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.

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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.

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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.

Romanoff Breaks Down Issues in Clear Language

People are naturally cynical about politicians. Sometimes that cynicism is justified, and it can often result from a politician's inability to speak to voters about issues in a way that is relatable to them.

Elias Isquith of Salon magazine recently interviewed Democrat Andrew Romanoff about his effort to unseat incumbent Republican Congressman Mike Coffman. There are several interesting parts to Isquith's wide-ranging interview with Romanoff, but one particular exchange stood out to us as a great example of why Romanoff is such a difficult opponent for Coffman. Take a look at how Romanoff answered a question about Coffman's support for shutting down the government last October:

When Congressman Coffman and his colleagues in the House voted to shut down the government a year ago, that inflicted real damage on Colorado, and I suspect on every other state — and people remember.

To give you some examples: If you were doing medical research at the campus here in Aurora, it’s called the Anschutz Medical Campus, and you can’t get a grant continued and you have to turn patients away because of the government shutdown, you remember. If you’re an employee at the local Air Force base, also here in Aurora, and you don’t know whether you’re going to have a job in the morning because your own congressman shut down the government, you remember. If you’re a senior who doesn’t know whether your Social Security check is going to arrive because your congressman shut down the government, you remember that pretty clearly. [Pols emphasis]

I actually just had this conversation, literally the question you’re asking me, at … one of the doors I was knocking on over the weekend in our district. And a woman asked me, she said, “Why are we paying you guys?” Meaning Congress. “If I don’t do my job,” she said, “I don’t get paid. And I certainly don’t get a vacation or a raise.” And it’s a really basic question. It’s an excellent point, I thought. If Congress operated on a pay-for-performance level, they’d be broke.

So it’s very hard for me to understand, and very hard for my neighbors here to understand, why we’re paying a guy who can’t even keep the government functioning, much less advance the priorities that we happen to share … I’d be thrilled if Congress voted to increase the minimum wage, addressed the student loan crisis; it’d be terrific if Congress took action to close the pay gap between men and women, and certainly it would be a great success if Congress took action on immigration reform.

With just a few sentences, Romanoff clearly outlined how and why the government shutdown directly related to voters and residents in CD-6. Romanoff's straightforward way of speaking about issues and their local relevance draws an incredibly sharp contrast with Coffman and his love of word salads.

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.