Freshman GOP Lawmaker Blames Planned Parenthood For Terrorism Against Planned Parenthood

UPDATE: AP’s Kristen Wyatt:

“Violence begets violence,” Windholz wrote, concluding with a plea to pray for women who get abortions and doctors who perform them.

The lawmaker confirmed to The Associated Press on Tuesday that the posting is accurate but said she had nothing more to say about it…

The comments sparked and angry backlash from supporters of abortion rights.

“She basically tried to justify the violence against (abortion) providers and Planned Parenthood, and there is no justification,” said Vicki Saporta, president of the National Abortion Federation, which represents about 400 abortion providers.


GOP Rep. JoAnn Windholz (center).

GOP Rep. JoAnn Windholz (center).

The reactions from Colorado Republicans to last Friday’s terrorist attack on a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs have run the gamut, from heartfelt expressions of sympathy for the victims to defensive posturing and continued criticism of the organization. Even Rep. Gordon “Dr. Chaps” Klingenschmitt, who has routinely said things about Planned Parenthood’s “demonic spirit of murder” in the past that could be construed as incitement, unequivocally condemned the alleged terrorist “whatever his motives.”

But in at least one shocking case, as the Colorado Independent’s Marianne Goodland reports, a sitting Colorado lawmaker appears to directly blame Planned Parenthood for the mass shooting at their own clinic last Friday. And even harder to explain, it’s one of the most vulnerable GOP freshman members of the Colorado House of Representatives:

Adams County state Rep. JoAnn Windholz blames Planned Parenthood for the Nov. 27 shooting, at its Colorado Springs clinic, that left three dead and nine injured. She is one of the few Colorado Republicans to issue a statement in the wake of the attack.

“Violence is never the answer, but we must start pointing out who is the real culprit. The true instigator of this violence and all violence at any Planned Parenthood facility is Planned Parenthood themselves. Violence begets violence. So Planned Parenthood: YOU STOP THE VIOLENCE INSIDE YOUR WALLS.”

Windholz referenced the Center for Medical Progress video that alleged Planned Parenthood and the Colorado Springs clinic were trafficking in baby body parts, the same video suspected shooter Robert Lewis Dear referred to in his oft cited “No more baby parts” statement after his attack.

“Planned Parenthood has no shame,” Windholz said. “These facts and overall mission of the abortion industry would easily send anyone over the hill who wasn’t rational.” [Pols emphasis]

We’ve posted Rep. JoAnn Windholz’s full statement after the jump. Re-reading it, we keep coming back to these words:

Violence is never the answer, but…

Folks, this is a sitting Republican Colorado lawmaker.

Violence is never the answer, but…

Rep. JoAnn Windholz was elected to her House seat in 2014 by the narrowest of margins, barely defeating incumbent Rep. Jenise May despite the biggest “Republican wave” elections in Colorado since Democrats retook control of the state in 2004. In the previous presidential election year of 2012, May had absolutely dominated the race, defeating her GOP opponent by 15 points.

All we can say is, when these nigh-on unspeakable comments about the Planned Parenthood terror attack find their way into ads and mailers against Rep. Windholz next year, she’s screwed. There is a strong likelihood that we will look back on this moment next November as the moment Rep. Windholz’s brief political career imploded.


Progressives, Pro-Choice Activists Demand Accountability For Planned Parenthood Terror Attack

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

POLS UPDATE: Apropos, Democratic CD-6 candidate Morgan Carroll calls out the Douglas County GOP for a shocking Tweet today, and asks GOP opponent Rep. Mike Coffman to stand up to them in the name of decency:

Screen Shot 2015-12-01 at 12.37.01 PM

“It’s deeply disturbing and dangerous for the Douglas County Republican Party to compare Planned Parenthood to a domestic terrorist that killed a mother, Iraq War veteran, and police officer,” said State Senator Morgan Carroll.“As the 6th District’s representative, Congressman Coffman needs to step up and denounce this dangerous rhetoric immediately.”

Congressman Coffman has been an outspoken opponent of a woman’s right to choose, and yet he tries to run away from his own rhetoric when it comes time to run for reelection. He said he was pro-life with no exceptions and supported the Personhood Amendment, which defines would define “person” as any human being from the moment of conception. This year he has voted to defund Planned Parenthood six times.


In the aftermath of last week’s domestic terrorist attack on a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, ProgressNow Colorado, the state’s largest online progressive advocacy organization, joined with NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado and concerned citizens to demand that right-wing politicians in Colorado at every level apologize for their false claims about Planned Parenthood–claims that have resulted in numerous acts of violence against women’s healthcare providers, including Friday’s mass shooting in our state.

“Across the nation and now here in Colorado, the latest smear campaign against Planned Parenthood has directly contributed to violence,” said ProgressNow Colorado executive director Amy Runyon-Harms. “For months, right-wing anti-choice politicians have leveled extreme and totally unfounded allegations that the organization ‘sells baby body parts.’ News reports indicate these are the same words the alleged killer used last weekend to justify his murderous rampage. The clear link between the false attacks on Planned Parenthood and violence against their facilities in recent months can no longer be ignored.”

