UPDATE: The Denver Post's John Frank has a new story up as the Beauprez's IUD controversy grows:
Beauprez drew a rebuke from experts in the medical community who called his assertion false, while Democrats and like-minded women's rights organizations suggested it showed the candidate is out of touch.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and 10 other physician organizations, as well as the Federal Drug Administration, define IUDs as contraceptives that prevent a pregnancy. An abortifacient ends a pregnancy after it has occurred.
Dr. Daniel Grossman, obstetrician and gynecologist who does reproductive research and practices in San Francisco, said the definition of a pregnancy as the implantation of a fertilized egg is an established scientific standard. He said IUDs are not abortifacient.
"I would say in mainstream medicine this is really not a debate," Grossman said. [Pols emphasis]
UPDATE: The Yes on 67 campaign–wow:
— Yes on 67 (@Yeson67CO) October 1, 2014
No ambiguity here, folks.
Coverage of last night's debate between Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper and GOP challenger Bob Beauprez at the Denver Post auditorium has zeroed in on a pivotal exchange, in which Hickenlooper presses Beauprez on his record of support for banning abortions even in cases of rape or incest–as well as measures like Personhood which could affect access to certain forms birth control. Beauprez initially seemed prepared to avoid this question, making it clear that he does not support the current Personhood measure Amendment 67–but was quickly lured into exactly the discussion he did not want to have. As John Frank and Lynn Bartels of the Denver Post reported from the scene:
When it was time for the candidates to ask each other questions, Hickenlooper pressed Beauprez about personhood, abortion and birth control. He asked whether Beauprez would support using public money to reduce abortions and teen pregnancies.
"I have no problem with people using contraception," Beauprez said.
"I have a big problem publicly funding contraceptives that are actually abortifacient."
He said he considered intrauterine devices, a common form of birth control known as IUDs, the equivalent to a drug that causes an abortion. [Pols emphasis]
Hickenlooper touted a state program that helped lower teen birth rates drop by 40 percent in five years after more than 30,000 IUDs and other implants were provided to low-income women at 68 family-planning clinics across Colorado since 2009. The cost was covered by a private anonymous donor.
Hickenlooper also asked why Beauprez was pro-life but opposed to this year’s so-called “personhood” amendment that would change the criminal code to apply to unborn children.
“You have switched on personhood in this election,” the governor said.
“I am opposed to the personhood amendment,” Beauprez countered.
“I said that,” Hickenlooper interjected.
“You said personhood. There’s a big difference,” Beauprez retorted. [Pols emphasis]
As to the question of whether or not the IUD is in fact an "abortifacient" form of birth control, meaning a type that supporters of Personhood and other "moment of fertilization" abortion bans want to outlaw, there appears to be some debate–certain types of IUDs may be able to stop a pregnancy if inserted within a few days of fertilization, but in their normal use, IUDs are intended to prevent fertilization for very long periods of time.
But folks, that doesn't really matter. Because the conversation we are having is a disaster for Colorado Republicans.
Not only does Bob Beauprez not, whether he realizes it or not, want to get into the messy details of which kinds of birth control women ought to be using, we assure you that Cory Gardner is absolutely horrified that we are talking about so-called "abortifacient" forms of birth control. The last thing Cory Gardner wants is to start interjecting qualifications about which kinds of birth control are morally okay into his Senate race. After all, he just told the world last weekend that he would "never" support legislation to ban birth control.
Well, as it turns out, it's not so crazy! The critical point to understand here: prior to Republicans realizing with Ken Buck in 2010 that this whole banning birth control thing was politically disastrous, banning "abortifacient" forms of birth control was an explicit goal of the Personhood movement. Opponents didn't just make up banning birth control as a possible "unintended consequence." It's part of the plan. Or at least it was, until Republicans were compelled to run away from the idea after women voters spelled the difference between victory and defeat for the Colorado GOP in their greatest wave election since 1948.
And by taking Hickenlooper's bait, willfully ripping the scab off an issue Republicans are desperate to keep out of the headlines, Beauprez has done more to validate the Democratic "war on women" theme than any Democrat ever could. Beauprez just legitimized the very issue Gardner, and every other Republican interested in career preservation this election season, wants you to disregard.
What a way to kick off October.