Republican candidate for governor Bob Beauprez in debate with Gov. John Hickenlooper last night went on a mini-I’ll repeal it! tear: He said he’d get rid of a new public safety law that makes legal drivers licenses available to undocumented residents and that he’d end a state teen-contraception program that has lowered school-age pregnancy rates and abortions by record percentages.
Why make it possible for undocumented residents to get drivers licenses? Hickenlooper said that people who are here illegally are driving and will continue to drive and that issuing them licenses moves them onto the books and provides them incentive to obey the rules of the road without fear. That means incentive to remain at the scene of an accident, for example.
Beauprez said he would repeal the law and work instead to solve the root problem of nation-wide illegal immigration.
The exchange mirrored an exchange on the state’s privately funded longterm contraception program.
Hickenlooper noted that former Congressman Beauprez is a pro-life Catholic who has voted to end abortion in the past. Then he asked whether, if elected, he would end the Colorado Family Planning Initiative.
That initiative, Hickenlooper explained, provides free implant and IUD contraception and has lowered the Colorado teen pregnancy rate by 40 percent in some counties (the largest drop in the country) and the abortion rate in the same population by 35 percent.
Beauprez said he couldn’t support the program because he believes life begins at conception, that he doesn’t support public funding for “abortifacient” contraception and that IUDs are abortifacients.
As advocacy groups have been pointing out since even before the debate ended last night, Beauprez was offering ideological answers to practical questions.
It’s unlikely a governor of Colorado is going to succeed at significantly tamping down illegal immigration any time soon or at preventing undocumented Coloradans from driving.
And ending the Colorado Family Planning Initiative on faulty science is a clear misstep, argued Planned Parenthood Votes Colorado.
“The fact is the IUD is not an abortifacient. These comments illustrate how little Bob Beauprez really understands about women’s health,” the group said in a release. “The IUD prevents fertilization and is proven to be one of the most reliable methods to prevent pregnancy… With access to more reliable methods of birth control in Colorado, low-income teens have the opportunity to escape poverty, which befalls so many teen mothers. These young women can now focus on their education and careers, and with reliable birth control, wait until they are truly ready to start their family.”