Gardner’s Personhood Dodge Gets Much Harder

Cory Gardner does the Personhood twist.

Cory Gardner does the Personhood twist.

We've been waiting for many weeks now for the Denver Post to revisit the story of GOP U.S. Senate candidate Cory Gardner's ongoing support for the federal Life at Conception Act–legislation in Congress with functionally similar language to the state Personhood abortion ban ballot measures Gardner disavowed support for soon after entering the Senate race. As we've discussed in this space repeatedly, the Life at Conception Act contains the same references to rights at "the moment of fertilization" as Personhood–which could have the same effect in terms of outlawing certain forms of so-called "abortifacient" birth control. When the Post last reported on this matter, the Gardner campaign's denial that the two measures would have a similar effect was left unchallenged–even after fact-checkers and experts had long debunked it.

Lynn Bartels at the Post finally revisited this story today, and she worked her way through the spin (for the most part) to get to the facts of the situation:

"I was not right," he said. "I can't support personhood now. I can't support personhood going forward. To do it again would be a mistake."

But critics note Gardner remains a co-sponsor of the federal Life at Conception Act, which implements "equal protection under the 14th article of amendment to the Constitution for the right to life of each born and preborn human person."

Coloradan Keith Mason, president of Personhood USA, said the federal proposal mirrors state personhood efforts, which can be interpreted to mean prosecution for those performing abortions, "which I welcome," he added… [Pols emphasis]

"The federal proposal in question simply states that life begins at conception, as most pro-life Americans believe, with no change to contraception laws as Sen. Udall falsely alleges," [Gardner spokesman Alex Siciliano] said.

But as the Colorado Personhood abortion ban's chief proponent Keith Mason says above, and validates with expert opinion, Personhood and the Life at Conception Act are "mirrors" of one another. Gardner said flat-out when he abandoned support for the state Personhood measures, "the fact that it restricts contraception, it was not the right position." Now to be fair, Mason says he doesn't think either measure would ban contraception. But that doesn't matter: if what Gardner claims about Personhood is true, the same must be true of the Life at Conception Act, because they say the same thing. Again, the operative language in the Life at Conception Act:

The terms "human person" and "human being" include each and every member of the species homo sapiens at all stages of life, including the moment of fertilization, [Pols emphasis] cloning, or other moment at which an individual member of the human species comes into being.

And the full text of Amendment 48, the 2008 Personhood abortion ban measure:


This is why is was so important for Gardner to have removed himself as a co-sponsor of the Life at Conception Act before Congress adjourned last week, which he failed to do. There was no way Gardner was going to be able to get to November without this obvious discrepancy being exposed. Either both Personhood and the Life at Conception Act would result in banning birth control, or neither would. And Gardner has already validated the argument that Personhood would "restrict contraception." In short, Gardner is screwed.

Our friend Jason Salzman also has a post up about today's story, noting an error by Bartels on legislation Gardner sponsored in 2007–legislation that would have, despite one misleading clause, likely restricted the legality of some forms of contraception. It's a valid point that further underscores Gardner's long duplicity on this issue as he tries to please the hard-right champions of this issue while remaining electable to higher office. But it shouldn't take away from the many things Bartels got right in this story, things that voters need to understand about the issue before ballots drop.

Despite his best attempts, this is the needle Gardner couldn't thread. And there will be a high price.


19 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Andrew Carnegie says:

    Pols, Jason and Personhood.  May ye rest in peace.

    Gardner is pulling away and Udall and Personhood were left at the station.

  2. DawnPatrol says:

    "Yeah, who are you gonna believe — me, or your lying eyes?" – Con Man Cory Gardner

    Classic case of a blatant sleight of hand attempt gone terribly wrong. We're not ALL gullible rubes like the majority of your present constituents, soon-to-be-ex congressman.

