When Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott McInnis last week declared that he supported Amendment 62 , the sweeping anti-abortion Personhood Amendment that will appear on the ballot in November, it probably came as no great surprise. It’s primary season after all and the Tea Party is pushing Republicans to the right.
But two years ago, when a similar amendment came before the voters, it was trounced 3 to 1, voters clearly turned off by the possible infringements on individual rights the initiative represented, including bans on fertilization techniques. At that time, Democrats were on the rise in Colorado and even most Republicans, including party chair Dick Wadhams and then-Senate candidate Bob Schaffer opposed the amendment, which defined fertilized eggs as full human beings, with full purchase on the rights granted to all Colorado citizens.
This year, the entire slate of Republican candidates for governor and the U.S. Senate are supporting the amendment. Those pushing the amendment say there is no real difference between the measure this year and the measure that appeared on the ballot two years ago. The difference is that back then even most Republicans thought such a constitutional amendment was going too far and now they don’t.
When McInnis was first elected to Congress, he was mostly pro-choice. As late as 1996, he told the Rocky Mountain News, “I’m pro-choice. I believe it’s a decision between a woman and her doctor.”
Some have speculated that his current 100 percent opposition to abortion has come about for political reasons. He says his views have simply evolved as he has matured.
“He’s come to see the value of life more clearly as he has had friends die. He’s simply changed how he views abortion,” says McInnis Campaign Director of Communications Scott Duffy.
The Denver Post in November reported that McInnis had once been chairman of Republicans for Choice, a national organization of pro-choice members of the GOP. Duffy said he’s not sure that’s accurate. “Scott has no memory of that. We’re not even sure he was a member,” Duffy said.
Calls and emails to Republicans for Choice had not been returned at deadline.