The statehouse in Jefferson City, Missouri, is a straight shot on I70 across Kansas from the statehouse in Denver, Colorado. It’s hundreds of miles away, but also maybe too close to Colorado today for Centennial State Republican candidates Cory Gardner and Bob Beauprez.
On Wednesday, Missouri GOP lawmakers used a rare procedural move to triple the wait times for Missouri women seeking abortions and to provide no exceptions for those whose pregnancies result from rape or incest, the Kansas City Star reports:[blockquote]After two hours of discussion, Republicans voted to cut off debate and force a vote. It then passed on a party-line vote, overriding Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto.
“Another 48 hours could very well be the difference between a life saved and a life ended,” said Sen. David Sater, a Republican who sponsored the bill. “Knowing that a life is at stake, this is the least we can do for these children.”[/blockquote]
The Missouri chapter of the ACLU said the move showcased big government at its worst.
“Tonight’s vote represents the latest intrusion of politicians into a woman’s private medical decisions,” ACLU Executive Director Jeffrey Mittman said. “This legislation was never about helping women, but instead is a way for some politicians in Jefferson City to pursue their own political agendas. It’s shameful and it risks women’s health.”
Colorado is a solid pro-choice state, an island amid pro-life conservative Great Plains and Western Republican-controlled states like Kansas, Wyoming and Utah. So U.S. Senate candidate Cory Gardner and gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez — Republican politicians running for statewide office here this year — have been attempting to play down their strong anti-abortion records on the stump. Congressman Gardner for a decade famously backed the hardline “personhood” movement as a lawmaker in Denver and on Capitol Hill only to reverse his position in March after announcing his Senate candidacy. He said he hadn’t realized that personhood laws that define life at conception and grant fertilized human eggs the full spectrum of legal rights could also outlaw common forms of contraception.
Gardner announced he wouldn’t be supporting this year’s Colorado personhood amendment and he has been touting his support for a proposal to make the birth control pill available without a prescription and over the counter.
Democrats are mocking Gardner as a transparent flip-flopper, pointing to his recent hardline votes in Washington for personhood and against Planned Parenthood and to redefine rape in order to reduce access to abortion. On the stump, in debate and with expensive advertising campaigns, Democrats and left-leaning groups are warning off Colorado voters from Republican candidates like Gardner whom they say rarely fail once in office to push the kind of measures passed in dramatic fashion in Jefferson City on Wednesday.
Digitized political ad campaign versions of the events at the Missouri Capitol may well find their way across Kansas and onto Colorado airwaves in less time than it would take to drive between Jefferson City and Denver.[ Image of a Jefferson City religious liberty rally by Lisa Johnston ]