“Let’s be clear, when you use fighting words, and you break laws to prove your point, your words and actions appear to condone violence and hate,” said Karen Middleton of NARAL Pro Choice Colorado. “The so-called ‘Center for Medical Progress’ led a three-year campaign, using false information and deceptive editing to gain access and justify their views. The elected leaders holding hearings attacking the largest provider of women’s health care don’t get to say ‘I did not mean it’ when a deranged individual takes action in response to those words.”

Here in Colorado, right-wing politicians have joined in the false attacks on Planned Parenthood, using incendiary rhetoric that could motivate unstable persons to commit violent acts. Sen. Tim Neville, a candidate for the United States Senate, actually claimed that “some of the most disgusting videos of Planned Parenthood murdering, cutting to pieces and selling unborn baby parts were filmed right here in Denver, Colorado.” Jennifer Mason of Personhood USA said in response to the shooting that “the media is failing to report that innocent babies are killed in that very building every day that they are in business.” Nate Marshall, a former Republican legislative candidate, unequivocally praised the shootings, saying “this guy is a hero. Children are not being slaughtered and butchered for profit by left wing scum today.”

“Colorado politicians at every level from Rep. Mike Coffman, who has repeatedly used Planned Parenthood as a political football, to state legislators who held a sham ‘hearing’ to attack Planned Parenthood last month, have contributed to the toxic environment that resulted in Friday’s tragic mass shooting in Colorado Springs,” said Runyon-Harms. “The attacks on Planned Parenthood have been discredited, but that hasn’t stopped politicians from lying about the organization. And now, three people are dead.”

“It must stop, and stop now,” said Runyon-Harms. “We call on right-wing politicians across the state and nation to stop their false attacks on Planned Parenthood, and apologize for lies that are directly contributing to politically-motivated violence in America today. You either stand with women, or you’re standing in the way.”

GOP Absurdly Denies Planned Parenthood Terrorism Culpability

UPDATE: As Think Progress reports, GOP presidential candidate Ted Cruz managed to roll up all of the falsehoods about alleged terrorist Robert Dear into one big steamy package of BS:

Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz is the latest presidential candidate trying to downplay the role anti-abortion rhetoric may have played in motivating the Planned Parenthood shooting in Colorado Springs Friday afternoon. When a reporter asked him at an Iowa campaign stop Sunday evening about suspect Robert Lewis Dear saying he was motivated by “no more baby parts,” Cruz countered that he’s also been reported to be a “transgendered [sic] leftist activist.”

Cruz explained, “We know that he was a man registered to vote as a woman.” This discrepancy on Dear’s voter registration was first reported by The Gateway Pundit, a self-described “right-of-center news website,” under the claim that he “identifies as [a] woman.” Conservatives have since run with the claim that Dear is transgender.


Now that Friday’s domestic terrorist attack on a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs has been digesting for a couple of news cycles, we’re seeing the reaction to the attack from Republican politicians and pundits take a major turn–away from vanilla statements of sympathy for the victims, many with no mention of Planned Parenthood at all, to angry denials of even the most peripheral responsibility for alleged terrorist Robert Dear’s actions.

During Friday’s standoff and in the immediate aftermath, wild speculation about the killer on the right sought to put distance between Dear and “normal” pro-life opponents of Planned Parenthood. Early on, some conservative media outlets ran with incorrect information suggesting that Planned Parenthood was not even the target of the attack. This was reinforced by GOP Rep. Kit Roupe of Colorado Springs, who irresponsibly spread this falsehood on social media, doing her constituents a major disservice:


Alleged domestic terrorist Robert Dear. Photo via CSPD

Alleged domestic terrorist Robert Dear. Photo via CSPD

An apparent error in Dear’s voter registration led to widespread breathless claims that Dear “identifies as a female.” Breitbart News ran with it, and dozens of right-wing media outlets picked it up:

He is registered to vote in Park County, Colorado, and The Gazette reports that his voter registration has him listed as an “Unaffiliated female” voter instead of a Democrat or Republican. Dear’s voter registration on Colorado Voters Info lists his gender as “female.”

Now folks, take a look at that photo. Without any attempt at insensitivity, let us just say that we do not see a person who “identifies as a female.” Anyone with voter file experience knows these kinds of mistakes happen. To run with something like this without any checking is…well, it’s ridiculous.

Leading Republican-aligned website The Federalist’s front page as of this writing is dominated by the mug shot you see above, linking to a story titled “Stop Blaming Pro-Lifers For The Colorado Springs Shooting.”

The pro-lifers praying and swaying and holding their placards are as responsible for this shooting as the Beatles were for Charles Manson’s violence…

Got that? Republican accusations that Planned Parenthood “sells baby body parts” are the same thing as the Beatles song Helter Skelter, which Charles Manson “interpreted” to be a prophecy of a coming race war. The only problem with this theory is that in truth, Helter Skelter was about an amusement park ride.

Friday’s shooting, on the other hand, required no creative interpretations.

Headline collage via the Colorado Independent

In the coming days, we’re going to hear more, both fact and speculation, about the motivations of Robert Dear from both sides. We understand that both sides in this debate have an agenda underlying their statements that is bigger than this one tragic mass shooting.

