Good News! June 16-23, 2017

(Because Lord knows we can use some – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

This was a hard week to write “Good News” for. Still, there was some.

Small victories, local heroes, sweet stories, random kindnesses, unexpected grace, cold justice served up on a hot plate…that’s what this diary is about. As always, your interpretation of what is “good news” is probably different than mine.

This week, it’s all about the heat, voters, immigrant rights, cannabis, and beer. Farmer’s markets. Buying local. No sports news, because the only sports I halfway understand are basketball and baseball. Anything else, I’m the one looking at you to see when to stand up and cheer.

Environmental / energy

It’s freaking hot in Colorado, especially on the western slope , down south, and in Denver, but the head of the EPA won’t say if climate change is a hoax, although his boss says it is.

Good news: It’s not as hot as Phoenix’s 119 degrees . Even AZ Sen. McCain thinks this global warming thing is the real deal.   Plastic mailboxes are melting in Arizona – it’s that hot.  (Photo from reddit, via Buzzfeed)

 

MacGregor Ranch is piloting a program to work closely with the NRCS to cut underbrush and mitigate wildfire risk, since it is so freaking hot in Colorado. Drought and wildfires are the two main hazards Colorado experiences from climate change. Here’s the video from the pilot project.

Virgin Mobile and several other big retailers are planning to conserve energy by running their trucking fleets more efficiently.

Coal India, the world’s largest coal mining company, will shut down 37 of its mines that are no longer economically viable. The lost energy will be replaced mainly with solar.

Clean energy jobs remain the fastest-growing employment sector in Colorado  – with 62,000 added last year.  65% of those jobs are in energy efficiency.   This all helps Colorado to have one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation at 2.3%.    Rates for youth under 24 were at 6%, and for Hispanics at 5%, still lower than most other states.

There’s still some good fishing around Colorado. Get’em while there’s still water enough to fish in.

And you can drive to your fishing spot on roads you won’t have to pay an extra tax on, per the Colorado Business Coalition. Amendment 267 passed, funding $3 Billion for road repair and maintenance; however, $10 billion was needed. Where will that come from?

The “Dog Days” are  approaching. If you see poor Puddles panting in a hot car, you can break in to save the pet – but not legally,  in Colorado, until August.

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Will Gardner slip by reporters again on Planned Parenthood?

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Sen. Cory Gardner (R).

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner built his political career in Colorado, and rallied grassroots Republican support, by opposing abortion, even for rape and incest. Part of that, of course, has meant that he’s opposed and vilified Planned Parenthood.

Now it appears that the Senate’s Obamacare-replacement legislation would remove federal funds for Planned Parenthood, just like the House version did.

And you’d expect Gardner to be fully on board with this.

After he voted to defund Planned Parenthood two years ago, Gardner said,

“We voted to take the money from Planned Parenthood and distribute it to the community health clinics around the state of Colorado,” Gardner told KNUS 710-AM’s Dan Caplis in 2015.

He said the move would provide “more access” to men and women across the state, even though many low-income woman want to go to Planned Parenthood clinics for specific and understandable reasons, like privacy, trust, and convenience.

And even though no federal funds are used for abortions at Planned Parenthood, the organization provides abortions. In contrast, community health centers don’t offer abortion services that many woman obviously want available at their clinic of choice in the year 2017.

But Gardner apparently doesn’t think women care. When confronted with his extreme anti-choice positions during the 2014 election, Gardner responded by saying Democrat Mark Udall was trying to “distract voters” from the real issues.

Now Gardner should face the same question from reporters. Does he think women in Colorado care about Planned Parenthood? About the U.S. Senate’s and the Republican Party’s assault on abortion rights?

Gardner may try to say his opposition to Planned Parenthood isn’t about opposition to Planned Parenthood, just like he tried to say, during his last election campaign, that his support of abortion-ban legislation wasn’t support for an abortion ban.

Despite heroic efforts by journalists to untangle Gardner’s wordpile on his support for an abortion ban, packaged at the time as “personhood,” Gardner got away with it. He’s Colorado’s Senator.

Will he slip by again on Planned Parenthood?

Good news! Week of June 11- 17, 2017

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Small victories, local heroes, sweet stories, random kindnesses, unexpected grace, cold justice served up on a hot plate…that’s what this diary is about. As always, your interpretation of what is “good news” is probably different than mine. And that’s fine. Something I’m missing? Add it in the comments.

