Anti-choice Leaders Are Angry about a Pregnancy Prevention Program that’s Lowered Teen Abortion Rate by 64 Percent

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

IUD.

Colorado officials and pro-abortion advocates are ecstatic over new statistics showing that the teen abortion rate has dropped 64 percent in Colorado over eight years, due mostly to a state-run program offering free or low-cost intrauterine devices (IUDs) and implants to women. Teen pregnancies are down 54 percent.

As I reported in a Rewire post today, both statistics are in line with previously reported results from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s (CDPHE) family planning initiative. From Rewire:

The figures are a continuation and improvement on impressive results, but state officials were particularly excited about an independent study, conducted this year by the University of Colorado, confirming the state’s family planning initiative potentially saved state and federal programs more than $65 million in labor and delivery costs, other health care, food stamps, and other assistance for women and families from 2009 through 2015.

“This is one of the biggest public-health home runs that I’ve seen in my 35-year public-health career,” Dr. John Douglas, director of the Tri-County Health Department, which has six clinics in three Colorado counties, told The Denver Post. “The work that’s happened is really striking.”

Democratic state lawmakers, who protected state funding for the program from GOP attacks, would likely agree, as would at least one Republican, State Sen. Don Coram of Durango.

But most Republican lawmakers, as well as anti-choice activists, greeted the news with dismay, despite the drop in the abortion rate. That’s because they think the birth control used in the program causes fertilized eggs, also called zygotes, to be destroyed.

(more…)

Coffman denies that she’s pro-choice

(Schrödinger’s choice? – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Attorney General Cynthia Coffman

Apparently contradicting her spokesperson’s statement to CBS4 political specialist Shaun Boyd, gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Coffman told a radio station last week that, in fact, she’s not pro-choice and refuses to “accept a label” on the abortion issue.

The abortion topic came up on Fox News Radio, KCOL, after guest host Karen Kataline asked Coffman directly about Boyd’s report that Coffman is pro-choice and pro-gay rights, a statement her campaign did not want Boyd to correct.

“Shaun didn’t ask me about that,” Coffman replied. “So, I was surprised as most people to hear that.”

Pressed by Kataline about whether she said she was pro-choice when she ran for her current position of Colorado attorney general, Coffman said:

Coffman: No! No, I didn’t. I refused to accept a label. And I still do, because I — like many people, I think have opinions about this complicated issue that are somewhere not on either end of the spectrum. I personally would not choose abortion. I would choose life. But I also believe that this is settled law from the United States Supreme Court. And unless that law changes at some point, we have to follow it. Because we are a rule-of-the-law nation. And that’s what my position is, as Attorney General, and would be as Governor.

Boyd’s initial report that Coffman is pro-choice drew an angry response from conservative talk radio hosts, leading KNUS’ Dan Caplis to say she wouldn’t have been elected AG if she’d come out as pro-choice.

Asked if she did not support the Obamacare repeal, Coffman said, “No. I didn’t even take a position publicly.”

“We need to fix Obamacare,” she said. “People are extraordinarily frustrated, as am I, with Congress, and particularly with the United States Senate, that they are unable after all this time talking about it to come up with a plan that they can get a majority vote on.”

Elsewhere in the KCOL interview, Coffman said her GOP primary opponent Tom Tancredo “goes too far” in an “effort to get people’s attention.”

Coffman described Tancredo as “entertaining” but not “constructive” and “not what people want; people want a serious candidate who will talk about all the issues.”

“This is not a single issue campaign,” said Coffman, saying Tancredo has picked “a few issues” issues to run on.

Coffman said she’d made her decision to join the GOP gubernatorial primary before Tancredo entered the race Nov. 1.

Coffman’s abortion position is similar to that of former State Sen. Ellen Roberts (R-Durango) who began her potential campaign for U.S. Senate in 2015 by telling a radio station she’d never been pro-choice but was forced to correct her statement once a video emerged of Roberts calling herself a pro-choice Republican.

“I’ve never called myself pro-choice as a politician,” said Roberts at the time. “What I found out, early on, was I supported parental notification in the instance of an underage girl having an abortion. So, when I supported that, and I still support that, I found from those who are pro-choice advocates that no longer made me pro-choice. And I was surprised. I didn’t know that there were slices to what made a person one thing or another.”

Roberts later withdrew her name from consideration for the GOP Senate nomination.

