Bill Cadman Leads Republicans Over the Cliff on Personhood

Senate President Bill Cadman leads Republicans off a cliff once again.

Senate President Bill Cadman should have hit the brakes earlier.

“Justice.” Senate President Bill Cadman said it again…and again…and again in discussing SB-268, the fetal homicide/Personhood legislation he crammed through the State Senate despite objections and proposed amendments from Democrats. Cadman has repeatedly said that his legislation, which was introduced in the aftermath of a brutal crime against a pregnant woman in Longmont in March, is about “justice” in allowing prosecutors to seek murder charges in the death of an unborn child.

But SB-268 is really a bill about “Personhood,” which would change the definition of a “person” to include “an unborn person at every age of gestation.” We’ve said it before in this space, and Cadman and his fellow Republicans proved Monday that SB-268 was always about Personhood, first and foremost. As John Frank of the Denver Post explains:

In the Senate debate, Democrats unsuccessfully sought to amend the bill to take out the language defining a person as an “unborn child at every stage of gestation from conception until live birth.” Another amendment that failed would have gutted the measure to only increase the penalties in attacks on pregnant women under Colorado’s current law.

The critics cited concerns that Senate Bill 268 included verbatim sections from model legislation proposed by Americans United for Life, an anti- organization, and cited similar laws in other states where district attorneys prosecuted pregnant mothers for endangering the child.

As any political observer with half a brain could have forseen, Senate Democrats offered up amendments Monday that would have removed the “Personhood” language from SB-268. Cadman had Republicans entrenched by now, however, so the GOP refused to accept the amendments…and things got worse in the process.


Former Denver Post editor Chuck Murphy was among those (via Twitter) who noticed the GOP’s problem with SB-268.

Republican Sen. Ellen Roberts actually conceded that the real point of SB-268 was to declare a fetus a person, and Assistant Majority Leader Kevin Lundberg (R-Berthoud) began droning on about the importance of extending constitutional rights to the unborn. In voting down the proposed amendments, Senate Republicans are now on record in support of Personhood, which Colorado voters have flatly rejected every time it has appeared as a ballot measure. These votes will be used often in 2016 against Republicans seeking re-election, and it’s gonna sting. The advertisements write themselves: “When Republicans gained control of the State Senate, they pushed a Personhood bill that contained similar language to ballot measures that Colorado voters have opposed on three separate occasions.”

There was never any real chance that SB-268 would make it out of the State House, and Monday’s actions only ensured as much. But Cadman’s “leadership” here may very well give Democrats everything they need to re-take control of the State Senate in 2016. This bill was going to be stuck with the “Personhood” tag no matter how many times Cadman said the word “justice.”

Colorado already has the “Crimes Against Pregnant Women Act” on the books — and has since 2013 — so there was no real practical need for Cadman to rage around the State Capitol for the last month. If Cadman truly didn’t realize that he was walking his caucus into a Personhood debate, then he is in no way capable of leading Senate Republicans in 2016.

If Cadman did realize this problem ahead of time, but pushed forward anyway…well, he is in no way capable of leading Senate Republicans in 2016.


Get More Smarter on Tuesday (April 28)

Hey, there it is! Welcome back, Sun. It’s time to Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example).



► Prosecutors are scheduled to call their first witness today in the Aurora Theater Shooting trial. The Aurora Sentinel provides a handy update for Day Two.

► As the Supreme Court begins hearing arguments over same-sex marriage, experts on both sides of the argument seem to think equality is a foregone conclusion. Or…maybe not?

► So-called fetal homicide Personhood legislation limped out of the State Senate yesterday. Senate Bill 268 is unlikely to make it through the State House, especially after running into all manner of political problems in the Senate. 


Get even more smarter after the jump…


“Fetal Homicide” Bill Uses Anti-Abortion Group’s Model Language

UPDATE: Credit where due–in a report broadcast today, Colorado Public Radio’s Megan Verlee becomes the first local reporter to correctly identify the origin of the language in Senate President Bill Cadman’s “fetal homicide” bill–a national anti-abortion group.