LGBT:

Massive Marches may move us, but the  biggest and gayest parade this year in Colorado will be Pridefest, this Sunday June 18. Civic Center Park will host the celebration all weekend. For your daily minimum requirement of fabulousness, go to Pridefest Denver. (Photo from 2016 Pridefest, Wikipedia Commons)

Pridefest Denver 2016 -from Wikipedia commons

LGBT hero: One of the Capitol Police agents wounded in the recent terrorist attack in DC was Crystal Griner, a married lesbian woman. Griner and her fellow officers, including David Bailey , rushed the shooter, taking him down and preventing a massacre.

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Rep. Doug Lamborn: “Abortion Is Not Health Care”

Rep. Doug Lamborn (R).

As the Denver Post’s Jesse Paul reports, Rep. Doug Lamborn of Colorado Springs wants to make extra-super sure that the Senate’s forthcoming Obamacare repeal legislation doesn’t make anything easier on women who need abortions:

U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn, a Colorado Springs Republican, has penned a letter signed by 70 members of the U.S. House asking GOP leadership in the Senate to ensure “our pro-life priorities” are included in any health care legislation they draft to replace the Affordable Care Act.

“While there have been differences of opinion on the best way to fix our nation’s health care system,” the letter dated Wednesday says, “the pro-life majority in the House of Representatives has reached consensus that any health care legislation must abide by the overarching principle that abortion is not health care, and that therefore, elective abortion, abortion providers, and health plans that include elective abortion should not be subsidized.”

The request was addressed to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, as well as the chairs of the Senate budget, health and finance committees. Colorado’s other House Republicans — U.S. Reps. Mike Coffman, Ken Buck and Scott Tipton — did not sign the letter.

Lamborn’s sweeping statement that “abortion is not health care” will come as news to the thousands of women in the United States every year who have medically necessary abortions, some of whose lives are saved via the procedure. And even in the case of abortions entirely for a woman’s personal reasons–how is that not “health care,” every bit as much as elective surgeries of all kinds and (yes) Viagra are “health care?” Perhaps vasectomies should be relegated to the back alley too?

Look, we get what Lamborn is trying to say here, but his choice of words betrays a fundamental ignorance about what he’s discussing. In Lamborn’s case that’s no accident, though it’s a useful window into the minds of dogmatic abortion rights opponents.

Minds that close in the presence of undesired context.

Good News! Week of June 3-June 10

(Get More…Gooder! – promoted by Colorado Pols)

This diary, which I hope to publish every Friday, will be all about small victories in the big battles: People doing the right thing for the right reasons. Stories of bravery, generosity, caring, and integrity. Where possible, I’ve connected this to Colorado politics and stories.

This is a selfish project for me – I need to see those small victories and uplifting stories just to keep going as an activist. Without them, it’s too easy to be overwhelmed by the flood of bad news and attacks on democracy and civil rights, and simply stop trying to keep politicians accountable.

There are many “good news” items I haven’t covered; more possible categories for good news are: Race, discrimination, justice, bizarre news, animals, marches, town halls, community organizing, “the resistance”. Where another organization such as ProgressNow Colorado reports on “How to fight back this week”, I’m not going to duplicate coverage. As always, add your own “good news” stories and commentary.

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University still won’t buy fetal tissue from companies “implicated” Planned Parenthood “investigation”

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Rep. Doug Lamborn.

Two years ago, anti-abortion activists released undercover videos that showed Planned Parenthood officials discussing their program that provides fetal tissue, donated by women who have an abortion or miscarriage, for use in medical research.

In the wake of the release of the highly-edited videos, U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO) released documents showing that Colorado State University (CSU) had possibly obtained fetal tissue indirectly from Planned Parenthood, and the university suspended the purchase of such tissue from all suppliers “implicated in the Planned Parenthood investigation pending the outcome of the Congressional investigation.”

Now, about two years later, CSU’s policy is still in place, even though Congressional investigations of Planned Parenthood have stalled or ended and there’s been no proof of wrongdoing or lawbreaking by Planned Parenthood.

CSU’s suspension of purchases from certain fetal-tissue suppliers hasn’t been lifted because “there is no practical need to readdress it,” according CSU spokesman Mike Hooker.