Listen to Coffman on KCOL Nov. 22 here:

Anti-Choice Group Wants Potential Fathers To Have a Say In a Woman’s Abortion Decision

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Colorado Campaign for Life, a statewide anti-abortion group, is promoting a Facebook meme with a photo of a man kissing a baby along with the text, “Her ‘Choice’ is actually My Child.”

Colorado Campaign for Life’s Director Christy Rodriguez said the meme’s message is two-fold, first, that the word “choice,” as someone who’s pro-abortion would use it, is actually a “child” and, second, that a potential father should have a say in a woman’s decision whether to have an abortion.

“It’s a child, not a choice,” said Rodriguez. “The word ‘choice’ is covering a child, whether it’s a man’s child, a woman’s child, somebody’s grandchild. Calling it a choice doesn’t negate the fact that it’s a child.”

“It takes a man and a woman to have a baby,” continued Rodriquez. “We’re talking about men who have come to the Capitol and testified, ‘Hey, I said I would have paid for this child. I said I would take the baby off her hands. I said I would raise the child, and she insisted on having an abortion.’ A man really has no say in a child’s life until after it’s born.”

“A man should have a say in his child’s life before his child’s life has ended,” she said.

Asked to respond to the Colorado Campaign for Life meme, Karen Middleton, director of NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado, called it “insulting and pointless.”

“Men don’t own women or their bodies, and the choice of whether or not to continue a pregnancy belongs to the woman,” said Middleton via email. “End of discussion.”

It’s unclear how much support there is in Colorado for the notion that men should have some sort of say, possibly legal standing, when it comes to a woman’s decision whether to have an abortion. Such provisions would violate federal abortion-rights protections as currently interpreted by the U.S. Supreme Court.

(more…)

Victor Mitchell Hits Cynthia Coffman on Abortion

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Republican gubernatorial candidate Victor Mitchell stated on Facebook that the Colorado Republican Party “should nominate pro-life candidates” and to do “otherwise is to abandon our values.”

Mitchell’s comment on Facebook came in response to a news report Friday that Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman, who’s also running for the GP gubernatorial nomination, is pro-choice.

The report, by CBS4 political specialist Shaun Boyd, prompted KNUS radio host Dan Caplis to denounce Coffman and to speculate that she lied about her pro-choice stance during her campaign for attorney general.

Caplis’ hostility reflects the opinion of what appears to be a sizable segment of GOP voters who participate in primary elections. Their position on the abortion issue precludes many pro-choice Republicans from running at all.

In fact, one pro-choice Republican, Ellen Roberts, dropped out of consideration for the U.S. Senate race in 2015 after denying that she’d described herself as pro-choice, when in fact she had done so on the floor of the Colorado Senate.

In taking a pro-choice stance, Coffman could be targeting an unknown number of unaffiliated voters who could participate in this year’s Republican primary. But in doing so, she risks alienating anti-abortion Republicans, who’ve demonstrated their grassroots abilities to push much of their agenda into the GOP platform in Colorado and who’ve seen it adopted by most GOP elected leaders here.

Colorado to HHS: #HandsOffMyBC

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)


Sen. Don Coram (R-Montrose) speaks at the Denver #HandsOffMyBC rally.

Coloradans filled the streets in downtown Denver today as part of rallies in numerous major cities across the nation in opposition to the recent decision by the Department of Health and Human Services to allow almost any employer to eliminate contraceptives from employee health coverage. ProgressNow Colorado, the state’s largest online progressive advocacy organization, joined with NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado, Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, the Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights (COLOR), the American Civil Liberties Union, the Interfaith Alliance, Indivisible Denver, Indivisible Front Range Resistance, New Era Colorado, C.A.P.E. Denver, Together We Will, concerned residents, and elected officials on both sides of the aisle to rescind this order and ensure women stay covered.

“Men and women, Republicans and Democrats, communities of faith from across Colorado all say with one voice that access to birth control is off limits to cynical DC political games,” said Sen. Kerry Donovan of Vail. “Contraceptive coverage as mandated by the Affordable Care Act has helped to reduce the rate of unintended pregnancy in Colorado and throughout the nation. The public health benefits of contraceptive coverage have been proven again and again, but more importantly, people have a fundamental right to access contraception within the health coverage they already pay for.”

“Since the beginning of this new administration, American lives have been at stake,” said Rev. Tammy Garrett-Williams. “The Affordable Healthcare Act otherwise known as Obamacare has been threatened from every angle. Now we’re here to defend women and teen girls who are being affected by taking away basic care when it comes to prevention of unplanned pregnancies. There is no mention of abortion in our Bible anywhere, but there is clear reference to not judging another person—spoken specifically by Jesus. This decision takes a judgmental action by implying that women are not capable of making decisions with their own bodies. This decision will cause more problems by increasing unwanted pregnancies and abortions. Take your hands off our birth control!”