University of Colorado law professor Jennifer Hendricks testified that similar laws in other states have led to pregnant women being prosecuted for having miscarriages or taking drugs, in spite of similar protections.

“My concern that it will be interpreted much more broadly is not hypothetical. It is exactly how an Alabama Supreme Court interpreted a similar law,” Hendricks said.

Abortion rights supporters say a fetal homicide law could also have a chilling effect on access to abortion. The bill was modeled after legislation written by an anti-abortion group, [Pols emphasis] although the organization says it is not attempting to limit the procedure with this policy.

As we detail below, Americans United for Life most certainly is attempting to limit abortions as part of this legislative strategy–just a little over the horizon. Original post follows.


Senate President Bill Cadman.

Senate President Bill Cadman.

As the Durango Herald’s Peter Marcus reports, Senate Bill 15-268, the so-called “fetal homicide” bill introduced by GOP Senate President Bill Cadman last week as a “response” to the horrific attack on a pregnant Longmont women last month, passed its first hearing in the GOP-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee:

After a nearly five-hour hearing, the Republican-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee backed the bill on a 3-2 party-line vote, with support from Sen. Ellen Roberts of Durango.

“This bill, I don’t see it about abortion,” Roberts said. “I see it as criminal justice.”

Senate Bill 268 was introduced by Republican leaders in the waning days of the legislative session in reaction to a recent horrific event in Longmont in which a woman suffered as her 7-month-old fetus was cut from her womb by another woman. The fetus died.

The issue is mired in controversy, as pro-choice advocates say that the legislation would create so-called “personhood” in the state, which they fear would lead to arresting and charging women for murder simply for having an abortion…

“I support a woman’s right to choose, and for nine years in this building, my voting record shows that,” Roberts said. “It does not create personhood, and I’m very disappointed in those who have perpetuated that myth.”

Although the legislation contains vaguely-worded exemptions for “medical procedures” and acts “performed by the mother of her unborn child,” the fact remains that the bill grants legal rights to fetuses “at every stage of gestation from conception until live birth.” That provision, say opponents, is functionally identical to the Personhood ballot measures, and sets a dangerous precedent that could be used to undermine abortion rights in the future.

And there’s another problem that was pointed out in debate over this legislation yesterday by Democratic Sen. Andy Kerr: despite insistence from Cadman and other GOP supporters that this legislation is not meant to undermine abortion rights, Senate Bill 15-268 in fact uses verbatim model language supplied by Americans United for Life–one of the nation’s foremost anti-abortion advocacy groups. Here’s the model language from AUL in its entirety. And here’s the part that matters:


Compared to the relevant portion of Colorado Senate Bill 15-268:


For their part, Americans United for Life proudly noted in a press release yesterday that Senate Bill 15-268 is “based on AUL model legislation.” So it’s not like they’re being secretive about this. Despite that, we have yet to see any of the extensive press this issue is receiving note that Cadman’s bill is cribbed directly from “the nation’s premier pro-life legal team.” That’s how AUL describes themselves on their About Us page:

At the state, federal and international levels, AUL works to advance life issues through the law and does so through measures that can withstand judicial obstacles so that pro-life laws will be enforced. AUL knows that reversing Roe v. Wade can be accomplished through deliberate, legal strategies that accumulate victories, build momentum, and restore a culture of life. [Pols emphasis]

But AUL’s distinction extends beyond federal measures. AUL works at the state level to craft tailored strategies and legislative tools that will assist state and local officials as they defend and protect life…

[AUL] has been unparalleled in pointing the way to protecting women now, to limiting the abortion license created by the Supreme Court, and to preparing the ground to overturn Roe. [Pols emphasis]

This legislation is, by the explicit admission of its true authors, part of a much broader strategy to chip away at Roe v. Wade. What happens when the rights this legislation confers on unborn fetuses today are interpreted tomorrow to be “unjust” since they contain exemptions? Once you legitimize these legal rights from the moment of conception, you’ve set down exactly the path AUL wants you to be on as part of their long-term objective of overturning Roe v. Wade–and curtailing or eliminating abortion rights nationwide.