  3. Craig says:

    Please.  Stop encouraging Udall to continue on this line of attack.  Enough already.  Everything else is getting lost.  Gardner is getting away with lying about his other positions because no one is hearing from Udall on anything but abortion.  I know there are other commercials, but by now people have tuned out on any Udall commercial thinking it's just another abortion commercial.  My wife, who is your very typical suburban white female voter (i.e. the ones who Udall needs) has tuned out.  Frankly, as a former President of Coloradl NARAL, i've tuned out too.  Get over it.  Everyone who needs to know Garnder won't let a woman have an abortion even if she is raped knows.  Get on with other stuff.  And, oh by the way, there aren't 40 days until the election. There are 20 days until ballots drop and half of them will be returned within a week.  That's 20 days.

    • ModeratusModeratus says:

      They're not listening because this is all they have to talk about.

      • DawnPatrol says:

        Dream on, shill.

        • BlueCatBlueCat says:

          Unfortunately the "pros" seem to share modster's view and are insisting on all abortion all the time which does indeed make it look like that's all they've got. Pretty stupid if you ask me, since they have so much more. 

          Shooting the messenger isn't going to turn those polls around. Getting the know it all ops to listen and make adjustments, based on polls, for God's sake, not on what naive newbie volunteers and stubborn progressive base Dem amateurs think, is what it's going to take. 

          If I were a rightie, I'd be doing a little gloating too right now and you know damn well how energized Dems would be if the shoe were on the other foot. Well it isn't. If there's no change in the ad strategy modster may well be having the last laugh. And Piss Ant will be completely insufferable. 

          This is one of the must have seats to avoid a Mitch McConnell controlled Senate. This is no time for the ops to get huffy about how they know what's best despite the evidence of our lyin' eyes. 

          After all, just one election before Wadhams started his morph into serial clueless loserhood he was the brilliant political op success. Stuff happens. Circumstances change. Brilliant ops become has been losers in an eye blink because they're so in love with their  smug sense of superiority.  There is no reason why Udall shouldn't win this election, none, and if he doesn't  the blame will be placed at the feet of the ops who blew it. And that's where it will belong.

  4. DavieDavie says:

    Not to mention that it would also ban in-vitro fertilization, since those frozen "human beings" would have full rights to be carried in some (un)willing woman's womb (assuming it was legal to freeze them in the first place)

    And stem cell research, well, forget that!

  5. denverco says:

    Interesting, the last time gardner had polls with him leading the same bullshit was spouted by the same trools – it's over, Udall is finished. Then when the next polls showed Udall ahead -neither one of these brain dead trolls was heard from – typical.

  6. BlueCatBlueCat says:

    Et tu pols? This is exactly what we don't need more of. Enough already, Modster is right about that but very wrong about that being all Dems have. It's just the opposite. There's so much more for Udall to run on. 

    Please stop encouraging this single issue fixation. Everybody knows all they're ever going to know about this. It is obviously no longer bringing him more support. There are so many other issues that could bring fresh looks and are not being used to anywhere near their full advantage. For every ad about Udall's support for the flod victims while Gardner helped shut down the government there's a zillion on this. Still. And no ads showing Udall's independence on important issues like our right not to be spied on in indiscriminate dragnets. 

    Look at those polls on voter concerns on tax fairness and priorities and job creation which the Rs really suck at. There is no earthly reason for Udall's campaign to behave as if this is all they've got and even Piss Ant is right that it looks (in homage to Modster but please, dear, no graphic) like beating a dead horse because they've got nothing else.  And, one more time.. they have so much more!  This is really pissing me off.

    • The realistThe realist says:

      I'm hearing the same concern from active Dems in my neck of the woods. I'm also hearing the campaign pros say that this issue is the key one for average voters who don't inform themselves on all the issues. I don't know if I believe it or not. I do know that there are MANY concerned Dems because of so many important (winning) issues (for Dems) being left on the table.

      • BlueCatBlueCat says:

        If it's so key why is it clearly no longer moving the polls in Udall's direction any more? Arrogant know it all generals fighting the last war.

        • DavieDavie says:

          I think a good way to close out the abortion/choice issue on a high note and free up resources to discuss other critical issues (esp. contrasting Colorado's boom vs. Kansas' bust) is with something like this:

          If men could get pregnant, no one would be proposing a ban on abortion.

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