Unfortunately for Planned Parenthood’s devoted GOP antagonists-cum-sympathizers, the facts are not on their side. The connection between the bellicose rhetoric against Planned Parenthood in recent months and Friday’s terrorist attack in Colorado Springs, wishing really hard otherwise notwithstanding, is rationally undeniable.

And if this makes Republicans uncomfortable, that’s because it should.

Get More Smarter on Monday (Nov. 30)

MoreSmarterLogo-300x218Move over, Peyton, and make room for the Brockweiler. It’s time to Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols. If you think we missedsomething important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example).


► Robert Lewis Dear will make his first scheduled court appearance today. Dear is the domestic terrorist accused of killing three people and wounding nine others at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs on Friday.

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper called the Planned Parenthood attacks “an act of terrorism” during a media appearance on Sunday, and his call for ending dangerous rhetoric is being widely repeated. From the New York Times:

Several other guests on Sunday talk shows called the shootings domestic terrorism, including Mike Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor who is a Republican presidential candidate; the mayor of Colorado Springs; and the head of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains.

Many, including Hickenlooper, also suggested that it was time to begin discussing how to tone down rhetoric that “is inflaming people to the point where they can’t stand it, and they go out and they lose connection with reality in some way and commit these acts of unthinkable violence.”…

…Mayor John Suthers of Colorado Springs, on ABC’s “This Week,” said the Planned Parenthood clinic appeared to be the target of the attack. In comments similar to Hickenlooper’s, Suthers, a Republican, said the country needed to better identify people with “mental health problems and prevent their access to weapons.”


► There’s a new effort to change how Colorado deals with its annual redistricting and reapportionment process, and as Colorado Pols reported last week, the proposed ballot language would probably end up making the process worseMarianne Goodland of the Colorado Independent has more on “Initiative 55,” which critics say could “destroy the Latino vote in Colorado”:

Under the proposed Initiative 55, a commission made up of four Democrats, four Republicans and four unaffiliated members would oversee the General Assembly’s nonpartisan staff in redrawing boundaries for both legislative and congressional districts.

It’s neither the composition of the committee nor the nonpartisan staff assigned to do the redrawing that most concerns critics. It’s that the initiative, as written, would prohibit the staff from mapping districts to augment or dilute the voting strength “of a language or racial minority group.”

Some say the priorities Initiative 55 sets for redrawing districts would violate the Voting Rights Act.

Get even more smarter after the jump…


BREAKING: Multiple Casualties in Terrorist Attack at Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood

Alleged domestic terrorist Robert Dear. Photo via CSPD

Alleged domestic terrorist Robert Dear. Photo via CSPD

SUNDAY UPDATE: The Hill reports that Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers, a former state attorney general, considers Friday’s mass shooting an act of “domestic terrorism.” As you know, we agree:

Colorado Springs, Colo., Mayor John Suthers said in an interview Sunday that the fatal shooting spree at a Planned Parenthood clinic in his town appears to be an act of domestic terrorism.

“We have, Martha, something that occurs quite a bit. We have a person that’s pretty much off the grid and acting for whatever motivation, very hard to ferret out those folks,” Suthers told Martha Raddatz on ABC’s “This Week.”

From President Barack Obama’s statement yesterday:

We don’t yet know what this particular gunman’s so-called motive was for shooting twelve people, or for terrorizing an entire community, when he opened fire with an assault weapon and took hostages at a Planned Parenthood center in Colorado. What we do know is that he killed a cop in the line of duty, along with two of the citizens that police officer was trying to protect. We know that law enforcement saved lives, as so many of them do every day, all across America. And we know that more Americans and their families had fear forced upon them.

This is not normal. We can’t let it become normal. If we truly care about this — if we’re going to offer up our thoughts and prayers again, for God knows how many times, with a truly clean conscience — then we have to do something about the easy accessibility of weapons of war on our streets to people who have no business wielding them. Period. Enough is enough.

May God bless Officer Garrett Swasey and the Americans he tried to save — and may He grant the rest of us the courage to do the same thing.

An updated statement from Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains acknowledges the terrorist’s motives as they are now understood:

“Today, we are learning that eyewitnesses confirm that the man who will be charged with the tragic and senseless shooting that resulted in the deaths of three people and injuries to nine others at Planned Parenthood’s health center in Colorado Springs was motivated by opposition to safe and legal abortion. This is an appalling act of violence targeting access to health care and terrorizing skilled and dedicated health care professionals.

“The safety of our patients and staff is our top priority. We have strong security measures in place and work closely with law enforcement agencies, and we also ensure that our doors are open to all people who need high-quality, compassionate health care. We believe the safety procedures we have in place helped reduce the number of lives lost and injuries during yesterday’s events.

“We’ve seen an alarming increase in hateful rhetoric and smear campaigns against abortion providers and patients over the last few months. That environment breeds acts of violence. Americans reject the hatred and vitriol that fueled this tragedy. We do not accept this environment as normal. We should not have to live in a world where accessing health care includes safe rooms and bullet-proof glass.