Hooker says the university’s research with fetal tissue has continued “uninterrupted” since 2015, using ADM as its supplier.

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Yes, (Some) GOP Senators Did Something Objectively Good

Rep. Lois Landgraf (R) and Rep. Brittany Pettersen (D) celebrate passage of HB17-1186 in the House.

Colorado Capitol observers are still getting their collective heads around a fairly surprising development in the Republican-controlled Colorado Senate: House Bill 17-1186, a bill requiring insurers to cover dispensing 12 months worth of contraceptives to women with insurance coverage, has passed the chamber and is now awaiting Gov. John Hickenlooper’s signature. Similar legislation died in committee in the Senate last year–but with bipartisan sponsorship this session, Colorado Senate GOP leadership not only let the bill go to the floor but celebrated its passage out of the Senate’s “kill committee” in a press release:

Republican Bill Guaranteeing Women’s Health Care Passes Committee

House Bill 17-1186 asks health insurers that are required under current law to provide contraception coverage to extend coverage to provide 12-month’s worth of oral contraceptives for a woman with a prescription…

Reducing barriers to health care for women, and improving access to contraception improves the overall health and well-being of Colorado,” said Coram. “Women’s health care needs require near-constant attention and lifelong commitments. In rural Colorado, the nearest pharmacy can be an hour away and frequent trips are not a reality many Coloradans can afford. Today, we helped improve access for those who need it most, and took a crucial step in decreasing the number of unwanted pregnancies, and the associated repercussions in Colorado.”

After this “Republican” bill passed Senate State Affairs, Planned Parenthood Votes Colorado sang its praises:

“This is an incredible step toward for women and families. It means fewer trips to the pharmacy for people with busy lives or who live in rural areas with longer travel times. It also will result in reducing the number of unintended pregnancies, with a longer reliable supply of birth control. It just gives more stability to women and gives families’ ability to plan their lives,” said Sarah Taylor-Nanista, Vice President of Public Affairs of Planned Parenthood Votes Colorado.

The bill’s final vote in the Senate before heading to the Governor’s desk was 22-11–while certainly not a majority of the Republican Senate caucus, a much healthier margin than many expected. In large part this can be attributed to the work of Sen. Don Coram in the Senate, winning swingable votes on policy by explaining how supporting this measure would also be good politics.

For those of you looking for a “but,” or a last-minute twist that allows for a clean partisan vilification, in the case of House Bill 17-1186 there isn’t one. What happened here was an objectively good thing; reasonable bipartisan cooperation on an issue that hasn’t seen nearly enough bipartisanship. Republicans who supported it can feel good morally and politically, while Democrats achieved a long-sought policy victory for women.

American politics need more stories like this. Many more.

Huge Gardner Protest Makes For Yuge “#DefundPP” Day Backfire

Yesterday was supposed to have been a nationwide day of protest by pro-life conservatives, answering the weeks of massive demonstrations against the new Trump administration and GOP-controlled Congress’ agenda on that and many other issues with their own call to strip Planned Parenthood of federal funding.

But as the Denver Post’s Danika Worthington reports, that’s not how it played out in the Mile High City:

In the morning, more than a hundred people gathered outside Planned Parenthood Rocky Mountain headquarters in east Denver to call for the government to defund the health care service.

They held signs that read “Planned Parenthood lies to you” and “Stop abortion now.” This was one of about 200 protests scheduled across the country.

Then later in the day, more than a thousand rallied outside Republican Sen. Cory Gardner’s Denver office to support funding Planned Parenthood [Pols emphasis] while holding their own variety of signs, including “Girls just want to have fun-ding” and “Nevertheless, she persisted” while chanting “My body, my choice” and “Not the church, not the state, women will decide their fate.”

The estimates we’ve heard for yesterday’s rally outside Sen. Cory Gardner’s office in downtown Denver are all in the thousands. The crowd once again filled downtown Denver’s Skyline Park from 17th to 18th Streets, with more waving signs from adjacent street corners. Attendees lined up to hand-write letters to Sen. Gardner to be delivered this week by protest organizers, noting their local address and unpaid protester status:

One of the high points of yesterday’s rally was state Sen. Rachel Zenzinger of Arvada, reading the satirical pseudo-children’s book See Joan Run to the delight of thousands of rallygoers:

Bob says, “There are too many Dicks in office.”

