Buck, Bennet split on personhood’s impacts on contraception

Republican U.S Senate candidate Ken Buck’s campaign says the Weld County DA supports birth control if it does not stop the implantation of a zygote in the uterine wall, while incumbent Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet’s campaign this week said the senator believes in choice.

Tuesday's NO on 62 rally against the Personhood Amendment. (Photo by Joseph Boven)
Buck spokesman Owen Loftus said that Buck is against any drug that prevents a zygote from attaching to the uterine wall, but he added Buck does not feel that most common forms of contraception would be banned if November’s Personhood Amendment (62) passes.

“Most forms of birth control aren’t included in this, so like the pill, condoms and other types of contraception that are commonly used aren’t included,” Loftus said.

“Ken believes life begins at conception, so he would oppose the morning after pill,” Loftus said. “But there have been several news organizations that have looked into this — especially with Michael Bennet’s commercial running — and they have said that it is just not true, that Ken does not favor getting rid of common forms of birth control because most of them don’t work that way.”

Bennet spokesman Trevor Kincaid said: “Michael opposes Amendment 62 because it contradicts both the rights of Colorado women and the will of Colorado voters. Personhood would ban the commonly used forms of birth control, as well as emergency contraception for rape victims.

“Unlike Ken Buck, Michael believes these decisions should be left to women, their families, and their doctor, not to politicians or the courts,” Kincaid said. “Colorado voters rejected a similar attempt to give legal rights to fertilized eggs by a three to one margin in 2008, and that vote should be respected.”

At a NO on 62, rally at the Capitol on Tuesday (see video below), opponents said lower socioeconomic groups could be hurt significantly if the Personhood Amendment passes and bans many forms of birth control, including the pill.

“Think of the impact of restrictions on emergency contraception and other forms of birth control for women and their families who are living in poverty,” said Rev. Dawn Riley Duval of African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME).

Riley told the Colorado Independent that many families living in poverty do not have health insurance and are already struggling to put food on the table for current family members. She said removing many legal forms of birth control such as the pill would have catastrophic effects.

Representatives of the Personhood campaign have said that barrier forms of contraception will remain legal if the amendment passes. NO on 62 members do not disagree, but note that many common forms of birth control, including the pill, would likely be outlawed by Amendment 62.

The Mayo Clinic notes on its website that the pill, in its various forms, work by stopping ovulation, thickening cervical mucus and thinning the lining of the uterus.

Gualberto Garcia Jones, director of Personhood Colorado, told the Colorado Independent that he felt the populace should be informed that the drugs they are taking are stopping an egg from implanting in the uterine wall. He said while he is not against birth control, he is against any drug that stops the progression of biological development in such a way.

“We are pretty straight-forward. If there is a fertilized egg, if there is a zygote, an embryo, then anything that kills them should be considered a poison really, not a contraceptive,” Jones said.

Dr. Mary Fairbanks, a Colorado family physician, said: “[Although] regularly taking birth control often stops ovulation in the first place … it also thins the lining of the uterus, so those forms of birth control would be outlawed, and it is one of the most commonly used forms of birth control. To eliminate all of those in Colorado could lead to more unwanted pregnancies and more backroom abortions.”

Professor Paula England, a Stanford sociologist specializing in birth control , explained that women in lower socioeconomic groups often use contraception less frequently than those of higher socioeconomic status (SES). She said that this leads them to often have higher frequencies of unintended pregnancies, but she said it is likely there would be less impact on lower SES birth totals as compared to other groups if hormonal birth control was eliminated.

Studies have shown that early pregnancies can lead to a number of concerns for both the infant and the mother. The Center for Disease Control reported that teenage mothers are more likely to drop out of school and their children to remain more reliant on public health care or enter into the penal system.

“If the people who are for Amendment 62 and the anti-abortion people in general put as much energy into educating people, distributing condoms, empowering teenagers to say no and patrolling their streets to stop rape … if they worked more to prevent pregnancy, then they would probably prevent more abortions than with this thing,” Fairbanks said.

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