“We have a saying at Planned Parenthood: ‘These doors stay open.’ It means we don’t back down because of protestors, violent extremists, or anyone else. It means we are a safe, supportive, and welcoming environment for all people who need high quality reproductive health care. Today, in Colorado and across the country, Planned Parenthood’s doors are open and we will continue to provide compassionate health care to people who have trusted us and relied on us for generations.”

Meanwhile, Democratic National Committee chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz issued a blistering release of her own, hammering the GOP’s latest Planned Parenthood witch hunt and connecting that campaign to Friday’s shooting:

The details that have emerged on Friday’s shootings in Colorado Springs make it clear that the attack on civilians and law enforcement there was an act of terrorism. Tragically, this horrific attack against Planned Parenthood is not isolated to this instance. Since 1993, at least eight people– four doctors, two clinic employees, a security guard, and a clinic escort – have been murdered in the United States in incidents of anti-choice violence, including a doctor shot to death in 2009 while serving as an usher at a church. Since the politically-motivated campaign to defund Planned Parenthood began this summer with the release of a series of misleading and debunked videos, there have been four attacks on Planned Parenthood centers in the U.S. according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Those running for president and those of us in leadership roles in our country’s major political parties have an obligation to denounce these attacks and clearly say that violence and intimidation in the pursuit of ideology are not acceptable in America. Politicians who peddle lies, whether about Planned Parenthood or immigrants, and those who encourage roughing up Americans who have different opinions have a particular obligation and responsibility to denounce these acts of terror. In addition to the attacks on Planned Parenthood we’ve seen assaults on Hispanics, the shooting of Black Lives Matter protesters, and ugly shouts at campaign rallies that have gone unchallenged. No political gain is worth what this reckless, dangerous rhetoric is doing to our country, and it must come to an end.

In the Planned Parenthood case it’s especially troubling that there has been no meaningful reaction from Republican candidates and political leaders. This shameful silence is becoming a theme for Republicans, who are all too ready to denounce a three year old refugee but not acts committed by a domestic terrorist like what we saw Friday.


SATURDAY UPDATE #3: NBC News reports, the motive you expected beginning to emerge:

Robert Lewis Dear, a North Carolina native who was living in a trailer in Colorado, made statements to police Friday at the scene of the Colorado Springs clinic and in interviews that law enforcement sources described as rantings.

In one statement, made after the suspect was taken in for questioning, Dear said “no more baby parts” in reference to Planned Parenthood, according to two law enforcement sources with knowledge of the case. [Pols emphasis]

But the sources stressed that Dear said many things to law enforcement and the extent to which the “baby parts” remark played into any decision to target the Planned Parenthood office was not yet clear. He also mentioned President Barack Obama in statements.

They’re being awfully careful not to, you know, speculate down there in the conservative bastion of Colorado Springs aren’t they?


SATURDAY UPDATE #2: 9NEWS reports the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood building has been cleared by police with no additional victims found. Thank goodness.

Editor’s Note: Defining Terrorism and Terrorists

As news unfolded in Colorado Springs on Friday involving a gunman shooting civilians and police officers, it led to a separate conversation on social media about the proper use of the words “terrorism,” “terrorist,” and “terror.”

After considering the definitions of these words (via Merriam-Webster, below), Colorado Pols has decided to enact an editorial change on this website. Any criminal act in the United States that meets the definition of “terrorism” will henceforth be discussed on this site as a “terrorist act” perpetrated by one or more “terrorists.” 

For example, the man who killed and wounded several civilians and police officers in Colorado Springs will be classified as a “terrorist” rather than the generic “gunman” or “shooter” label. Terrorism is a very real and tragic form of violence that is undertaken for a specific political or intimidation purpose. Terrorism is not defined by skin color, nationality, race, or gender. It is a disservice to the victims of these particular crimes to continue to describe the act as something other than terrorism, just as it would be wrong to falsely classify a “murder” as a “suicide.”

Merriam-Webster definitions:

TERRORISM (noun):  the systematic use of terror especially as a means of coercion.

TERRORIST: (adjective or noun)

TERROR (noun): 

1.  a state of intense fear


a : one that inspires fear : scourge
b : a frightening aspect
c : a cause of anxiety : worry
d : an appalling person or thing; especially : brat

3. reign of terror

4. violent or destructive acts (as bombing) committed by groups in order to intimidate a population or government into granting their demands


Neville Not “Buckpedaling” on Abortion

(Tim Neville aims to dominate Thanksgiving table talk – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

State Sen. Tim Neville.

State Sen. Tim Neville.

“My name is Tim Neville, and I’m THE pro-Life candidate running for the nomination to take on and defeat Democrat Michael Bennet in November 2016.”

That’s how Neville, who’s considered the frontrunner in the GOP Senate primary, describes himself in a recent fundraising email.

And judging from the email (excerpt below), it’s hard to imagine there’s a more anti-choice candidate anywhere on the planet.

Neville even confirms that the Live at Conception Act is a personhood bill, something Sen. Cory Gardner was willfully confused about.

