The reelection campaign for Democratic U.S. Senator Mark Udall is tracking Colorado Congressman Cory Gardner’s relationship to personhood with a website launched today. The site asks “Is Cory Gardner still sponsoring personhood?” It’s a straightforward question but it’s one that’s shot-through with schadenfreude.
Gardner aims to unseat Udall in one of the nation’s top contests in the battle for control of the upper chamber on Capitol Hill. But Gardner is struggling.
The second-term Congressman, who represents Colorado’s rural and conservative Fourth District, famously reversed his longtime support for the anti-abortion personhood movement in March, a month after announcing he was running for Senate. Gardner was criticized as a flip-flopper. But he hadn’t performed even a full flip. He shuffle-stepped before he left the ground and tried to have it both ways. He said he didn’t support personhood… in Colorado. He made it known to his pro-life supporters that he was still an anti-abortion lawmaker. And he continues to support as a cosponsor a national personhood bill, the so-called Life at Conception Act.
When he finished this personhood routine, Gardner smiled and waved to the audience, but he had performed a half-flip, and a clumsy one at that. It made national headlines.
Personhood — the idea that life begins at conception and so fertilized eggs in the womb or out of the womb should be granted full rights and protections under the law — would outlaw abortion in all cases. It would infringe on the rights of pregnant women. It would outlaw forms of birth control. It would outlaw fertility treatments and hobble frontline fertility research being done in Colorado. The idea is deeply unpopular here, as it is around the country. Personhood proposals have lost in landslide votes at the ballot in Colorado in 2008 and 2010. Another version of the proposal failed to make the ballot in 2012. A new version will appear again on the ballot this year. Conservative Mississippi defeated a version of personhood in 2011.
Colorado is a pro-choice state and in statewide political races women’s health issues can decide an election.
“Is Gardner still sponsoring federal personhood legislation?” asks the website. “Yes,” it answers, the word set alongside a seal that says: “New ambitions! Same harmful position.”
The homepage text:
Three months after Congressman Cory Gardner’s calculated political maneuver on Personhood, it’s clear that his attempt to hide his true agenda from Coloradans has failed.
After trying to walk back his 8-year crusade for Personhood in Colorado, Gardner continues to support the federal Personhood bill in Congress.
The pain is not going to stop anytime soon for Gardner on personhood.