“Increasing access to reproductive health care means access to birth control,” said Adrienne Mansanares of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains. “It is unconscionable that a woman’s decision to access birth control can now be made for her by her boss. This is a message to American women that they can’t be trusted to make their own health care decisions, and must get permission from an authority figure first. Nothing should come between women and the health care they need.”

“Colorado is an incredible success story when it comes to reducing the rate of unintended pregnancy through access to contraceptives,” said Taylor Holden of ProgressNow Colorado. “Part of that success has been the requirement that employers offer contraceptive coverage as part of every insurance plan. We know from experience in Colorado that having access to birth control leads to better planning, happier children, and stronger families. We’re calling on HHS to immediately rescind the new policy allowing almost any employer to end contraceptive coverage. Colorado knows what success looks like, and we don’t want this.”

For more information on today’s rally in Denver and other major cities across the nation, click here.

Tax Cuts For The Rich With Personhood on the Side!

Call it an un-reversal.

Yet another flashpoint in the debate over tax “reform” legislation passed by the U.S. House last week, which cuts tax rates and spikes the budget deficit by $1.5 trillion or more along with the eliminating a number of targeted tax credits, is a provision that apparently tries once against to establish legal rights for fetuses–another so-called “personhood” provision that could, supporters hope against hope, pry open a path to banning abortion. Rewire:

Page 93 of the 429-page plan, which a Washington Post analysis describes as rewarding big corporations and the “super-rich” at the expense of some small businesses, the working poor, and charities, outlines the GOP’s plan to designate “unborn children” as beneficiaries in 529 college savings plans.

The change appears to be politically motivated. Expectant parents already can put a 529 plan in their own name and switch the beneficiary when their child is born. That’s because 529 plans require the beneficiary’s social security number, which fetuses don’t have… [Pols emphasis]

The Republican plan provides fetuses with the federal benefits by saying that “nothing shall prevent an unborn child from being treated as a designated beneficiary or an individual.” The section of their tax plan goes on to define “unborn child” as a “child in utero”—”a member of the species homo sapiens, at any stage of development, who is carried in the womb.’’

The phrase “at any stage of development” dovetails with the GOP’s escalating anti-choice agenda under President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence. Republicans on Capitol Hill are behind deeply unpopular “personhood” bills that try to classify fertilized eggs, zygotes, embryos, and fetuses as “persons,” and to grant them full legal protection under the U.S. Constitution, including the right to life from the moment of conception. The personhood laws would criminalize abortion with no exception and ban many forms of contraception, in vitro fertilization, and health care for pregnant people.

This seemingly innocuous language in a provision of the Republican tax bill pertaining to college savings accounts is of course not there by accident, and represents another attempt to give the “preborn” legal rights. Which could, so the legal theory goes, serve as a precedent for more rights, and eventually rights to–here comes the payoff–not be subjected to an abortion. That’s the whole essence of the “Personhood” debate, whether it’s in the ballot measures Coloradans have rejected over and over by lopsided margins, or the “Personhood” legislation in Congress that Sen. Cory Gardner falsely insisted was merely a “statement of principles”–distinct from the equivalently-worded ballot measures he disavowed when he ran for the U.S. Senate. All of these initiatives and bills are precursors to the ultimate goal of banning abortion.

Rep. Diana DeGette of Denver summed it up in her statement blasting the provision:

Congresswoman Diana DeGette (D-CO) said the provision in the just-released GOP tax plan allowing the start of a 529 college savings plan for an “unborn child” is an extreme policy that has no place in the tax code.

“This is a back-door attempt to establish personhood from the moment of conception,” DeGette said. “Even in the tax reform debate, Republicans could not resist including offensive provisions to appease an extremist minority. The tax code is no place to define what constitutes an ‘unborn child.’ What’s next, giving a Social Security number to a zygote?” [Pols emphasis]

She’s kidding, of course. But we’d say maybe don’t give them any ideas.

What you can do to fight back this week (October 9)

Trump can’t repeal the Affordable Care Act. So he’s trying to destroy health reform piece by piece.

Last Friday, Trump issued a new rule that allows essentially any employer to refuse coverage for contraception if they have a “religious objection” to birth control. [1] This move will allow many more private employers to unjustly force their religious views on their employees. It’s the wrong decision for women and every American who values personal liberty like Trump claims he does.