In the end, the anti-abortion rally outside Planned Parenthood wasn’t completely squelched by the much larger protest to save Planned Parenthood, as evidenced with the news headlines that virtually all talk about the “dueling protests.” But the underlying fact that at least ten times as many people turned out in favor of Planned Parenthood as turned out against the organization, and probably a much higher ratio, cannot be considered anything but another major defeat for the anti-abortion movement–in one of the nation’s most pro-choice states.

In Colorado, #DefundPP was more than a bust. It was a backfire.

The fact that the rally to save Planned Parenthood was held outside Sen. Gardner’s offices also illustrates the growing political threat these actions represent to Republican elected officials here and around the country. Whether Gardner likes it or not–and we suspect he doesn’t like it one bit–he has become the local vessel into which the public is pouring its anger over the GOP’s and Trump administration’s agenda. Gardner’s infamous flip-flops and evasions on the abortion issue in particular on the campaign trail in 2014 have not been forgotten, and stand today as huge liabilities he has made no effort to resolve.

These few short weeks of upheaval cannot tell us what 2020, which is Gardner’s and Trump’s next election, will look like. But if Cory Gardner continues to dismiss what is happening outside his office as the work of “paid protesters” and liberal donor usual suspects?

There is a scenario in which it goes very badly for him.

Late-Night Hearing on Abortion Bills: Majorities Matter

The Durango Herald’s Luke Perkins reports on the long, drawn-out death last night in the Colorado House Health, Insurance and Environment Committee of Republican-sponsored bills to restrict abortion rights–bills that were always going to die in the Democratic-controlled House, but highlight the new threat to abortion rights from a federal government more hostile than ever to them:

House Bill 1086, which would mandate providing women information about ways to reverse chemical abortions, was heard by the House Health, Insurance and Environment Committee.

After nearly five hours of testimony, the bill died on a 6-5 party-line vote, with Democrats disputing the viability of research backing the reversal option.

Rep. Susan Lontine, D-Denver, said the lack of scientific support was a serious obstacle for mandating that information. “We searched for data supporting this, and the only thing we could find was a case study that had six cases in it,” Lontine said.

The “abortion reversal” push is a relatively new attempt to shoehorn in obstructions to abortion rights, and if anything has even less scientific backing than the usual fare:

In recent years, the rise of medical abortion has led some anti-abortion activists and lawmakers to claim that the process can be reversed with an emergency treatment after the first pill. But even if they succeed at turning that myth into law, the truth is that science is not on their side…

It is impossible to find reliable sources for the notion that medical abortions can be reversed. The Louisiana bill’s sponsor, Rep. Frank Hoffman, told WWL that he heard about it from George Delgado, the medical director of an organization called Abortion Pill Reversal (APR), at a Right to Life Conference in New Orleans.

Obviously, to institute a legal requirement regarding a medical procedure with so little medical basis is extremely bad policymaking. Even the unscientific studies put forward in support of the idea only indicate a fraction of such “reversals” are successful, and the procedure could itself be dangerous to a woman’s health.

And as Perkins continues the action didn’t stop there:

In addition to H.B. 1086, House bills 1085 and 1108 were also scheduled to be heard Thursday. H.B. 1085 requires facilities that offer abortions to file registration forms with the attorney general of Colorado, detailing how many procedures they have performed and a list of all the doctors who performed abortions at the facility. H.B. 1108 makes the termination of an unborn child a Class 1 felony.

Abortion registrations, and a simple bill to make abortion a felony. The latter bill we’ve seen more or less yearly in the Colorado legislature. Generally we have regarded this legislation as much more damaging to the Republican brand with moderate voters than it was ever worth in terms of motivating the pro-life base to support Republican candidates.

What’s different this year? In Colorado, not much. Our state’s Democratic House majority and Democratic governor are a solid bulwark against these kinds of abortion restriction bills passing into law here. But Coloradans can no longer ignore the fact that hundreds of similar restrictions have passed in state legislatures throughout the country.

As for the DOA abortion felony bill, it’s meant to be a vehicle for a state challenge to the landmark Roe v. Wade decision establishing abortion rights once and for all. Before Donald Trump became President on a promise to see Roe repealed, this was little more than a remote and hypothetical threat–something you could imagine, but not reasonably consider possible based on political reality.