In contrast to Gardner, who was obviously worried women would revolt against his history of Neville-like positions on abortion, Neville brags that “politicians in both parties” opposed his bill that would have “forced abortion providers to offer women the opportunity to see an ultrasound, saving thousands of babies in the process.” (Translation: women would be required to have an ultrasound prior to having an abortion.)

We know Republicans in Colorado like to modify their positions once they face a general-election audience. See, for example, Gardner, Rep. Mike Coffman, Bob Beauprez, Rep. Ken “Buckpedal” Buck.

But unlike those guys, you get the feeling that Neville really  believes he can win over both primary and general election voters by being himself, regardless of the issue. That will set him apart from recent state-wide Republican candidates. That would make things interesting.


Missing The Point, Garfield County Commission Edition

Garfield County commissioners Mike Samson, John Martin, and Tom Jankovsky.

Garfield County commissioners Mike Samson, John Martin, and Tom Jankovsky.

The Glenwood Springs Post-Independent’s John Stroud follows up on the amusing unintended consequences of the decision by the GOP-owned and operated Garfield County board of commissioners to cut off a small longstanding grant to the local Planned Parenthood health clinic:

Ashley Johnson never imagined the kind of response she’d get when she launched an online fundraising campaign for the local Planned Parenthood clinic following a politically motivated decision by Garfield County commissioners to cut grant funding.

Her effort that began two weeks ago with a goal of replacing the $1,500 cut quickly gained momentum.

As of Monday, the “Hear our voice. Fund women’s health” site had raised $23,450 among 281 donors. Another $325 was donated via a separate Wells Fargo Bank benefit account, according to Johnson.

That’s right–Garfield County’s decision to cut off a $1,500 grant to Planned Parenthood’s resulted in over fifteen times that amount being donated to the organization as a result of local resident Ashley Johnson’s GoFundMe drive. We’re going to go out on a limb here and suggest that is not the outcome that Garfield County commissioners had in mind when they decided Planned Parenthood Votes’ emails defending itself from a partisan Republican Party onslaught were “too political.”

But to listen to commissioner Tom Jankovsky today, you might think he planned the whole thing:

Jankovsky said Monday that he’s glad private donors stepped up to support a service that he said he also believes provides a valuable service in Garfield County.

“I think it’s great that they’re doing that,” he said. “Our decision on funding didn’t mean we didn’t want Planned Parenthood to continue.”

Rather, he said human services grants are intended mostly for locally based, nonpolitical organizations. He said he and the other commissioners felt Planned Parenthood’s state and national affiliates had crossed that line…

The problem with this lame excuse is obvious: if Jankovsky and his fellow Republican commissioners hadn’t cut off the funding, there would have been no impetus for the fundraising drive. Commissioners’ vote to cut off the county’s nominal grant to the organization is what precipitated this presumably one-time fundraising windfall.

And it’s an overwhelming counterpoint to whatever point they were trying to make.

Politically, this was a foolish mistake for GarCo’s GOP commissioners, whose ham-fisted attempt to insert themselves at the tail end of the summer-long Republican Planned Parenthood grandstand completely backfired. With 2015’s witch hunt by anti-choice usual suspects having mostly fizzled out, this result should serve notice to other bush-league elected officials with fiscal authority that the political damage from petty trolling of an organization that communities really do value outweighs any gains.

Better for everyone, not least themselves, to leave well enough alone.

Oh, You Mean THAT War on Women

Rep. Gordon Klingenschmitt (R).

Rep. Gordon Klingenschmitt (R).

The Durango Herald’s Peter Marcus reports from yesterday’s standing-room-only “hearing” (parentheses explained below) held by the Republican Study Committee of Colorado at the Capitol. The announced subject of yesterday’s all-day public event was something they called “fetal tissue trafficking,” but the event quickly devolved into a free-for-all anti-abortion speechification exercise:

Colorado Republicans on Monday held a listening session at the state Capitol that quickly turned into a trial of Planned Parenthood.

The Republican lawmakers who spearheaded the six-hour packed listening session said the purpose of the event was strictly “informational” in an effort to guide future policy decisions. It followed similar hearings on the congressional level.

Republicans are considering legislation for next year in an effort to crackdown on Planned Parenthood, though such measures would face a tough climb in a Legislature split between Republicans and Democrats.

As CBS4 reports, yesterday’s “hearing,” which was a completely nonofficial event that, as Sen. Chris Holbert took pains to note yesterday, will not result in any state staff time or legislator per diem pay, is nonetheless a prelude to what we can expect to see in the 2016 legislative session:

The Republican Study Committee of Colorado met at the state Capitol to discuss video tapes and legislation in response to them. Eight Republican state lawmakers met for what they called an “informational hearing” on fetal tissue trafficking.

“There’s a problem and we’re trying to get down to the essence of what the facts are here in Colorado,” said Sen. Kevin Lundberg, R-Larimer County.

The meeting comes after a secretly recorded tape showed a doctor from Planned Parenthood of the Rockies talking about fetal tissue donation. Republicans say it shows the doctor trying to sell fetal tissue for profit, which is against the law. But the attorney general and state health department declined to investigate, prompting Republicans to launch their own investigation.

