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April 23, 2008 06:06 PM UTC

"Abortion Storm" Crisis Deepens for Schaffer

  • by: Colorado Pols

There’s no respite for morally embattled Senate candidate Bob Schaffer from either left or right, As the Rocky Mountain News reports:

An abortion opponent ripped Republican Bob Schaffer on Tuesday, accusing him of refusing to support the “personhood” initiative for fear it might cost him votes in his U.S. Senate race.

Steve Curtis, spokesman of American Right to Life and former chairman of the Colorado GOP, said the proposed measure is similar to Schaffer’s stance against abortion when he served as a state legislator and U.S. congressman.

The proposal would define a person as a human being from the moment of conception.

“Schaffer never had a problem being true to his faith and to his beliefs – until now,” Curtis charged.

“Bob Schaffer used to be one of us. Now he’s being handled,” he said.

That was a reference to Schaffer’s campaign manager, Dick Wadhams, who fired back.

“Yes, Bob has reputation of being pushed around by staff, he really does,” Wadhams said facetiously…

An inevitable by-product of the Marianas/Abramoff scandal over Schaffer’s defense of labor and immigration policy in the Northern Marianas territory (where forced abortions on factory workers are alleged to have been widespread), this latest exchange has broadened the front Schaffer must beat back questions on to include this year’s “Every Sperm Sacred” ballot initiative. Which is more uncomfortable a question for Schaffer than one might initially think, as the Rocky’s Lynn Bartels continues:

Udall’s campaign spokeswoman, Taylor West, said Udall opposes the abortion proposal. She said the measure is written so broadly it “would define any termination of a pregnancy as murder, constitutionally outlaw birth control pills and ban stem cell research.”

“No candidate who truly stands with Colorado could hesitate to oppose that,” she said.

Wadhams said Schaffer hasn’t formed an opinion on the personhood measure, in part because it isn’t on the ballot yet.

“It’s a lie, an absolute lie,” Curtis countered. “Of course Bob Schaffer has an opinion.”

Abortion became an issue in the Senate race after Schaffer touted the Marianas Islands’ guest-worker program. Critics claimed Schaffer ignored documented evidence that factory workers who became pregnant were urged to get abortions.

Schaffer said he didn’t see any evidence of forced abortions when he visited the U.S. territory in 1999.

Also read a transcript of a speech Schaffer gave in 2000 on abortion, reprinted in its entirety on the Rocky’s website today.

Our view: of course Bob Schaffer has a very defensible anti-abortion record. This isn’t an issue Schaffer should be fighting off uncomfortable questions on. And it’s been correctly pointed out that the pro-life groups criticizing Schaffer are on the strident end of their movement–which doesn’t make them less influential necessarily, but should be noted. The bottom line is the “Every Sperm Sacred” ballot initiative is meant to directly challenge the landmark Roe v. Wade Supreme Court case that “settled” abortion-rights law in the early 1970s, and some Republicans aren’t sure that’s a wise course politically. Unfortunately for those smarter Republicans, though, a large percentage of their base thinks it’s the greatest idea ever.

The problem for Schaffer, despite his pro-life record, is he has been clearly shown now to have participated in stalling reform in the Northern Marianas, preserving a status quo that turned a blind eye to practices  any abortion foe (not to mention abortion-rights supporter) cannot help but find totally appalling. Pro-life activists know about the situation in the CNMI almost as well as labor activists do, and to hear Schaffer deny any evidence of it (which he is forced to do at this point) is no less dismaying. They know better and they can’t reconcile what he says with what they know.

And now they want to ask more messy questions…


23 thoughts on ““Abortion Storm” Crisis Deepens for Schaffer

      1. have to bring recent pregnancy results to bars in order to be served alcoholic beverages that might harm an embryo?

        Would that be good enough because they might be hours pregnant?  Would every miscarriage have to be investigated as a possible murder or at least the result of child abuse through unhealthy choices during a pregnancy a woman might not have even been aware of?  

        Sounds like, if this initiative passed, all  women of childbearing age would have to be subject to lots of restrictions in order to avoid possible prosecution.