Well, folks? Notwithstanding Colorado, that political reality has changed. Now we have a U.S. Supreme Court rapidly tilting right, the most anti-abortion Congress and Executive Branch in modern history, and state legislatures controlled by Republicans across the nation ready to serve as guinea pigs.

In short, the abortion rights Coloradans have taken for granted for decades have never been more in danger–and every election, state and federal, should be considered a last line of defense.

Gardner dodges question about whether he discussed Roe with Gorsuch

(Roe v. Wade? What’s that? – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Sen. Cory Gardner (R).

Asked by a conservative talk-radio host whether U.S. Senators have private discussions with U.S Supreme Court nominees about cases like Roe v. Wade, U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) said Thursday they “absolutely occur,” but Gardner dodged a follow-up question about whether he’d discussed Roe with Neil Gorsuch, President Donald Trump’s high court nominee.

Gardner also said on air that he was told by a staffer that Gorsuch had written on Roe v. Wade. But no such opinion appears to exist.

“Did you have that conversation with Judge Gorsuch, ‘Hey, what’s your view of Roe v. Wade?'” asked KNUS 710-AM talk-show host Dan Caplis, when Gardner was on his show Thursday (at 6 min below).

“We had conversations about precedents of the Court,” replied Gardner, dodging the question. “And this is something I’m sure that there will be more attention to paid in the days coming.”

Gardner told Caplis he met with Gorsuch for an hour Wednesday and that a staffer at the meeting told Gardner that Gorsuch had written on Roe v. Wade.

“I think he’s written on it, that that decision is precedent already,” said Gardner on air. “I’d have to get the case. I can’t remember the name of the case that he brought before me. That was brought up by one of the staff that were in the meeting about a case where he has written in regard to Roe v. Wade.

“Does [Gorsuch] consider Roe v. Wade to be settled law, which at this point is not subject to being overturned?” Caplis asked Gardner.

Again, Gardner dodged the question saying, “You know, I’d have to look at the opinion, because I think he’s written [one], and I don’t want to put words in his mouth, when he’s already written on it. So it would probably be best, Dan, if we both read into it a little bit, read the opinion, and see what it said.”

The Colorado Times Recorder found no cases in which Gorsuch wrote an opinion on Roe v. Wade. ThinkProgress reported Jan. 31:

…while Gorsuch has never ruled directly on the viability of Roe v. Wade, he wrote a 2009 book, entitled The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia, that is heavy with the kind of political rhetoric opponents of abortion deploy in the battle over reproductive choice. “Human life is fundamentally and inherently valuable,” Gorsuch wrote in his book, adding that “the intentional taking of human life by private persons is always wrong.”

As Ed Whelan, a former law clerk to Justice Scalia who writes frequently on the courts puts it, “Gee, might that principle have any application to abortion?

Gardner was unreachable for comment or to answer the question of why he’d been apparently misinformed on Gorsuch’s past opinions on Roe. Phone calls to his DC office were received with, “I’m sorry, extension 5941 is on the phone.” Recently, Gardner accused “paid protesters” of flooding his phone lines with calls.

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Quick! Throw Some Cold Water on Sen. Kevin Lundberg

Sen. Kevin Lundberg

Nothing gets state Sen. Kevin Lundberg (R-Berthoud) frothing at the mouth like “abortion.” Just say the word within earshot, and Lundberg reacts like Pavlov’s dog. You can practically see the ripples of electrical activity inside that ham sandwich between his ears.

Unfortunately for the rest of us, Sen. Lundberg is a member of the powerful and important Joint Budget Committee (JBC), a seat from where he’s happy to waste time on pointless discussions of imaginary abortion-related problems. As Lundberg happily explained to constituents via an email newsletter this week, he took the opportunity during a Jan. 25 JBC meeting to voice his opposition to funding school clinics because of some mysterious belief that school “nurses” might be referring sick kids to abortion providers. From Lundberg’s newsletter, dated Feb. 1:

During a Joint Budget Committee hearing several weeks ago I asked the Colorado Department of Education a question they found rather uncomfortable.  The Department was asking for additional funding for school clinics. In the description of school clinics it stated that they primarily provide referral services for medical care. [Pols emphasis] 

The question was: “do school clinics ever refer students to abortion clinics?” The Department said they do not know. My next question was what policy they have in place concerning this issue. Weeks later they essentially admitted they have no policy.