State Sen. Owen Hill.

State Sen. Owen Hill.

As the Colorado Springs Gazette’s Megan Schrader writes, GOP lawmakers busily working on gratuitous Planned Parenthood troll-bills for 2016 are shocked, shocked mind you, that nobody wants to have anything to do with this:

Sen. Owen Hill, R-Colorado Springs, has pulled a bill title to defund Planned Parenthood, a nonprofit that provides abortions in Colorado along with other family planning and health screening services. Hill was not at the meeting, but Sen. Kevin Lundberg, R-Berthoud, said he had spoken to Hill about the bill.

Sen. Kent Lambert, R-Colorado Springs, said he was concerned about the testimony he heard and had questions for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and the research facilities at CSU that procure fetal tissue. He said he was surprised that both organizations declined an invitation to participate in the event.

From Planned Parenthood and their liberal allies, while obviously condemning the entire spectacle, an enthusiastic response that signals a willingness, even eagerness to take Republicans head-on:


Lundberg may try to subpoena witnesses who declined to answer questions at today’s hearing

(Wombghazi! – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Sen. Kevin Lundberg (R).

Sen. Kevin Lundberg (R).

With witnesses from across the political spectrum refusing to participate in today’s “informational hearing” on alleged sales of fetal-tissue for research purposes, Sen. Kevin Lundberg may request authority to subpoena witnesses for legislative hearings next year.

“I can go to the Senate and seek permission to have that authority for any specific issue,” said Lundberg, who’s the Senate Republican Assistant Majority Leader, on KLZ 560-AM Thursday (at  18:45 below). “And this may rise to that occasion.”

“I have never seen subpoena powers granted to a [Colorado legislative] committee, but it’s within the rules,” said Lundberg on air, citing his position as chair of the Senate Health & Human Services Committee, which would have jurisdiction on this matter.

Attorney General Cynthia Coffman, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Colorado State University, Planned Parenthood, and the University of Colorado have refused to attend today’s 9 a.m. hearing at the state capitol to answer  questions from Lundberg and 20 other conservative state lawmakers, Lundberg told KLZ morning host Steve Curtis.

If they refuse to testify again next year, Lundberg said, he’ll consider seeking subpoena power from his Senate colleagues, who hold a majority.

“I haven’t ruled that out at all,” he told Curtis, adding that it will depend on what information is uncovered at today’s hearing. Lundberg believes, for example, that if fetal tissue from Planned Parenthood were used in scientific research at Colorado Universities, it would violate Colorado’s ban on indirect funding of abortion. Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains maintains that it has no fetal-tissue donation program.

For background on CSU and CU’s fetal-tissue programs see here and here.


Garfield Commissioners Raise Big Bucks For Planned Parenthood

Garfield County commissioners Mike Samson, John Martin, and Tom Jankovsky.

Garfield County commissioners Mike Samson, John Martin, and Tom Jankovsky.

As the Glenwood Springs Post-Independent’s John Stroud reports, the decision this week by Garfield County’s Republican commissioners to eliminate a small grant to Planned Parenthood in support of a health center in Glenwood Springs is…well, it’s tough to imagine this response from the community is what they had hoped for:

A grass-roots fundraising campaign has raised more than $13,000 for the Glenwood Springs Planned Parenthood clinic in response to a politically motivated decision by Garfield County commissioners earlier this week to cut a grant to the organization.

Organizer Ashley Johnson of Carbondale indicated on her webpage that the goal of the campaign is now $15,000. If successful, that would be 10 times the amount of the $1,500 county human services grant that was eliminated by commissioners on Monday.

That decision, led by Commissioner Tom Jankovsky over his concerns about what he referred to as “partisan, political” messages being sent out by Planned Parenthood’s political advocacy affiliate in Colorado, prompted significant public reaction on social media after the story broke in the Post Independent.

The grant that was to go to Planned Parenthood’s Glenwood clinic for cancer screening was part of a package of 2016 county human services grants totaling more than $430,000.

Now, some of you might think, and not without justification, that this successful backlash fundraising drive plays into the hands of Planned Parenthood’s opponents–who argue that the organization “doesn’t need” a dime of public funding for cancer screenings or anything else. But the fact is, these grant funds helped Planned Parenthood perform a valuable service to the local community, which is why they have been distributed to the organization for decades. And without this denial by GarCo county commissioners, there would be no controversy to raise funds off of.

For these reasons, the political damage to Garfield County’s Republican commissioners far outweighs any actual harm done to Planned Parenthood. The cornball excuse from GOP commissioner Tom Jankovsky that Planned Parenthood is sending out “partisan” emails, which he then uses to justify doing exactly what those emails say Republicans do, simply protests his own guilt. And once you factor the community rising up and raising ten times the amount of the grant that was eliminated?

Like the entire summer of “Fetuspalooza,” we just don’t see how any of this is helping the GOP.

Unless their goal really is to help Planned Parenthood.

GarCo Commishes Determined To Troll Planned Parenthood

Garfield County commissioners Mike Samson, John Martin, and Tom Jankovsky.