Fortunately, attorneys general across the nation are not taking this threat to women’s health lying down. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra has promised swift action in response to Trump’s directive on contraception. But he’ll need help.

Priority #1: call Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman right now at 720-508-6000, and urge her to fight back against Trump to defend contraceptive coverage.

Once that’s done, this upcoming week is loaded with great ways to take action in support of our shared progressive values:


CIRC Action Fund 6th Congressional District Candidate Forum

On October 9th, residents of Colorado’s Sixth Congressional District will have the opportunity to meet the candidates running to represent them and hear their positions on the issues that matter most to our community. The candidates will have a conversation about topics like how to balance the economy with the health and safety of our community, immigrant rights, education, renewable energy, recent votes in Congress, and how to strengthen democracy, followed by an opportunity for the audience to ask questions.

El 9 de Octubre los residentes del Sexto Distrito de Colorado tendran la oportunidad de conocer a los candidatos que se postulan para representarlos y escuchar sus opiniones sobre los asuntos mas importantes para nuestra comunidad. Los candidatos tendran una conversación sobre temas como balancear la economia con la salud y seguridad de nuestra comunidad, derechos de inmigrantes, educacion, energia renovable, votaciones recientes en el congreso y como fortalecer la democracia, seguido por una oportunidad para que la audiencia pueda hacer preguntas.

Where: Dry Dock Brewing Company, 15120 E Hampden Ave, Aurora
When: Monday, October 9 at 6:30pm

Click here to RSVP.


Giving Light to Puerto Rico Fundraiser

Puerto Rico has been devastated by hurricane Maria and needs your help. We’ve brought together leaders of the Puerto Rican community in Denver as well as business owners to help raise money to purchase Solar Lanterns to donate to Puerto Rican homes as they restore electricity throughout the island. Restoring light in PR can take from 6 months to a year. We would love everyone to particpate on Oct 10th at Sloans Tap and Burger by coming in and having lunch or dinner. This will be Puerto Rican food prepared by our community in Denver. 100% of the sales go to the effort.

Where: Sloan’s Lake Tap and Burger, 1565 N.Raleigh St Unit 100, Denver
When: Tuesday, October 10 at 11:00am

Click here to RSVP.


Who Represents Us?

How can we achieve a more equitable society? What can we do in Colorado to make sure our representatives reflect the communities they come from? Join us as we review specific and actionable steps to effect change in Colorado in 2017, 2018, and beyond!

Where: 2600 Leyden St, Denver
When: Tuesday, October 10 at 6:00pm

Click here to RSVP.


House Speaker Crisanta Duran: Town Hall on CO’s Population Growth & Where We Go From Here

We want to hear from you! While growth has led to many benefits such as low unemployment and good jobs for Coloradans, we need to take on the challenges that come with this growth. Whether it is skyrocketing housing costs, dealing with the high cost of living, or being stuck on the highway for hours during rush hour, we can and must do more to address these issues.

Where: GALS Denver, 750 Galapago St, Denver
When: Tuesday, October 10 at 7:00pm

Click here to RSVP.


Longmont ROAR: Stand with us in solidarity at City Council

The city is actively planning drill sites at Union Reservoir with Cub Creek drilling company. At the same time, drilling companies are filing paperwork to drill from Arapaho to Baseline along WCR1 and from Oxford to Quail along WCR1. Additional wells are planned along 287 up to Oxford Road. No full plans are available yet, but this number of wells will drastically increase our air pollution, area travel, and for those on the South and East edges of town, additional noise causing sleepless nights and smells of toxic chemicals that may harm your health.

Where: City of Longmont Civic Center, 350 Kimbark St, Longmont
When: Tuesday, October 10 at 7:00pm

Click here to RSVP.


National Disservice: How Student Loan Servicers Harm Coloradans

If you’re interested in the student debt crisis and its effects on you, your friends and family, and our state’s economy, join us on October 11th to find out what you personally can do to stop unfair practices hurting student borrowers. The Bell Policy Center, Young Invincibles, and New Era invite you to join us for a panel discussion on student loan servicing and important information about how YOU can get involved in protecting students in Colorado. Panelists will share unique insights on what’s happening with loan servicers at the federal level and how this impacts Coloradans. They will also discuss ways for you to get involved and fight back against predatory practices creating more student debt in Colorado.

Where: Coffee at The Point, 710 E 26th Ave, Denver
When: Wednesday, October 11 at 6:00pm

Click here to RSVP.