Bottom line: if you’re wondering why pro-choice advocates and their Democratic allies are suspicious of ulterior motives at work here, you can stop wondering. Beneath the veneer of a “response” to last month’s horrific crime, a longstanding agenda to attack abortion rights is what this whole debate is about.

All Is Forgiven, “Dr. Chaps”

Rep. Gordon Klingenschmitt (R).

Rep. Gordon Klingenschmitt (R).

In the aftermath of the horrific attack on a pregnant Longmont woman last month, Rep. Gordon “Dr. Chaps” Klingenschmitt said the crime was “the curse of God upon America” for allowing abortions. Klingenschmitt, no stranger to controversy as a frequent utterer of over-the-top claims about demon-possessed liberals and so forth, was hit with some of the harshest criticism yet–and was removed from his post on the House Health, Insurance and Environment Committee by his fellow Republicans. As Minority Leader Brian DelGrosso said on March 31st:

“I was very disturbed by Representative Klingenschmitt’s comments last week and want to reiterate that his comments do not represent our caucus and he does not speak for our caucus. As House Minority Leader my ability to discipline a member of our caucus is limited. Representative Klingenschmitt’s conduct warranted his removal from the committee,” House Minority Leader Brian DelGrosso (R-Loveland) said in a statement.

Question: just how disturbing were these comments to Minority Leader DelGrosso, really?

Answer: about three weeks’ worth. The Colorado Springs Gazette’s Megan Schrader Tweets today:

Because every legislator is required to serve on at least one committee, Rep. Klingenschmitt was only removed from the Health, Insurance, and Environment Committee, and retained his post on the Local Government Committee. But the outcry over Klingenschmitt’s comments about the attack on Michelle Wilkins in Longmont was quite broad, and his removal from the HIE committee by Minority Leader DelGrosso was in response to an avalanche of phone calls and emails from the public.

We have to wonder how the public will take the news of his reinstatement only three weeks later–assuming they hear about it at all.

Inconsistency mars Post’s Personhood editorials

(Pretty much ridiculous – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Vince Carroll, Denver Post editorial board.

Vince Carroll, Denver Post editorial board.

At the heart of Thursday’s Denver Post editorial supporting State Sen. Bill Cadman’s personhood bill is the argument that Colorado needs a new law to penalize people like Dynel Lane, who faces over 100 years in prison for her horrific attack on Michelle Wilkins, who was pregnant and lost her fetus.

But just last year, The Post argued that existing Colorado law, specifically addressing crimes against pregnant women, was sufficient for cases like Wilkins’.

The 2013 Crimes-Against-Pregnant-Women law balances severe penalties for crimes harming fetuses with the preservation of abortion rights and the protection of pregnant women from criminal investigation.

Here’s what The Post said last week in its editorial endorsing Cadman’s bill:

A 2013 law made it a felony to unlawfully terminate a pregnancy, but it is a Class 3 felony with a sentencing range of 10 to 32 years unless the mother dies — when it becomes a Class 2 felony. The Class 3 felony is utterly inadequate.

But when The Post opposed last year’s personhood amendment, the newspaper argued that even a “horrific incident” did not justify a new law because “the state legislature already made the necessary statutory fix.” Here’s what The Post wrote last year:

The horrific incident laid bare a gap in Colorado law that did not allow authorities to charge the drunken driver with anything for the loss of Brady [an eight-month-old fetus].

The Yes on 67 campaign attempts to capitalize on this circumstance, saying the amendment is needed to protect pregnant mothers from violence. Proponents conveniently ignore the fact that the state legislature already made the necessary statutory fix.

It’s because of this 2013 “statutory fix” that Lane faces the 100-year prison term, because the 2013 Crimes-Against-Pregnant-Women law allows charges to be added on top of one another, over and above the Class 3 felony.

The severe penalties of Colorado’s 2013 law were apparently good enough for The Post last year, but now the statute is suddenly inadequate? What gives?