Garfield County commissioners Mike Samson, John Martin, and Tom Jankovsky.

As the Glenwood Springs Post-Independent’s John Stroud reports, Republican commissioners in Garfield County are determined to be part of the not-really-existent Planned Parenthood “backlash” story, and don’t you dare tell them they can’t be:

Citing what one Garfield County commissioner called “partisan emails” from political action groups advocating for Planned Parenthood, commissioners Monday eliminated 2016 grant funding for the local clinic.

“Our human services grant recipients are not supposed to be political, and this group is very political,” Commissioner Tom Jankovsky said…

“I receive emails that I find to be very partisan, and very political, and I’m no longer comfortable with this organization,” Jankovsky said, referring to the political action group Planned Parenthood Votes Colorado.

“I understand how important Planned Parenthood has been for women’s health … but I have to take a stand on this,” he said.

As Stroud reports, the Garfield County board of commissioners voted yesterday to take away a $1,500 grant to Planned Parenthood’s Glenwood Springs Health Center. Apparently, the GOP-controlled GarCo board of commissioners has been “concern trolling” the local Planned Parenthood clinic for several years, having cut off and reinstated funding in 2012-13 after receiving redundant assurances from the organization that no, they’re not “paying for abortions” with your tax dollars.

Obviously, the biggest problem with the stated rationale for this action by Garfield County’s Republican commissioners is that Planned Parenthood is under attack by the same party they belong to. One need look no further to discover why Planned Parenthood is obliged to defend itself from one side of the political spectrum than the Republican Study Committee of Colorado’s upcoming all day kangaroo-court “hearing” scheduled at the Colorado Capitol for next week. The entire summer-long campaign against Planned Parenthood using doctored undercover videos from usual-suspect anti-abortion types has played out as a partisan political exercise. But don’t tell any of that to GarCo’s Republican commissioners:

Jankovsky also acknowledged that Planned Parenthood “does many good things, and has been very positive in what they have done here in Garfield County.” [Pols emphasis]

“Because of the politics of it, I can’t continue to support it,” he said.

To whatever extent Planned Parenthood’s self-defense comes across as “partisan,” that’s simply because the attacks on Planned Parenthood are 100% partisan Republican in nature. Of course, you and Republican Garfield County commissioner Tom Jankovsky already know that. And as long as you know that Planned Parenthood is under attack by the GOP as a partisan exercise, necessitating a defense that inevitably has some degree of partisan undertones due to the partisan nature of the attack, a defense which is then itself condemned as “partisan” by partisan Republicans with a history of attacks on Planned Parenthood…

Good Lord, this is so damned stupid. Just admit you wanted a piece of the action, boys.

Planned Parenthood Declines To Waste Your Time

komen-planned-parenthood4-1As the Grand Junction Sentinel’s Charles Ashby reports:

Planned Parenthood of Colorado told a group of conservative state legislators last week to take a hike over its planned hearing on fetal tissue trafficking.

The group, called the Republican Study Committee of Colorado, announced plans to hold a six-hour “informational hearing” Nov. 9 on the so-called practice of selling fetal tissue, and invited several people and groups to testify on the matter.

Sen. Laura Waters-Woods.

Sen. Laura Waters-Woods.

The response from Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains is…well, it’s more polite than we would have been:

Planned Parenthood told the unofficial legislative committee that it was declining its invitation to appear before the panel, which is made up of 21 of the most conservative Republican representatives and senators in the Colorado Legislature.

“Their so-called hearing is nothing but a political sham to boost the profile of politicians like Sen. Tim Neville, who had the worst record in the Legislature last year on women’s reproductive rights, and Laura Woods, who has almost as extreme an agenda as Neville,” said Cathy Alderman, vice president of public affairs for Planned Parenthood Votes Colorado.

The problem is, this Republican-manufactured “committee” has no mandate or authority to investigate Planned Parenthood–let alone enforce any judgment that might result from their “investigation.” Ashby reports that the only people who have agreed to “testify” before this “hearing” are usual-suspect pro-life groups like Mike Norton’s Alliance Defending Freedom. Because both the Colorado Department of Public Health and even anti-abortion Attorney General Cynthia Coffman have refused to humor legislative Republican demands for an investigation into throughly-discredited allegations that the organization “sells baby body parts,” a kangaroo court to self-injuriously reaffirm the Republican Party’s opposition to abortion is all that’s left.

And no, our local Planned Parenthood is under absolutely no obligation to dignify that with a response.

Planned Parenthood: The Needle Mike Coffman Can’t Thread

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

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

The Denver Post’s Joey Bunch reports:

Rep. Mike Coffman of Aurora said Saturday he supports women’s healthcare but not abortion practices that “fly in the face of human decency,” and that’s why he joined other House Republicans to vote for a budget bill Friday that defunds Planned Parenthood for one year…

“Many longtime supporters of Planned Parenthood are not only shocked by what’s been revealed, but also by Planned Parenthood’s arrogant response. Until they clean up their act, we should fund critical women’s services through the many other community health partners that operate across my district, the state and all across this country in a way that doesn’t fly in the face of human decency.”