Public hearing on Black Hills rates

The administrative judge reviewing Black Hills Energy’s request for electric rate adjustments will take testimony from Pueblo residents at a public hearing at the 4-H auditorium at the Colorado State Fairgrounds on Oct. 12.

Where: Colorado State Fair, 1001 Beulah Ave, Pueblo
When: Thursday, October 12 at 4:00pm

Click here to RSVP.


SDC Jamboree-Colorado Progressives Crowd Sourcing for Change

A small donor committee is a Colorado political entity that can accept a maximum of $50/year per person and enables small donors to crowd source their funds with other like minded people, to have a larger impact on political races. An SDC can contribute larger amounts to candidates than individuals or other types of political committees. The SDC Jamboree will give you a chance to meet each SDC, learn more about their work and the kind of candidates they support and of course, contribute!

Where: 999 Vallejo St, Denver
When: Friday, October 13 at 6:00pm

Click here to RSVP.


Warm Cookies of the Revolution: Netflix and Chill (For Reel. With Strangers!)

On Friday, October the 13th, it’s the 1984 film RED DAWN, which is much scarier than a guy in a hockey mask: it’s what scares Americans the most—foreign invasion, commies, and high school! After, we’ll discuss the movie’s implications for today’s world and how watching a movie might be able to spur us to action.

Where: McNichols Building, 144 W Colfax Ave, Denver, Colorado 80202
When: Friday, October 13 at 6:00pm

Click here to RSVP.


One Colorado: 2017 Western Slope Ally Awards

The event will be a cocktail reception on what is sure to be a lovely fall evening and will culminate with an awards ceremony accompanied by a cash bar, and heavy stationed hors d’oeuvres. Thanks to U.S. Bank and Colorado Mesa University for their generous support and for making this night a reality!

Where: Colorado Mesa University, 1100 North Ave, Grand Junction
When: Friday, October 13 at 6:00pm

Click here to RSVP.


Nationwide Solidarity March for Peace – Denver, Colorado

Nationwide Solidarity March for Peace will be a day for people to come together to share their love and compassion to call out the hatred and violence that is taking place in our society. This is a day for people of all political and religious affiliations, ethnicities, genders, sexualities, disabilities, ages and every other aspect of a human being.

Where: Confluence Park, 2200 15th St, Denver
When: Saturday, October 14 at 9:30am

Click here to RSVP.


One Colorado: Know Your Health, Know Your Rights Grand Junction

We know lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) Coloradans and their families face unique physical and mental health barriers. One Colorado is hosting an event in Grand Junction to dig deeper into the landscape of LGBTQ health in the state, provide tools for self-advocacy in healthcare settings, and talk with community members to learn more about local issues in accessing care.

Where: Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Grand Valley, 536 Ouray Ave, Grand Junction
When: Saturday, October 14 at 11:00am

Click here to RSVP.


39th Annual Tribute to Black Women Luncheon

Colorado Black Women for Political Action (CBWPA) is 40 years old and we will celebrate this year by honoring 4 women who have had a significant impact on our community!

Where: Renaissance Denver Stapleton Hotel, 3801 Quebec St, Denver
When: Saturday, October 14 at 11:30am

Click here to RSVP.


Unity Of All Nations

As people from all over the globe came to Standing Rock last year, to stand up for our rights to clean water, this group of community leaders and community members continue that fight today.

Where: Confluence Park, 2200 15TH St, Denver
When: Saturday, October 14 at 3:30pm

Click here to RSVP.


Nonviolent Direct Action (NVDA) Training

MoveOn Front Range and Indivisible Front Range Resistance are holding two trainings on Nonviolent Direct Action (NVDA). The trainings will include information and history about nonviolence, de-escalation practices, protestor roles in NVDA, affinity groups, and role plays. An ACLU representative will alsp be on hand to deliver a segment on protestor rights and legal issues and answer questions.

Where: Louisville Alfalfa’s Community Room – 785 E South Boulder Rd, Louisville
When: Sunday, October 15 at 1:00pm

Click here to RSVP.


Gender Identity Center of Colorado Fall Festival

Join us for fall fun at our annual Fall Festival! This family friendly FREE event will include vendor booths, refreshments, and a chance to connect to the community! Costumes are encouraged, but not required!

Where: Gender Identity Center of Colorado, 120 Bryant St., Denver
When: Sunday, October 15 at 1:00pm

Click here to RSVP.


Thanks to everyone who has found this weekly roundup of upcoming events in Colorado useful! We’re grateful for your continued support and your persistence turning out all year to fight back against Trump and the far-right agenda. It is critically important. It is working. And in the end, we are going to prevail. In the meantime, we’re proud to fight with you every day.