I asked this because the Colorado Constitution (Article V Section 50) prohibits any state funds from being used directly or indirectly for abortions. Referring a student to an abortion clinic is indirectly participating in the abortion.

Sen. Kevin Lundberg’s most recent constituent email update.

Maybe Lundberg has uncovered some vast new conspiracy.

Or…or maybe the Department of Education doesn’t actually have a formal policy that their school clinics are forbidden from referring children for abortions because why would they??? 

We went back to the recordings of the JBC meetings on Jan. 25 so we could hear Lundberg’s concerns firsthand. Here’s the play-by-play:

Sen. Lundberg: “I, consequently, will not vote for any funding or any reimbursement for funding … until their policy is clearly in coordination with the colorado Constitution [regarding abortion]…”

Rep. Young: “…this is for children with disabilities… some were wheelchair bound and needed transfers just for basic care…”

Sen. Lundberg: “Thats why it is important to be cleared up. I believe they need to act on this. I dont believe we should move forward with any funding or reimbursement of funding until they do the right thing.”

And finally, Lundberg’s closing statement:

“Until I see substantive evidence that they have a policy that says we dont go down the road of indirect funding for abortions … until that occurs, I dont see any reason for additional funding coming in any way.”

So…until we can assure Sen. Lundberg that school clinics are not recommending abortions to students, he cannot in good conscience approve any increased funding for children with disabilities.

Got it?

NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado Launches thepriceiswrong.org Opposing Trump’s HHS nominee

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado Launches New Grassroots Effort Opposing Trump HHS Nominee Tom Price:

thepriceiswrong.org”

Denver – NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado, the political voice of the pro-choice movement, is launching a new grassroots effort to let legislators, the media, and Colorado’s pro-choice majority know that when it comes to women’s health, The Price Is Wrong. Trump has nominated anti-choice, anti-abortion rights Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga) to a Cabinet post to be Secretary for the Department of Health and Human Services.

thepriceiswrong.org website will be collecting women’s stories and sending their objections to Price’s nomination to Colorado’s U.S. Senators Cory Gardner (R) and Michael Bennet (D).

“Frankly, Tom Price’s views are so backwards we wonder what century he thinks he’s living in – because it sure doesn’t bear any relation to the needs of women in this state and this country in 2016,” said NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado Executive Director Karen Middleton. “He’s supported Personhood bills giving full legal rights to fertilized eggs – the same Personhood language Colorado voters have repeatedly rejected at the ballot box. And he’s been a vocal opponent of birth control access, including the types of birth control that cut the unintended pregnancy rate here in Colorado.

But here’s the jaw-dropper: Tom Price has said he’s never met a woman who can’t afford birth control. This will come as news to women who have struggled to pay for a $1600 IUD or a year’s worth of birth control.

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Republicans plan to defund Planned Parenthood as part of Obamacare repeal, but activists promise to “fight like hell”

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

The director of Planned Parenthood in Colorado said yesterday her organization will “fight like hell” against plans by Republicans, announced by U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), to de-fund Planned Parenthood as part of the bill to repeal Obamacare.

“Defunding Planned Parenthood is bad for the people of Colorado, New Mexico, Southern Nevada and Wyoming, and would result in a self-inflicted public health crisis,” said Vicki Cowart, President of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, in a statement.

“Women and men will not let politicians play games with their health care,” she said. “We will work alongside other Planned Parenthood affiliates and our coalition partners across the country to fight like hell against this.”

To try to stop the Republicans de-funding efforts, which are part of the bill to repeal Obamacare, Planned Parenthood has launched a campaign called #IStandWithPlannedParenthood. It includes events across the country, a petition, political action, and other activities.

Planned Parenthood funding has long been a target of Republicans, who are upset that the organization offers abortion services, even though federal funds cannot be used by law to provide abortion.

U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman, for example, has voted six times to defund the organization over the years. But probably due to the fact that a large majority of women have a favorable view of Planned Parenthood, Coffman has also tried to market himself as a friend of Planned Parenthood, even presenting the organizations logo in a campaign ad.

But with Republicans about to control Congress and the White House, political observers say Planned Parenthood is at serious risk of losing some $400 million in federal funds, mostly from Medicaid, the healthcare program for the poor. At least one Republican Senator, Susan Collins of Maine, has objected to Planned Parenthood defunding in the past.