The react from Coffman’s Democratic opponent Morgan Carroll was swift:

“It is appalling to see people playing political games with women’s lives, bodies and personal freedoms,” Carroll said in a statement Friday evening. [Pols emphasis]

Last year, as has recently drawn much attention from us and others, Coffman used Planned Parenthood’s logo in a campaign ad, noting that the organization had praised a vote he cast in favor of a bill to combat violence against women. That hasn’t stopped Coffman from joining in on the GOP’s pile-on against the organization after the release of heavily-edited videos this summer attacking the organization’s fetal tissue donation practices for medical research. But in recent weeks, the campaign against Planned Parenthood by congressional Republicans has lost much momentum after a hearing to confront the organization’s director Cecile Richards backfired in spectacular fashion, with even the ambitious young chair of the committee Rep. Jason Chaffetz admitting there was no evidence of wrongdoing.

But again, and unfortunately it has to be said again and again, that’s reality. In the bubble of conservative media culture and the “grassroots” they keep in a constant state of slow-boiling panic, none of this factual stuff matters. Planned Parenthood will always be the ghoulish agency of evil where baby brains and still-kicking little disembodied limbs are kept alive in petri dishes for sale to the highest bidder, most likely some sleazy Eurotrash Bond villain type (George Soros) who wants to clone an army of fetus Frankensteins for world domination.

Have we mentioned recently that the people who believe this stuff make up Coffman’s base?

You see, folks, the reason that this keeps happening over and over again, necessitating long-winded explanations from Coffman about how he doesn’t really oppose women’s health care but has to vote like he does out of “conscience,” is simple: Coffman is trapped between the swing votes he has to hold onto in order to stay in office in a highly competitive district, and the Republican base votes he cannot afford to alienate. Just like the issue of immigration reform, as much as Coffman would like to, he will never be able to appeal to authentic moderate and left-independent voters more than his Democratic opponents–but he also can’t make too much of an effort to appeal to them without upsetting the conservative Republican base that has to be there for him in order to get re-elected.

Unlike immigration reform, an issue politically-savvy Republicans are happy to see ignored between now and the 2016 elections, Planned Parenthood is the subject du jour for the conservative wing of the Republican Party today. Holding endless show trial hearings, staging vote after vote to give safe-district Republican politicians multiple opportunities to lodge their vilification of Planned Parenthood in the permanent record, is what they want to be doing with their time.

If Mike Coffman does possess any political sense, he knows this is a huge mistake for himself politically–even if it’s not for some others in his party. But even if he does know, he’s powerless to change course.

Latest Planned Parenthood Witch Hunt Fizzles

komen-planned-parenthood4-1Huffington Post reports–remember that crazy hearing in Congress a little over a week ago that featured a bunch of Republicans practically leaping over the rail to attack Cecile Richards of Planned Parenthood? A hearing so ugly to watch than even Glenn Beck wingnut and ex-Denver Post columnist David Harsanyi was unable to defend it?

The Republicans in charge of that hearing hope you forget it:

Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said Thursday that the GOP’s investigation into Planned Parenthood’s use of federal funds hasn’t turned up anything.

“Did I look at the finances and have a hearing specifically as to the revenue portion and how they spend? Yes. Was there any wrongdoing? I didn’t find any,” he said during a Judiciary Committee hearing on the family planning provider.

Chaffetz, a candidate for House speaker, grilled Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards during a five-hour hearing last week. He questioned her salary, asked about the organization’s expenses and revenues, and pressed Richards on why the group had revenue of $127 million last year if it’s a nonprofit. (Nonprofits put their revenues back into their programs.)

But after all that, he concluded that Planned Parenthood isn’t doing anything sketchy with its money. “Did we find any wrongdoing? The answer was no,” Chaffetz said. [Pols emphasis]

After the spectacle of this much-hyped hearing, in which an unflappable Richards was personally lambasted over a range of allegations against Planned Parenthood both related and separate from heavily-edited videos released over the summer, Rep. Jason Chaffetz’s anticlimactic admission that there’s no “there” there in any of this latest trolling of Planned Parenthood makes us wonder what the plan ever was. Numerous local investigations of Planned Parenthood in the wake of those videos have turned up no violations of the law. Here in Colorado, our GOP attorney general has declined to go after Planned Parenthood despite considerable pressure from legislative Republicans.

In our experience, the Republican Party’s recurring war on legalized abortion, which is sometimes identified as part of a larger “war on women” by Democrats, is much more of an off-year pursuit than something seen during election years. Supporters of so-called “Personhood” abortion bans keep trying regardless of the season, of course, but by and large Republicans tend to put abortion on the back burner during contested elections–even to the point of shamelessly flip-flopping, or dissing their erstwhile allies who aren’t smart enough to know when this issue is useful politically to the GOP and when it needs to be squelched. After all, who wants to be the next Todd Akin?

Well, folks, it’s mid-October in an off year! So it’s just about time for abortion to go back on the proverbial shelf. There’s always the chance that this time, our media and pundit class will figure the game out and not get played like a fiddle in 2016 like Cory Gardner did to them in 2014. We hope so, but based on experience, we can’t count on it.