncosponsor the bill, Gardner would have had to make a statement from the House floor, and now the House is out of session until Nov. 12.

In March, Gardner reversed his longstanding support of state personhood amendments.

But in an endlessly puzzling move, the congressman did not also remove his name from the federal personhood bill, saying instead that the federal bill is a toothless symbol–even though numerous fact checkers, like Factcheck.org, think otherwise.

The mystery of why Gardner thinks the Life at Conception Act is symbolic remains unanswered because, well, Gardner won't answer it, saying stuff like, "There is no federal personhood bill."

I guess, if you're a reporter, all you can do is ask the question again and see if a factual explanation emerges.

Beauprez says his support for personhood is irrelevant at state level. Not

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

“Both Ways” Bob Beauprez (right).

I don't envy reporters who are trying to uncover the logic in gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez's decision to withdraw his support for personhood at the state level but to continue backing federal personhood legislation, even though state and federal personhood laws would do the exact same thing: ban all abortion, even for rape and incest.

In a post yesterday, Denver Post reporter John Frank tried to unravel Beauprez's logic, and he made some headway, reporting that Beauprez apparently believes his abortion stance is irrelevant, because federal law is all that matters regarding abortion, and Beauprez won't "deny what the law provides you."

Beauprez: “The governor has very limited impact on what is really the federal law. Democrats always bring it up because they don’t want to talk about the economy or education or about transportation,” he said. “I don’t know where it is an issue in this campaign.”

Tell that to women and others in Texas, where a state law, under review now by federal judges, could reduce the number of abortion clinics statewide from 41 to just seven or eight–and Texas has over 5 million women of reproductive age.

In the more friendly territory of Colorado, a personhood abortion-ban bill was introduced just last year. What if control of the legislature changed, the bill were passed, and it landed on Beauprez's desk? What about a bill requiring counseling prior to having an abortion or multiple trips to a clinic?

The Guttmacher Institute has a depressing chart that reporters covering Beauprez might want to take a look at, summarizing the 9 categories of state laws restricting abortion.

(more…)

Clock ticking on Gardner’s opportunity to withdraw his co-sponsorship from federal personhood bill

(Will he or won't he? Does it even matter now? – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Cory Gardner.

Cory Gardner.

It's a big week for senatorial candidate Cory Gardner, as the clock ticks down on his opportunity to withdraw his co-sponsorship from a federal personhood bill, which aims to ban all abortion, even for rape and incest.

To get his name off the legislation, Gardner is required to make a speech from the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives, which is expected to adjourn as early as this week. And it would not meet again prior to the election. So this is Gardner's last chance.

Fact checkers in Colorado (here and here plus yours truly) and nationally have concluded that the Life at Conception Act, which Gardner cosponsored just last year, is substantive legislation, written and promoted by its sponsors to end a women's right to choose.

But, inexplicably, both Gardner and his spokespeople, like Owen Loftus,  have told reporters that the bill is symbolic. Most recently, Gardner told 9News' Brandon Rittiman, "There is no federal personhood bill." The bill he cosponsored "says life begins at conception," Gardner told Rittiman. Loftus once said, "The Democrats like to say that it is personhood but it's not."

Given these statements by Gardner, who's challenging pro-choice Democrat Sen. Mark Udall, you wouldn't expect Gardner to withdraw his name at this point, because he'd have a mouthful of explaining to do–like why he thinks his legislation is symbolic when no one else does.

Reporters should put that question to Gardner regardless of whether he removes his name form the bill in the coming weeks.  Why is he repeating the documented falsehood that the Life at Conception Act is symbolic, given the text of the legislation and the fact checks. With the deadline approaching, now would be a really great time to ask him.