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In 2010, Rep. Cory Gardner embraced Colorado's personhood measure.
In 2013, he cosponsored federal legislation to do the same thing
I'm still baffled by GOP Rep. Cory Gardner's claim that he no longer supports so-called "personhood" legislation, which would define fertilized eggs as human persons. Gardner says he flip-flopped because he now realizes personhood measures would ban common forms of contraception, like many birth control pills. But here's the thing: Despite saying he's flip-flopped, Gardner is still a co-sponsor of federal personhood legislation, which his office inexplicably defends as being completely different than personhood measures at the state level.

By any reasonable interpretation, Gardner has only sort of half flip-flopped; he's explained why his position is a bad one, but he hasn't completely changed his position. Given that his motive was clearly to appear more politically palatable to mainstream voters in Colorado, this fence straddling is truly bizarre. It doesn't satisfy anyone to his left—and as Steve Benen notes today, it isn't satisfying anyone on the right either.

Yesterday, however, Democrats eagerly circulated a statement from Personhood USA’s president, Keith Mason, telling Gardner he didn’t really flip-flop.
Mason pointed out what I wrote above: That Gardner is still to this day a co-sponsor of federal personhood legislation, a position which his office defends. But Mason then took Gardner to task for conceding that personhood would ban contraception and urged him to take it back:
Retract the false statement, instigated by Planned Parenthood and NARAL, that a personhood bill could ban contraception, when in fact it could not.
Mason is wrong about the contraception ban. The only way you can say personhood doesn't ban contraception is if you change the definition of contraception to abortion, which is exactly what personhood does in many cases.

That being said, he's right that Gardner has acknowledged that personhood would ban some forms of contraception. The question, however, is why Gardner continues to support personhood at the federal level.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Fri Apr 04, 2014 at 09:26 AM PDT.

Also republished by Colorado COmmunity and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  more Luntzian stupidity (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ColoTim, Cadillac64, Matt Z
    Mason is wrong about the contraception ban. The only way you can say personhood doesn't ban contraception is if you change the definition of contraception to abortion, which is exactly what personhood does in many cases.

    Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be" - Barack Obama 04/27/2013 (@eState4Column5).

    by annieli on Fri Apr 04, 2014 at 09:32:05 AM PDT

  •  Because personhood is neutral and he (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    desperately wants to get away from the male/female thingy?

    by hannah on Fri Apr 04, 2014 at 09:48:23 AM PDT

  •  Gardner attempts a ... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ColoTim, Cadillac64, Greenfinches

    reverse 1 1/2 somersault with 2 1/2 twists in the free position. His dive goes haywire when hits his head on the diving board on the way down, and is knocked unconscious. In spite of his injuries, Gardner still remains a valued member of the GOP Diving Team.

    The next house I build will be a military industrial complex. It seems to be the only structure that is impervious to anything man, or nature, can throw at it.

    by glb3 on Fri Apr 04, 2014 at 09:59:32 AM PDT

  •  Fertilized eggs are "people"... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lying eyes

    but once you're born to into a poor family, you might as well be trash as far as those folks are concerned.

    The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness. -- John Kenneth Galbraith

    by richardak on Fri Apr 04, 2014 at 04:15:05 PM PDT

  •  It's the policy equivalent of the rhythm method. (0+ / 0-)

    He obviously doesn't know if he's coming or going.

    Perhaps SCOTUS needs a filibuster provision.

    by here4tehbeer on Fri Apr 04, 2014 at 04:26:14 PM PDT

  •  Corey is my congressman (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jeff Y

    Before him we had Betsy Markey.
    Betsy was the type of Dem much aligned here at DK.

    “Conservation… is a positive exercise of skill and insight, not merely a negative exercise of abstinence and caution…” Aldo Leopold

    by ban nock on Fri Apr 04, 2014 at 04:34:00 PM PDT

  •  I'm confused (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Okay, terminology clarification.

    When we have something that prevents conception (fertilization), it's called a contraceptive.

    When we have something that ends (aborts) a pregnancy, it's called an abortion.