    1. I’m no Schaffer fan, but he’s clearly being worked over by the lefties and the fanatics on the right, which can only help him.

      It will blow over and it will be ignored by voters.

        1. I can’t see a bunch of middle-roaders being swayed to vote FOR Schaffer because he turned a blind eye to forced abortions and didn’t come out in favor of the Sacred Sperm initiative.

      1. I told the story to my wife at dinner tonight. Two very interesting points:

        1) She had not heard this. So for the vast majority of voters, this will be new come October.

        2) She found this horrible. Women pushed into sex slavery and forced abortions – that will have most women across the political spectrum very very upset.

        This will dog Schaffer throughout the election – big time.

      2. Q: “Hey, how about Bob Schaffer supporting a sweatshop system that forced pregant women to seek abortions?”

        A: “Oh, that’s so old and uninteresting! Stop being boring with all that sold-out-to-crooked-lobbyist talk. How ’bout that Club For Growth endorsement?”

        Good luck!

  1. That the personhood amendment isn’t getting the support they thought they would automatically get and they’re trying to make an example out of Schaffer to make everyone else fall in line.

    I seriously doubt that the thing will even get on the ballot.  I further doubt that if it somehow does get on the ballot that it will pass.

    The biggest mistake someone could make in this state is thinking that it’s red like Utah or blue like MA.  Apparently the personhood people think we’re red like Utah

    1. SD already rejected a similar proposal at the polls. I’m not sure what about Colorado’s recent electoral history made these people think they had any better chance in Colorado but here we are.  

  2. Does anyone know how many sig’s CER has at this point concerning the personhood initiative? I heard they needed  140,000 and had 76,000 a while back, but I don’t  know if those are good numbers.

  3. Sorry for the incorrect numbers on my previous post. A story on march 18th read thusly: The amendment needs 76,000 signatures by 13may. As of 18mar they had garnered 40,000.  

      1. A big chunk will be duplicates or non-voters or non-residents. In reality they need 25% over or more to be safe. If they have 68,000 total, they really have 50,000 valid, plus or minus.

        1. part of me hopes this doesn’t make the ballot and part of me just says put it on so it gets rejected and people can tell pro-lifers to shut the hell up because the poeple have spoken, kind of like they are doing to gay people (or would if the issue came up) regarding Ref. I.

          at least I would hope it got rejected…

  4. If the “personhood” amendment passed, it would only come into effect when and if, Roe V. Wade was overturned…which becomes a real possibility if McCain is elected and/or this court overturns Roe and returns the issue to the States….

    I think the repubs want to control abortion as an wedge issue. If the amendment becomes law in colorado and roe is overturned,  they lose a lot of ability to manipulate the issue and suddenly have to deal with the real consequences of their theoretical stand…could be brutal….

    back in 1998, Owens’ first run for governor, the American Constitutional Party (I think that was the name) a pro-life party which advocated a HLA took more than 10,000 votes and his winning margin was less than that… a third party effort on the life issue might mean trouble for Schaffer in a close race…

    Meantime, those ads with the kids are cute…

  5.    Why not?  New York RTL’ers have had their own minor party for decades with regular ballot access.  

      They don’t have to field a full slate of candidates in every election cycle; often the Repub candidates are adequately anti-choice to satisfy even the more fanatical pro-lifer.  

      But in those particular races where the GOP candidate’s commitment to the issue of abortion is questionable (be it when the GOP runs a RINO, or when the GOP runs a candidate who has trouble balancing his economic conservativism with his social issues conservatism….like Schaffer), shouldn’t the anti-abortion folks have a real choice on the ballot?

    1. The NY state multi-party endorsement system is one of the reforms I’d recommend.  It is amazing how many people will vote for major candidates on a third party line when given the chance – I did so frequently and often.  I wouldn’t recommend NY state’s ballot access requirements, though – too strict.

      If it could be combined with something like IRV, it would be great, but the two are almost contradictory.  I’d rather have IRV, truth be told; but in the alternative, the NY system is a step in the right direction.

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