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August 18, 2022 11:06 AM UTC

Republicans Can't (and Won't) Dodge Abortion in 2022

  • by: Colorado Pols

Colorado Republicans have been telegraphing their fear about the abortion issue sinking their hopes in 2022 — as well they should — and a new ad from Sen. Michael Bennet drives this point home further.

We’ll have more on that in a moment, but first…lest there be any confusion on the subject, former militia leader and current State Republican Party Chair Kristi Burton Brown today punctured any Republican candidate’s hopes of continuing to dance around the topic of abortion:

This will probably cause no small amount of heartburn in GOP campaign offices around the state today. Meanwhile, Jesse Paul of The Colorado Sun reports on Bennet’s new TV spot highlighting the fact that there is a very clear choice between the U.S. Senate candidates when it comes to abortion rights:

Democrats see Joe O’Dea’s stance on abortion as an area of weakness heading into the November election, as highlighted by a new television ad unveiled Thursday by Democratic U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, O’Dea’s opponent.

The ad, which will run for two weeks across the state, is Bennet’s first one attacking O’Dea. It’s an opening offensive that signals he plans to make abortion access, in the wake of Roe v. Wade being overturned in June after nearly five decades, a key pillar of his 2022 reelection campaign.

Democrats up and down the ballot in Colorado this year, from the attorney general’s contest to the highly competitive new 8th Congressional District to legislative races that will decide which party controls the state Capitol, are running on a promise to protect abortion access.


Cory Gardner’s toothy grin

Paul writes that this new Bennet ad is a reminder of U.S. Sen. Mark Udall’s 2014 campaign that highlighted then-U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner’s opposition to abortion. There are certainly some similarities with the 2014 Senate race in Colorado, but most importantly is the lesson that all Coloradans learned from not taking Udall’s warnings seriously. The editorial board of The Denver Post infamously endorsed Gardner in 2014, with one particular paragraph that will not soon be forgotten:

[Gardner’s] past views on same-sex marriage are becoming irrelevant now that the Supreme Court has let appeals court rulings stand and marriage equality appears unstoppable. And contrary to Udall’s tedious refrain, Gardner’s election would pose no threat to abortion rights. 

The Post editorial board memorably rescinded their Gardner endorsement in March 2019 after it had become painfully clear that Gardner did not actually stand for any of the things he campaigned about five years earlier. To be clear, Gardner was open about his opposition to abortion; he just avoided the subject by claiming that it was “settled law” in the United States. As the Supreme Court’s June decision on the Dobbs v. Jackson case that essentially overturned Roe v. Wade confirmed, the threat to abortion rights was very real (and now, so is the threat to same-sex and interracial marriage).

As Paul continues for the Sun:

While Gardner’s abortion opposition was fairly clear, O’Dea, who was panned by some Republicans during the U.S. Senate primary for being too weak on the issue, has left some notable gaps in his stance.

He opposes late-term abortions, but he hasn’t defined what constitutes an early term or late-term abortion, except to say that abortions should be banned in the last three months of pregnancy.

“It has something to do with viability,” O’Dea, who opposed Roe v. Wade being overturned, said during a Sun debate when pressed on his position. “I don’t believe that I get to weigh in on that.”

O’Dea can try to pirouette around the issue all he wants. The truth is that there are only two comments from the Republican Senate nominee that really matter: 1) O’Dea has said “Personally, I’m very pro-life”, and 2) O’Dea says that he would have supported all of the recent Supreme Court nominees put forward by former President Donald Trump that paved the road to ending Roe v. Wade.

Bennet supports legislation prohibiting government restrictions on abortion access, including the Women’s Health Protection Act. In addition to those two key comments above, O’Dea also opposes the Reproductive Health Equity Act (RHEA) in Colorado. As Bennet’s new ad points out, if you are a Colorado voter concerned about protecting abortion rights, there is no debate over which candidate you should support for U.S. Senate.