    That leaves a gap, between fertilization and pregnancy, that we don't seem to have a word for.  What do we call something that prevents implantation (pregnancy) but not fertilization?  Strictly speaking, it's not contraceptive, is it?

    I ask because when pro-life folks say "these contraceptives cause abortions!" they aren't using the word "abortion" in its strictest sense.  They mean they can cause a zygote to not implant, which has the result of killing it.

    So when writers say something like "The only way you can say personhood doesn't ban contraception is if you change the definition of contraception to abortion, which is exactly what personhood does in many cases.", we really need to know what you mean by "contraception" and "abortion".

  •  Conemdrum (0+ / 0-)

    On the one hand, hurting women is fun, on the other, there is a risk of litigation and the like.  It is like SYG.  Giving white men the right to carry and look for opportunities to kill children, women, minorities, is great.  But sometimes a man gets killed, and then what do we do.  We can try to ignore that laws but then some lawyer will appeal and maybe she gets away with it after all.

    So it is great if we can put more women in jail, especially minority women, if they have a miscarriage, but what happens if a sentor or a boy just out for a good time, loaded on stolen beer, kills a fetus in the process of their god given right to have a good time?  Do they get accused of murder?  For just having a little party?  That would be a travesty of justice.

    So I am really sure there is quite a bit of controversy on the law at the federal level.  We can't just put in an exception to protect men who accidentally kill fetuses.

    It is not that uncommon for incidents, where some truck driver just isn't paying attention, and ends up killing a fetus.  Such a law would turn such a good ole boy into a murderer.

  •  CO-Sen: Mark Udall getting support & "fiery" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jeff Y

    rhetoric from Co-Sen Michael Bennet:

    “Cory Gardner ... has the 10th-most-conservative voting record in the House of Representatives. ...Michele Bachmann ... had a less conservative voting record than Congressman Gardner did.

    He supported until yesterday the personhood amendment ... he was thinking about changing his mind ... But somehow he didn’t get around to changing his mind until his last primary opponent dropped out of the race, and he was running for the senate against Mark Udall..."

  •  Let the forced birthers tear themselves apart. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jeff Y

    Seriously, look at the Facebook page of Abolish Human Abortion (a far-far-far-far fringe group that routinely compares abortion to slavery and the Holocaust). There, they rip the forced-birther National Right to Life for sometimes maybe possibly supporting rape exceptions to make it easier for anti-choice bills to pass:

    It is hilarious that most of AHA's page consists of attacking many forced birther tricks like "safety" regulations, 20 week bans and anything short of a blanket ban.

  •  Gardner points to Udall's Gay Marriage evolution, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jeff Y

    to say "all candidates flip-flop", but this gives Udall the chance to respond, accurately that:

    “I’ve spent my entire political career pushing for more inclusion, more rights for the gay community. He [Gardner] spent years trying to criminalize abortion, supporting personhood. It just doesn’t stand up to comparison.”
    Udall publicly explained, relatively impressively his own evolution on Gay Marriage, shortly before the 2012 election when he was not facing re-election.
  •  Glad this guy's campaign is falling to pieces, but (0+ / 0-)

    it lets Udall of the hook from having to campaign for anything such as solid economic policy or sane military policy, as he should have to.

    Democrats should not take any wins due to whackjob opponents such as Gardner as an excuse not to be solidly progressive and truly Democratic.

    •  Yes, I agree completely, (0+ / 0-)
      Democrats should not take any wins due to whackjob opponents such as Gardner as an excuse not to be solidly progressive and truly Democratic.
      but this is almost impossible to accomplish here in Colorado, where lite blue business types and bored millionaires  run for office wearing Democratic labels. It's them or the nutjobs, face it.

      "Trudy is beauth, beauth trudy."

      by Cuester on Mon Apr 07, 2014 at 06:13:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Distinctions not important to his voters (0+ / 0-)

    Pavlovian. He panders to the Christian Right and they do not care about nuances. Emphasizing the subject will probably get him more votes from the right. That's how they view politics. They hear the words birth or personhood, and they are voting Republican, no matter what else the person might or might not know. Simplistic to the max.

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