Colorado’s Abortion Rights Complacency Finally Getting Real?

The Colorado Sun’s John Frank wrote a story yesterday we’ve been waiting to see from a Colorado politics press corps for some time: an honest look at the stridently anti-abortion agenda of Colorado Republicans, who propose every year legislation as and even more restrictive than the near-total ban on abortions signed into law in Alabama last week:

Earlier this year, with less fanfare, Colorado lawmakers debated a bill to ban elective abortions that appears more severe than the controversial new limits approved in other states…

“We are never as far from those other states as we think we are. It’s only one election,” said Karen Middleton, the executive director at NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado, an abortion rights organization. [Pols emphasis]

The last 15 years of Democratic dominance in Colorado, a period in which statewide ballot measures to ban abortion were defeated by the voters repeatedly, put anti-abortion Republicans on the defensive in this state–leading to arguably the low point of the movement’s influence in 2014, when Cory Gardner messily backtracked on the issue in an attempt to muddy his own record to compete in a statewide election. Since winning his Senate seat, of course, Gardner has voted to ban abortion every chance he got, making fools of his 2014 apologists on the issue and adding to Gardner’s 2020 vulnerabilities.

The result of all these developments, from Democratic control at the state legislative level to the supposed invulnerability of Roe v. Wade to direct challenge in the Supreme Court, was a climate of complacency in Colorado politics on the issue of abortion. Republicans introduced Alabama-style abortion ban bills year after year, and attempts by local reproductive choice advocates to sound the alarm were sometimes rudely blown off by the political press corps in Colorado. For Republicans this was an ideal situation, since they could please their religious conservative base with abortion ban bills without the awareness of their actions by the general voting public that could hurt them in the next general election.

When the entire pundit and journalist class in Colorado turned on Mark Udall in 2014 for “obsessing” about abortion in response to Gardner’s wholesale deception, this complacency over an issue still central to the GOP’s agenda claimed its greatest victim. It took the election of Donald Trump and the solidification of a conservative majority on the U.S. Supreme Court to bring the immediate threat to abortion rights into focus. If the electorate (not to mention the fourth estate) had understood that within 5 years of the 2014 election we would be discussing not just the possibility but the likelihood that Roe v. Wade will be overturned, would Gardner have still eked out his 1.9% victory over Udall?

Perhaps the only good thing that can be said, now that 2014’s deception is plain to everyone and no one can deny the threat to abortion rights that exists today, is that Colorado voters will find it hard to be complacent about abortion in future elections. Gardner and the Supreme Court Justices he helped install paved the way for the overturning of Roe v. Wade just as his opponents in 2014 warned to deaf ears. Without Roe, abortion rights in Colorado like every state are truly just one election from disaster.

Fail to vote accordingly at your peril.

13 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Pseudonymous says:

    (1) Abortion rights are always under threat in Colorado.

    (2) Mark Udall ran a shit campaign that over-relied on (1) as a lever to keep him in the Senate.  It failed.

    • Conserv. Head Banger says:

      I don't think it was Udall running a bad campaign. Rather, it was the young hot-shots from inside the Beltway who came up with that so-called strategy. If Udall had ran more on his public lands record, he would still be in office.

      All that being said, people need to further bear in mind that many of the same anti-abortion advocates also want to ban some forms of birth control, or all birth control. I saw this link on Yahoo a while back: the pill kills dot org.

      The only thing the religious zealots have yet to hit on, if they get their way, is the availability of condoms in mens' rooms at truck stops on the interstates.

      • unnamed says:

        people need to further bear in mind that many of the same anti-abortion advocates also want to ban some forms of birth control, or all birth control. 

        I don't know about everybody else, but yeah. I know.  Goes to show, it is not about protecting life, it's about control over womens' bodies.  Plain and simple

        • RepealAndReplace says:

          If those people want to voluntarily refrain from procreating themselves, I'm all for that. They would be doing humanity a great favor. Charles Darwin's theory in action.

          • Gilpin Guy says:

            They want to do the exact opposite.  They want to brith as many children as possible until the woman is beyond child bearing age which for them is in the 40's.  They have zero awareness of overpopulation or planetary balance.  None.  The most gluttonous people you will ever meet.

            • Gilpin Guy says:

              I don't call them Christians because they aren't.  They are Evangelicals which means something totally different from helping the poor and welcoming the stranger.  Words should have specific meaning and to mean Christian means someone who honors and expresses their commitment to the Christ by being serving and humble people who help those less fortunate and see the good in others.  These fools hate everyone who isn't like them and glorify an anti-Christ with fanatical devotion.  They ain't Christians by a long shot.

        • MADCO says:

          It is and it isn't

          It's the path to controlling income, wealth and power that accompanies both.

          So yes, it is. But it's part of the bigger goal

        • mamajama55 says:

          "Controlling the means of reproduction" is key to every social liberation movement: Goldberg, and many feminist theorists for the last couple of centuries.

          Women’s rights are often treated as mere appendages to great questions of war, peace, poverty and economic development. But with networks of social traditionalists, feminists and government bureaucrats struggling to remake gender and childbearing norms worldwide, the battle to control sex and reproduction has become a high-stakes enterprise determining the fate of nations and individuals alike.

          • MADCO says:

            But wasn't it mostly women who said that?
            So … you know.

            • mamajama55 says:

               Exactly. When women speak and lead, real social change can happen. Until then, it's all what famous writer-activist Rita Mae Brown called "Dixie Cups"….. same stuff, different container.

              And before y’all jump up and rant about oppressive women leaders being “just as bad”, yes, there are Musgraves, Saines, Marbles, Perons enough to show that women can be as big a-holes and “lead” for personal enrichment, just like men do. So no, it isn’t all about gender.

              Trusting women with decisions over their own bodies (control over the means of reproduction) is the ultimate empowerment of gut knowledge from the “inside out” and “bottom up”, however your spatial/social map works.

              It’s why I became disillusioned with socialists and communists early on; they would ramble on about dictatorships of proletariats and what not, but consolidated elite control and power away from the people at the bottom in a heartbeat.

              Democratic capitalism, with all its flaws, works better to empower people to keep their institutions vibrant and decisions accountable.

              social theory/

      • Voyageur says:

        Udall had a great environmental record in a state where that plays well.  But yes, the 14 year-olds running the campaign thought abortion was the magical wand.  Part of the problem was third party pro-abortion ads sounding their one-note themes when the Udall campaign itself was trying to broaden the playing field.

        And it didn't help when the long-ago liberal Denver Post said "Hey, Cory is cool on abortion. Trust us on this. "

  2. 2Jung2Die says:

    Don't take this as a criticism of a generally good story, but NARAL and Planned Parenthood got mentioned while Americans United for Life did not. You could think of them as the "ALEC of Abortion," as they work to get state anti-abortion legislation passed in favorable legislative chambers and have a page on their site talking about judicial nominees – of course, the judicial system can strike down state legislation but watch out if the courts get packed…

  3. Voyageur says:

    Help me out, R&R.  Why do the preachers who yell about abortion all day demonize gays all night?

    Truth be told, gays have their share of problems. But an epidemic of unwanted pregnancies terminated by abortion is not one of them.

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