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Support Planned Parenthood: and say NO to anti-choice pretenders

First of all, thanks to everyone who has pledged their support to ProgressNow Colorado Education for Colorado Gives Day next Tuesday, December 6th! We’re grateful for your help as we fight for progressive solutions to the challenges our state faces.

Today, I want to talk to you about Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains–another critical progressive voice in Colorado that needs your support. Planned Parenthood is also participating in Colorado Gives Day, and we at ProgressNow Colorado Education urge you to donate in support of their work as well.

Because sadly, there are other groups participating in Colorado Gives Day who aren’t there to help women in need. Groups that work to deceive women, and take away the choices they have over their own health and lives. So-called “crisis pregnancy centers” like Colorado’s deceptively-named “Pregnancy Resource Connection” openly boast of their mission to deceive women looking for help from Planned Parenthood, and mislead women about their options.

It is more important now than ever that we stand up for Planned Parenthood and fight back against these anti-choice pretenders. We know that abortion rights are in greater danger today than at any time since the landmark Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision–a decision the next President has vowed to see overturned.

In Colorado, the way to do that right now is to schedule a Colorado Gives Day donation to Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains. In the coming months, the fight to protect abortion rights will rage like nothing we’ve seen in a generation–and Planned Parenthood has to be ready for it.

Thanks for everything you do to stand for our shared progressive values and the organizations that fight for them. Your support matters more than ever today.

Uncertainty Marks Planned Parenthood Terror Attack Anniversary

komen-planned-parenthood4-1The Colorado Springs Gazette ran a number of stories over the holiday weekend commemorating the one-year anniversary of the mass shooting at the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood clinic on Black Friday 2015 that changed much–and yet changed nothing at all–about the raging debate over abortion rights in America:

Many…involved in the Black Friday attacks – victims, witnesses, survivors – don’t wish to speak. The relatives of those slain – Jennifer Markovsky, Ke’Arre Stewart and University of Colorado at Colorado Springs police officer Garrett Swasey – turned down interview requests by The Gazette.

Two-dozen officers have since been awarded the department’s Medal of Honor, its highest commendation for bravery. They include Mike Zamonas, the Colorado Springs police officer who lost a finger in the shooting. Dozens more received the Medal of Valor and Distinguished Service Award.

At the Police Foundation of Colorado Springs’ annual Medal of Valor observance this month, the pain and weight of what happened were palpable. The officers hugged each other, and their eyes welled.

Confessed Planned Parenthood domestic terrorist Robert Dear has not faced trial for the murders committed that day due to being ruled mentally incompetent to stand trial. Karen Middleton of NARAL Pro Choice Colorado says that’s a mistake:

Karen Middleton heads NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado which is part of a coalition with Planned Parenthood. She feels the admitted killer is competent and his actions amounted to domestic terrorism.

“He planned it, made a vest, made propane, all sorts of things are premeditated and I think he should be standing trial,” she said.

The attack on the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood clinic occurred after almost a full year of false claims that the organization was involved in the sale of “baby body parts”–a sensationalized reference to longstanding fetal tissue donation programs for medical research the organization had participated in with patients who voluntarily consented. Those false claims were repeated by too many Republican politicians at the state and national levels to mention them all, but after Dear admitted he attacked the clinic to stop the flow of “baby parts” these claims tapered off–at least for awhile.

In Colorado, at least two Republican state lawmakers lost their seats as a result of regrettable on-record comments about the Planned Parenthood attack: Rep. Kit Roupe who falsely claimed the shooting was a “robbery gone wild,” and Rep. JoAnn Windholz, who outright blamed Planned Parenthood for the violence committed against the organization.

But apart from those two directly attributable election defeats it’s hard to find negative consequences for Republican anti-choice politicians, despite a reasonable argument that they helped provoke Robert Dear’s terrorism. From the Colorado legislature to Congress, anti-choice politicians who rode the fact-free “baby body parts” moral panic to prominence in 2015 did not suffer at the polls in 2016. In fact, their power grew in Congress and in state houses across the nation. The witch-hunt investigations continue. And despite all the election-year assurances that abortion rights were “settled law,” a man who has vowed to overturn Roe v. Wade has been elected President.

And so a year later, we’re obliged to conclude with dismay that the Planned Parenthood terrorist has won.

Or at the very least, he has not lost.