Republican Senate nominee Joe O’Dea responded today to the big (bizarre) news that Sen. Lindsey Graham is introducing legislation in the U.S. Senate for a nationwide ban on abortion at 15 weeks of pregnancy. As you might expect, O’Dea is trying really hard to thread a needle with a giant piece of rope.
As Nick Coltrain of The Denver Post reports:
O’Dea thinks the 15-week ban goes too far.
“America wants balance on the abortion issue, not a forever cold war between the far left and the far right,” O’Dea said in a statement Tuesday. “Congress should pass a bill protecting a woman’s right to choose early in pregnancy, whether a woman lives in Mississippi or Massachusetts, and there should be sensible limits on non-medically necessary late term abortion and parental notification for minors. I don’t support Senator Graham’s bill.”
O’Dea instead supports his own arbitrary ban on abortion at 20 weeks of pregnancy, which is just a different way of saying that he has his own ideas for how to assign reproductive rights to women in America.
But as we’ve written before in this space, and as incumbent Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet has explained in his own television ads, the most important thing you need to know about O’Dea’s ever-changing position on abortion is that O’Dea himself acknowledges that he would have supported all of the recent Supreme Court nominees whose votes overturned Roe v. Wade in June — even with the benefit of hindsight.
This point about supporting right-wing Supreme Court Justices has not been lost on the Republican base in Colorado. Deborah Flora is a right-wing radio host who was briefly a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in 2022 (you’re excused if you already forgot about that). As the Colorado Times Recorder recently noted, Flora praised O’Dea for this very position on her radio show on September 8.
Listen for yourself:
FLORA: Here’s the bottom line: You know, we may disagree on some of these issues, you know. And I’ve served on the board of a pro-life organization supporting women in crisis, predominantly, but one of the reasons why I ran [for U.S. Senate] is Michael Bennet is actively pushing abortion up until, or after the moment of birth. Michael Bennet voted against the “Born Alive Act,” and Joe, I know you’ve said that you would have supported the most recent Supreme Court Justices that Trump nominated, which are the reason why Roe v. Wade was overturned. So, I appreciate that, [and] I just want to get that out of the way because I think it’s important for people to know. [Pols emphasis]
First of all, nobody supports “abortion after birth.” We already have a law against that. But the key here is that Flora fully understands the functional reality of O’Dea’s support for the Trump Supreme Court nominees — and the reason that he has made that position clear: It is a nod and a wink to right-wing Republicans that when push comes to shove, O’Dea will be right where the right-wing wants him to be on abortion.
As Axios Denver wrote in August:
O’Dea’s comments on abortion are the latest example of the candidate embracing conservative viewpoints and putting guardrails on his middle-of-the-road reputation.
The other most obvious juxtaposition is how he claimed to be in favor of maintaining Roe v. Wade’s protections, yet acknowledged he would have supported Supreme Court Justices Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett. [Pols emphasis]
As we’ve said before, O’Dea’s position on abortion rights — whatever he says now — is not really relevant when you consider that he would have held open the door for the same Supreme Court decision that led to overturning Roe v. Wade. Deborah Flora gets it, as do other Republican voters in Colorado.
Everything else is just noise.