[mantra-pullquote align=”center” textalign=”center” width=”95%”]“I’ve been very transparent, very open about my position on abortion. It’s a settled question in this state.”

     — Republican Congressional candidate Barbara Kirkmeyer[/mantra-pullquote]


And it’s not just the U.S. Senate race where this distinction is clear. Republican candidates for Congress in CO-07 (Erik Aadland) and CO-08 (Barbara Kirkmeyer) have been unambiguous about their opposition to abortion rights. Attorney General hopeful John Kellner has been somewhat more opaque, though he has stated publicly that he thinks the Supreme Court got it right in the Dobbs decision.

Knowing that this position is a political problem for her, Kirkmeyer has even tried her own version of a Cory Gardner response. Again, via The Colorado Sun:

“I’ve been very transparent, very open about my position on abortion,” Kirkmeyer said. “It’s a settled question in this state, so I don’t know why they want to keep bringing it back up other than for political reasons. People know who I am.”

As Colorado learned from Gardner, abortion is a “settled question” only until it isn’t.

Words matter. Policy positions matter. Elections matter.

Choose wisely.


10 thoughts on “Republicans Can’t (and Won’t) Dodge Abortion in 2022

  1. “…..the lesson that all Coloradans learned by not taking Udall’s warnings seriously…..”

    All Coloradans? You might want to consider changing the word “all” to most or many. A substantial part of the state electorate; the fetus fanatics; were quite happy with the outcome of that race.

    1. and some of us took Udall's warning VERY seriously, recognizing Gardner's campaign had a carefully crafted message, with nods towards women's autonomy by making more birth control "Over the Counter" and claiming the Senate would not be called on to vote on the abortion issue.

      But in 2014, Udall couldn't get traction with the issue.  I hope the new world of Dobbs will mean that Republicans will be unable to get traction with their efforts to dodge the issue.

  2. The Colorado Democratic party should run an add centered around KBB's statement. Keep it simple as in "As a public service the Colorado Democratic party brings you this statement from the Colorado Republican party…"

  3. “We believe in the value and equality of of every human life at every age

    Bullshit.  They are more than happy to keep polluting industries thriving in poverty-stricken areas and making sure the direct and indirect health costs of those activities are borne by the least amongst us, not industry.  Aromatics? Geezuz, we’ve had the ability to legislate them out of our liquid fuel supply since the Clean Air Act was put in place.  Guess who keeps the industry from being held accountable? Lead pipes in Michigan?  Screw those poor children. Ozone concentrations that suppress crop production?

    You want to be thought of as the party of life? Give every pregnant mother the health access she needs.  Living wage jobs for their parents.  Maternal leave for parents. Healthy access to foods – no more food deserts (which happen to exist exclusively in poor neighborhoods).  Child Tax Credits. A good public education.  Clean air.  Clean water.  

    If we thought of our country’s children as a national resource, like we do oil and gas (or banking) we’d throw every tax break imaginable to families growing that resource. Until we think of our families in that way you’ll continue to be nothing more than the pro-birth party. 

    1. Amen, Michael. 

      Republicans are "pro-life" in a very, VERY limited way.  Apparently, "pro-life" translates into "able to compete as long as you or your family are able."  And as long as you and your family are all citizens.  And as long as you don't need to rely on Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, pension protections, consumer finance protections, or other government "interference."  And as long as the definition of "pro-life" has no application to limiting firearms.

      1. It’s hard to even frame them as conservatives. Advanced biofuels from our ag waste products (that could offset 30% of our liquid fuel needs) Nah. A focus on healthy soils, which translates to better water retention and fewer nutrients needed to grow a crop. Nah. Renewable energy that can buoy rural economies. Hell Nah. If that was a good idea Adam Smith would have made it happen by now.

        They’re not conservative. They’re some freaky mutation of a porn star whose only trick is fellating the fossil fuel, pharma, and firearms sectors. 

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