Clearly, both Cadman’s bill and Amendment 67 are attempts to take advantage of nightmarish incidents to pass different versions of “personhood.” Colorado’s 2013 law, considered the gold standard in balancing women’s rights with criminal justice, was a good argument against Amendment 67, as The Post understood at the time.

Newspaper editorials are supposed to be consistent and above-the-fray, so you’d expect The Post to point again to the 2013 Crimes Against Pregnant Women law and argue against Cadman’s personhood bill. But, alas, no, and the logic of the inconsistency escapes me.

Get More Smarter on Friday (April 17)

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



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

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

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

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

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

Get even more smarter after the jump…


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

Senate President Bill Cadman (R).

Senate President Bill Cadman (R).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Just don’t call it justice.

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

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

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

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

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


Get More Smarter on Wednesday (April 15)

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



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

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


Get even more smarter after the jump…


Say no to Personhood–again

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

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

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

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

And from Karen Middleton at NARAL Pro Choice Colorado:

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


Get More Smarter on Tuesday (April 14)

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



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

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

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


Get even more smarter after the jump…


Anti-choice activists push for dangerous fetal-homicide bill

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Senate President Bill Cadman (R).

Senate President Bill Cadman (R).

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

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

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

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

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

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


Fetal Homicide: Let No Tragedy Go Unexploited

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

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

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

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

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

Original post follows.


Image vis CBS4 Denver

Image vis CBS4 Denver

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Problem #1: The mysterious GJK, Inc. corporation

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



[Lots more after the jump…]


Dr. Chaps Compares Planned Parenthood to ISIS

TUESDAY POLS UPDATE: Planned Parenthood Votes Colorado responds to Rep. Gordon “Dr. Chaps” Klingenschmitt in a blistering statement:

It is deeply troubling that Rep. Gordon Klingenschmitt of El Paso County has decided to stoop to ridiculous rhetoric instead of finding common solutions to the real policy issues facing Colorado families. In a recent podcast, he praised a South Dakota legislator who compared Planned Parenthood to ISIS. In fact, the legislator from SD, like Rep. Klingenschmidtt, has championed the extreme agenda being pushed by the groups that yell at and harass women who seek care in health clinics.

Planned Parenthood provides reproductive health care to women and men and makes sure that women have the option to decide when is the best time to begin their families. Planned Parenthood ensures that people have all the information, options, and support that they need to make their own health care decisions. That is why one in five women in America has turned to Planned Parenthood for support and health care. That’s a far cry from “terrorism.”

This is not the first time Rep. Klingenschmitt has taking the extreme position of drawing comparisons between people or policies he disagrees with to the “Islamic State.”

His behavior is reprehensible, extreme, out-of-touch and should be denounced by all of his legislative colleagues and the leaders of both political parties. This goes beyond politics – it is shameful and we hope both Democrats and Republicans alike will be honest in declaring it so.


State Rep. Gordon Klingenschmitt has said he’s “very proud” of South Dakota State Rep. Isaac Latterell, who wrote a blog post last month comparing Planned Parenthood the Islamic State.

“I am discerning the spirit of god on this state rep from South Dakota,” said Klingenschmitt in Tuesday’s edition of his online video series called Pray in Jesus’ Name, beginning at about the five minute mark below. “His name is Issac Latterell. And he is taking a stand to protect the innocent, and I am very proud of that.”

“Father, we ask your blessing, on South Dakota, on all of America, Father, that we would stand against terrorism in all its forms, stand against murder of innocents in all of its forms, that we would be consistent in our policy and stop funding the abortion business with American tax dollars,” he said later. “God, wake us up as a nation to stop the slaughter of innocents.”

As I reported for RH Reality Check this morning, the last time Klingenschmitt brought up ISIS, writing last year that U.S. Rep. Jared Polis  wants “to bankrupt Christians who refuse to worship and endorse his sodomy” and that Polis would “join ISIS in beheading Christians,” Ryan Call denounced Klingenschmitt’s comments.

This, in turn, led Klingenschmitt to say his remarks were “hyperbole” and that “some Democrats do not have a sense of humor.”