ICYMI: 20-Week Abortion Ban Passes U.S. House

Let’s hear it for the boys.

It would be impossible to wrap up this frenetic week of political and other riveting news without mentioning this week’s vote by the GOP-controlled U.S. House to pass the so-called Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act–a measure that bans abortions after an arbitrary 20 weeks of gestation. As The Hill reports, the measure is moving to the U.S. Senate after passing the House with all four Colorado Republicans voting yes:

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) introduced a 20-week abortion ban in the Senate on Thursday with the support of 45 GOP senators, two days after a similar bill passed the House.

The “Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act,” which faces long odds in the upper chamber, would make it illegal for any person to perform or attempt an abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy with the possibility of five years in prison, fines or both…

The legislation is likely to face a tough sell in the Senate. A similar bill passed the House in 2015 but was blocked by Democratic senators.

With only a 52-seat majority, it would be unlikely Senate Republicans could gather the 60 votes needed to move the legislation to President Trump’s desk. Graham still said he’s “100 percent confident” Senate leadership would bring the bill to the floor for a vote.

Still from Rep. Mike Coffman’s 2014 ad using Planned Parenthood’s logo.

President Donald Trump has said repeatedly he would sign this bill if it made it to his desk, so it’s only the Senate requirement of 60 votes to pass most legislation keeping this bill from becoming the law of the land. Trump has also called many times for the Senate to do away with the 60-vote requirement, but an abortion ban bill is probably not the right vehicle for such a radical change, assuming Mitch McConnell ever works up the nerve to try. The bottom line is that the policy is not supported by authoritative science, no matter how many times supporters claim otherwise.

Nevertheless all four Colorado Republican House members voted for the bill, though only the two safe GOP seats issued statements about their vote. Rep. Ken Buck of Greeley was ebullient:

“Science shows us that unborn children not only experience pain but also may have a chance to survive if born at 20 weeks,” Congressman Ken Buck stated. “We have a responsibility to the unborn babies, our families, our communities, and humanity to end the injustice of late-term abortion.”

Rep. Doug Lamborn managed to get just about every canard into a single quote:

“Babies born at 20 weeks are one step closer to protection from abortion now that H.R. 36, the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, passed in the House. I am pleased to vote “yes” on legislation that defends the most vulnerable people in our society. The United States is in the unfortunate company of only six other countries, including China and North Korea, in allowing elective abortion so late in a pregnancy. Science has proven that babies in the womb feel pain more acutely than even adults, and a bill that is estimated to save close to 3,000 lives a year is worth fighting for.”

As The Hill reported above, the legislation has 45 GOP cosponsors. Interestingly that list of cosponsors does not include the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado as of this writing! That won’t be good for Gardner’s flagging credibility with his Republican base, but it does show how Gardner’s repeated stumbles on the issue have forced him into a more muted position–this, after all, being a man who once bragged about having circulated petitions for Colorado’s failed “Personhood” amendments at his local church. So that will be another interesting angle on this to see resolved. Or in Cory’s case, see him dodge right up to the vote.

And no, it’s most likely not going to pass. But it’s going to come closer than ever to passing, with only a Senate rule already under threat keeping this abortion ban bill from becoming law. Therein lies an important lesson about the fragility of abortion rights in America today. And if it doesn’t instill a sense of urgency in supporters of abortion rights going into the 2018 elections, it’s tough to see what could.

Gardner Has Now Voted Nine Times to Strip Funds from Planned Parenthood

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma)

Beneath the drama of the Republicans’ failed efforts to kill Obamacare is the stack of votes amassed by U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) to strip federal funds from Planned Parenthood.

Four measures to repeal Obamacare this year would have also de-funded the women’s health organization, and Gardner voted for each one of them without objecting to the Planned Parenthood provision.

With the addition of this year’s votes, Gardner has now backed a total of nine measures to withdraw support from Planned Parenthood since 2010, when Gardner was first elected to Congress, as a U.S. Representative.

“Cory Gardner continuously underestimates the importance of Planned Parenthood,” said Sarah Taylor-Nanista, Director of Planned Parenthood Votes Colorado in a statement. “Health Centers provide 70,000 Coloradans the care they need. A third of which are Medicaid patients. Coloradans need and want Planned Parenthood. It is time for Cory Gardner to really work on the health care needs of Coloradans and stop playing politics by going after the providers who care for them.”

