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August 02, 2021 11:17 AM UTC

Endgame: Colorado's GOP Reps Call For Overturning Roe v. Wade

  • by: Colorado Pols
Ex-Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Joke’s on you).

MSNBC’s Steve Benen writes today:

Last fall, in the wake of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s passing, and as Republicans scrambled to confirm Amy Coney Barrett to the high court, Democrats told voters the future of reproductive rights was on the line in the 2020 elections.

And Republicans, realizing that they’re on the wrong side of public opinion, furiously pretended otherwise.

In one of the presidential debates, for example, after Joe Biden said the Roe v. Wade precedent was on the ballot, Donald Trump immediately pushed back. “Why is it on the ballot?” the Republican asked. “Why is it on the ballot? It’s not on the ballot.”

The same day, Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) insisted the likelihood of Roe v. Wade being overturned “is very minimal.” She added, “I don’t see that happening.” Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) used similar rhetoric during his re-election campaign.

Here in Colorado, where voters have overwhelmingly rejected repeated attempts to ban abortion via statewide ballot initiatives, the conventional wisdom that abortion rights were not in serious danger despite mounting evidence to the contrary took a very long time to change. In 2014, the Denver Post infamously told its readers in their endorsement of Cory Gardner in his U.S. Senate bid that “Gardner’s election would pose no threat to abortion rights.” Perennial legislation from minority Republicans to criminalize and impose restrictions on abortion in the Colorado General Assembly was trivialized by the local media, believing as they did with Gardner that the actual threat to abortion rights was remote–or happy to keep up a pretense that just happened to have saved Gardner’s ass in 2014.

In retrospect, this was one of the greatest deceptions in Colorado’s political history.

Gardner went on to participate in the GOP Senate majority’s denial of a fair hearing and vote for Merrick Garland in 2016, then proceeded to help Donald Trump appoint three conservative Justices in only four years. And even though Gardner was soundly defeated in last year’s elections, late last week, Colorado’s Republican congressional minority carried his torch in calling for the 6-3 conservative Supreme Court Gardner left in his wake to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade decision guaranteeing abortion rights:

U.S. Reps. Ken Buck, Doug Lamborn and Lauren Boebert signed on to an amicus brief in support of Mississippi, which wants to enforce its ban on abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

The brief cites the landmark abortion cases Roe v. Wade, which in 1973 upheld the constitutional right to an abortion, and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which upheld Roe in 1992.

“These precedents should be reconsidered and, where necessary, wholly or partially overruled,” the brief’s authors argue.

Even as abortion rights activists in Colorado have fought off repeated attempts to criminalize abortion, at the federal level abortion rights have been brought to the brink of ruin thanks in no small part to Cory Gardner’s role in reshaping the Supreme Court for the next generation. If Roe v. Wade is overturned and abortion rights become a state-by-state issue, Colorado is expected to become a “haven” for women seeking abortion care from states where abortion is outlawed. And of course, Colorado’s own longstanding and robust protections for abortion rights will truly be only one election away from ending.

We know there are readers who are tired of hearing about Cory Gardner and the “Big Lie” of 2014 in Colorado politics. Even Colorado GOP chairwoman Kristi Burton Brown, who got her start as the face of the “Personhood” abortion ban measures, says her goal today is “not to push one particular issue but to actually win.” A whole class of political pundits, consultants, lackeys, minions, and flunkies would like to move on from this grand yet old deception. After all, Cory Gardner doesn’t need it anymore.

If the Trump Court rules as Trump promised they would, that will be impossible. Just in time for the 2022 election cycle, abortion could be the defining issue it should have been in 2014.


9 thoughts on “Endgame: Colorado’s GOP Reps Call For Overturning Roe v. Wade

  1. Is there a quick summary of how different counties voted for those RW Culture Warrior abortion restrictions?   Seems to me that would be one reasonable standard for the re-apportionment commissions to consider in trying to define "communities of interest."

  2. I’m anti-personhood for zygotes, but that said, abortion isn’t in the Constitution.  If you think it is in the substantive due process clause, I look forward to you advocating for the rehabilitation of the Lochner decision.

    1. I find the right to privacy; contained within Roe & Planned Parenthood v. Casey; implied in the 3rd, 4th, and 14th amendments. 

      My reading is already seeing signs that if Roe & Casey are overturned, the next targets for overturning, for the religious zealots, will be Griswold and Eisenstadt, to restrict, if not eliminate, the right to use contraception/birth control.

      Otherwise, Cory Gardner is history and people who believe in rights, liberty, and true religious freedom, would do well to focus on the present.

      1. It’s also in the First Amendment because the right of association includes the opposite:  the right to be left alone.

        These crackpots won’t be happy until Aunt Lydia is running around with her cattle prod to keep the handmaidens in line.

  3. ROFL

    Hard to imagine any constitutional matters lawsuit that wouldn’t be persuasively strengthened by the learned weight of Q-bie’s joining in amicus???

  4. Let's not go completely off the deep end on this.

    Abortion was legalized by the Colorado legislature in 1967 and it is unlikely to be criminalized even if Roe v. Wade is overruled. Ditto the other Blue States like NY and CA. (Interesting enough, Ronald Reagan, as governor, signed legislation making abortion available.)

    The ones who will be hurt are poor women in Red States and that is unfortunate. (Wealthy women in Red States can afford to travel to a Blue State just as they did pre-1973.)

    But the folks who live in those states have only themselves to blame for their misery. They keep electing politicians who promise to protect their guns and their God while refusing to expand Medicaid (even though the feds pay 90% of the cost) as a matter of twisted principle. They have backwards infrastructure and poor quality education. The environment is more toxic there, and they have shorter life expectancies.

    While I feel bad for the poor women in Red States who will be denied access to reproductive choice, we have seen this train coming down the track for quite some time. The anti-choice people were willing to go to any lengths to achieve their goal – even embracing Trump. You have to admire their commit to their cause even if you vehemently disagree with their objective.

    Our side was not as committed to protecting the right to choose. We were fussy about the candidates we would support. Sometimes they didn't excite us so we would punish them by not voting in those races. (How did that work out?) Or we squandered our votes on vanity third party candidates instead of looking at viable options. (Cue La Pomposa since I made a not-so-veiled reference to Jill Stein.)


  5. Awaiting those election-cycle explanatory gymnastics and contortions that will soon follow:

    "My support of a state's right to enforce reasonable restrictions to protect the lives of mothers in no way should be taken to mean that I am completely opposed to all abortions . . ." ???

    ("Quick, somebody get me Gardner on the phone — I need to find out how he pulled this off!")

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