Even as Colorado’s review board for ballot initiatives has approved the wording of the proposed personhood amendment, and the race is on to find enough signatures to put it on the November ballot, Colorado Republican U.S. Representatives Mike Coffman and Cory Gardner have yet to state whether they will support the initiative this year, as they did in 2010.
Given what happened to failed Colorado Republican senate candidate Ken Buck, who un-endorsed the personhood amendment shortly after he won the GOP senate primary in 2010 and was attacked nonstop on abortion issues during his campaign, we should expect the politics of this issue to be addressed by candidates and the media alike as we go into another election year.
A spokesman for Coffman said Thursday that he’d check to find out what his boss’ current position on personhood is.
The Colorado Right to Life blog states that Coffman, during the 2010 election cycle, was “on record supporting Personhood and is on record as Pro-Life with no exceptions.”
“Our blog reports on our candidate survey results,” Colorado Right to Life Vice President Leslie Hanks emailed me. “Congressman Coffman answered all our questions correctly to reflect he is a no exceptions pro life elected official who supports the personhood of the baby in the womb.”
What does “no exceptions” mean in the context of the survey?
“Babies are persons, not ‘exceptions,'” she emailed me. “No innocent baby should be punished for the crime of his or her father. If mom’s life is in danger, the doctor has two patients, and he should make every effort to save both. BTW, five of the Republican prez candidates have signed the PH pledge, so Mike is in good company.”
Gardner, whose office didn’t return a call, has been described by a leading personhood activist as a “main supporter,” and the Colorado Right to Life blog showers praise on him for being “100 percent pro-life.”
Colorado Right To Life describes Lamborn’s position this way: “Incumbent Republican Doug Lamborn has always been solid on life issues, and has co-sponsored Personhood legislation at the national level.”
Personhood USA Legal Analyst Gualberto Garcia Jones said he has no reason to believe his initiative will receive less support this time around than in 2010.
“I think a majority them [major candidates] supported us last time,” he said. “And most of them were elected. I think the highest profile ones, like Ken Buck, who did waver, were the ones that suffered because they still got punished by the Democrats, and they didn’t have the benefit of the support of the base.”
Garcia Jones welcomes an expected lawsuit from Planned Parenthood, trying to disqualify the ballot measure, because it motivates his base of supporters. “The only real concern for us was the fatigue of the base, and we rely on the base to get signatures,” he said. “So a lawsuit actually helps us. We’re not upset at being sued.”
State Senator Scott Renfroe, R-Greeley, who’s sponsored personhood legislation at the Capitol during his political career, said he supports the efforts to pass the personhood amendment in 2012.
“It’s never wrong to support life,” he said. “Science is showing more and more that life is present at the earliest stages. And we have to give it a chance to prosper in this country.”
Renfroe said he thinks a ballot initiative is the “proper place” to bring the issue up, as the state legislature should focus on “jobs and the economy.”
Asked whether he thought past personhood supporters, like Coffman and Gardner, would support the measure in 2012, Renfroe said, “I don’t know. You’d have to ask them.”
Jason Salzman runs the BigMedia blog.