Gardner’s votes against Planned Parenthood are noteworthy, in part because contraception and abortion played such a high profile role in Gardner’s 2014 election to the U.S. Senate over Democratic Sen. Mark Udall, who repeatedly spotlighted Gardner’s stance against all abortion, even for rape, as well as some forms of birth control.

During the 2014 election, Gardner responded by calling Udall “Mark Uterus” and by saying he, Gardner, supported easier access to birth-control pills. Gardner withdrew his support of a state personhood abortion ban, and Gardner misinformed the public that his support of federal abortion-ban legislation wasn’t support for an abortion ban.

Gardner also said abortion and contraception weren’t “top of mind for people” and therefore Udall was “trying to distract voters” by drawing attention to Gardner positions on women’s health issues.

In fact, Gardner has been crusading against abortion from the beginning of his political career, relying on backing from anti-abortion activists to win GOP primary battles and to propel him into office.

Gardner’s votes against Planned Parenthood, which is widely known to offer abortion services, are almost certainly linked to Gardner’s own longstanding opposition to abortion, even though by law the organization cannot use federal money for abortion but instead for cancer screenings, family planning, and basic healthcare needs of low-income people. Abortion accounts for a small part of Planned Parenthood’s total revenue.

Anti-abortion activists in Colorado target Planned Parenthood, with regular protests. Former GOP Colorado State Rep. Gordon Klingenschmitt, of Colorado Springs, once said he was proud that a legislator in South Dakota compared Planned Parenthood to ISIS.

A 2015 shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs was denounced by most anti-abortion activists, but some equated the shooting deaths to abortions at Planned Parenthood. And a Republican lawmaker in Colorado commented on Facebook that Planned Parenthood executives were the “real culprits” for the attack.

Gardner’s nine votes to de-fund Planned Parenthood include two cast as a U.S. Representative, both in 2011: one resolution, naming Planned Parenthood Federation of America, here, and the Pence amendment targeting the organization, here.

Gardner’s seven anti-Planned Parenthood votes since he became a U.S. Senator include four Obamacare repeal measures, the “Skinny Repeal,” AHCA, BRCA, and the ORAA. He also voted against Planned Parenthood funding three times in 2015, here, here, and here.

U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO), who, like Gardner, says he’s modified his no-abortion-even-for-rape stance of the past, has voted six times during his career in the U.S. House to de-fund Planned Parenthood.

Gardner Talks Plenty, Answers Little in Telephone Townhall

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Why won’t Cory Gardner do in -person, live town halls? That’s easy –  if he did, he would have baffled crowds of people yelling, “What?” “Who?” “When?” and turning to each other, muttering, “What – what did he just say? It sounded great, but what does it mean?” He couldn’t handle the follow-up questions. At all. There are no “mute” or “delete” buttons for real people asking inconvenient questions in a live town hall.

I listened to Senator Gardner talk at his constituents for an hour during his tele-town hall on August 2, 2017. For the first time in all of the Gardner town halls I’ve sat through, he actually answered one of my questions.  (at 49:15 in the recording). Unfortunately, it was a question with lots of wiggle room – perfect for Gardner. On the other hand, plenty of people asked him very specific questions, and he didn’t answer those, either.

Here’s what I heard between 7:05 pm and 8:05 pm on Gardner’s telephone town hall. All questions and answers are paraphrased, unless I’m using quotation marks.

Photo: ADAPT protest, Cory Gardner’s Greeley office, July 27, 2017.

In his introduction, Gardner spewed the usual glibberish. He’s going to repair the damage of Obamacare, because so many Coloradans got their policies cancelled or had to pay fines, bla bla. He lied again about how many town halls he’s held, counting his one on one meetings with a health care CEO and stopping to get fruit for his kids at a roadside stand as “meeting with Coloradans”. Oh, and he had dinner at a ranch, and met with  Chamber of Commerce members.  Aren’t those town halls? Cory swears that counts as a town hall.

Still glibbering, Gardner talked about cybersecurity and his bill to make the “internet of things” more secure, which cook rightly pointed out is not-bad legislation.  He also talked about opening up more broadband “spectrum” in rural Colorado, and mentioned tax reform, coming to you in September!!

Then he began taking questions. Some had been submitted online, while most were live telephone callers.

(more…)

Good news! July 1-7, 2017

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

This diary is about small victories, local heroes, sweet stories, random kindnesses, unexpected grace, cold justice served up on a hot plate. As always, your interpretation of what is “good news” is probably different than mine, and categories often overlap.

Attorneys General across the country (including Colorado’s Coffman)  are claiming that they will check Big Pharma’s pushing of opiods, “clear the swamp”, ensure fair voting, and protect transgender people. AGs be aware – people will check to see that you follow through on your promises.

Voting rights roundup

flag with I voted

Image by debaird on flikr

Fourth of July, Fireworks, and the Franchise – what could be more patriotic? Voting seems to be on everyone’s minds right now.

Alabama seeks to inform felons of restored voting rights in jail

Kentucky also ordered the voting rights of 284 felons to be restored.

Kris Kobach, Vice-Chair of Trump’s Presidential Advisory Commission on Voter Integrity,  requested that all 50 states send him their voter information by July 14 so that the Commission can create a national voter registry to prevent what he claims is rampant voter fraud.

Unfortunately, rather than creating a process to make it easier for voters to register and vote, the Commission’s goal appears to be to selectively disenfranchise voters. The good news is that 45 states now have refused to provide part or all of the information requested. President Trump is not pleased, and has let us know this in his usual way.

Alison Lundergan Grimes, KY Secretary of State said that there is  “not enough bourbon in Kentucky” to make  Trump’s request seem sensible.

Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann suggested that, “They can go jump in the Gulf of Mexico and Mississippi is a great state to launch from…”

Floridians are also petitioning to restore voting rights to felons.

Colorado’s Secretary of State Wayne Williams is trying to have it both ways  –  comply with Trump’s request, while still protecting the privacy of Colorado voters by supplying only publicly available information. Many voters are choosing to keep their data confidential by filing a form and paying $5 at the Secretary of State’s Office.

Voters seldom commit fraud in Colorado – but when they do, they are usually Republicans.

(more…)

Good News! June 23-30, 2017

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

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

This week, it’s all about healthcare and the resistance to the BCRA Wealthcare bill.  We’ve come too far to give up now. Keep our eyes on the prize:  A public healthcare system like every other industrialized country has.

Healthcare, the ACA, and the Senate Wealthcare bill

The Senate Democrats fought hard to keep the BCRA, aka Trump’s Wealthcare bill, from being voted on without hearings or public input. It was good to see some Senate backbone on display.

Hawaii’s Maisie Hirono led  filibustering on the Senate floor.

Our own Senator Bennet spoke at length,  outlining what’s at stake in this health care bill.

But – we don’t know what Cory Gardner really thinks about the Senate healthcare bill he supposedly helped to draft. Right now, he looks to be in the “Yes on BCRA” camp, because he pretends that insurance costs will go down with the Senate bill.  However, Cowardly Cory will not give his constituents the courtesy of in-person meetings or town halls to discuss his position. Even when said constituents try really, really hard.

To keep the heat on, keep contacting

Senator Bennet: Contact Us

Senator Gardner: Contact Cory*

More good news about healthcare in Colorado: we get to keep all of our insurance brokers next year, said Colorado Insurance Commissioner Marguerite Salazar. No Colorado counties will be without an insurance provider, according to the Summit Daily News.

(more…)

Obamacare Replacement Legislation Aims to Block 30,000 in CO from Accessing Planned Parenthood Clinics

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains (PPRM) President Vicki Cowart announced figures last week that the Senate’s Obamacare-replacement bill would “block more than 30,000 women, men and young people in the Rocky Mountain region alone from accessing the trusted reproductive health care they rely on.”

“We will not stand by while politicians play these types of political games with the health care and livelihood of more than one third our patients,” said Cowart.

In a move long backed by anti-abortion groups, the Senate bill would cut federal funds that account for about 40 percent of Planned Parenthood’s budget.

“The expectations of the pro-life movement have been very clear: The health care bill must not indefinitely subsidize abortion and must redirect abortion giant Planned Parenthood’s taxpayer funding to community health centers,” Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the anti-abortion Susan B. Anthony List, and Tony Perkins, president of the right-wing Family Research Council, said in a statement, quoted by the New York Times.

Beginning around the time the House passed its Obamacare replacement legislation in May, PPRM has enlisted 800 new Planned Parenthood activists, organized monthly events, and targeted U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner with letters and petitions demanding that he stop the GOP Obamacare-replacement bill.

The Planned Parenthood defunding effort may prove to unwind the Republican legislation, as GOP Senators Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska have strongly objected to it. If three GOP Senators vote against the health care bill, it would lose, as Senate Democrats unanimously oppose it.

Senate rules may block the defunding effort, according to PPRM and some political observers.

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.

(more…)

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?