A Few Words About “Mark Uterus”

Rep. Amy Stephens (R).

Rep. Amy Stephens (R).

The issue of reproductive choice has undeniably played a large role in the 2014 U.S. Senate race in Colorado. The heavy focus on abortion this year has a couple of origins: first and foremost, the successful prosecution of the issue in 2010 against stridently anti-abortion Republican candidate Ken Buck. Like Cory Gardner, Buck was a longtime supporter of the Personhood abortion ban, and this was used effectively against Buck to run up the score for Democrat Michael Bennet with women voters. In the end, Bennet's 17-point margin with women was the decisive factor in the 2010 Senate race, overcoming public polling that only once out of a dozen or more showed Bennet with a lead in the month of October.

The second reason abortion has loomed large in 2014 is that Republican Cory Gardner made it an issue by affirmatively disavowing the Colorado Personhood amendments just a few weeks after entering the Senate race. Gardner himself focused the race on his decision to disavow Personhood, and all the consequences that spun out of that decision: the contradiction with Gardner's continued support for equivalent federal legislation that would ban abortion and common forms of birth control, and dismay from anti-abortion activists on the right who openly disagree with Gardner's decision and stated reasons for it.

Focusing on Gardner's no-exceptions opposition to abortion has had the desired effect for Democrats of alienating Gardner from women voters, and Gardner's attempts to put the issue to bed early in the campaign failed dramatically as his federal Life at Conception Act became the story. In response, Gardner and Republican surrogates have decried Democrat Mark Udall as a "social issue warrior," and the standard response to this issue became feigned exasperation over the Udall campaign's "obsession" with the issue of abortion. At the Denver Post's U.S. Senate debate early this month, reporter Lynn Bartels invoked the now-famous nickname "Mark Uterus" in a question about his campaign's focus on the issue.

Of course, Bartels didn't come up with that nickname. According to a story published just before that debate, the credit for "Mark Uterus" goes to outgoing state Rep. Amy Stephens. Stephens exited the Senate race early this year to make way for Gardner. But what you might not know, because Bartels never mentioned it, is that Stephens is a former public policy specialist for the nationally known evangelical Christian organization Focus on the Family. Stephens also wrote Focus on the Family's abstinence-only sex ed curriculum, No Apologies.

Take a moment and let that sink in, folks. One of the foremost "social issue warriors" in Colorado is responsible for the meme now being used to paint Mark Udall…as a "social issue warrior." If "Mark Uterus" didn't currently have thousands of Google hits, and mentions from the Denver Post to the Washington Post, we'd be inclined to let this go. But like it or not, "Mark Uterus" has seen a great deal of play. And it has its origins with someone who, if the full facts were understood, most voters would laugh at for going there.

All we can say is, the extreme hypocrisy on display here says a lot about this race.

28 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Andrew Carnegie says:

    The person responsible for the name Mark Uterus is Mark Udall.  He has made sure 1/2 of his commercials were about abortion rights.  He was busy fighting the last war when a new candidate came along and better deflected the issue than the adversary in the last war.  It was Udall's Maginot line, so to speak.

  2. Les Ismore says:

    I personally think the Udall campaign should have made more use of the Gardner claim that he didnt help shut the government down last year. The interview with Gary Shapiro was devastating when Gardner gets that glassed over look and just kept saying, much to Shapiros disbelief, that he didnt shut the government down. You can always tell when Gardner is lying when he has that look on his face. And it happens, OFTEN!

  3. FrankUnderwood says:

    The woman who gave us Amy-Care (the local version of Obamacare) coined the term Mark Uterus.  Shakespeare had it right:  what's in a name?

    • Moderatus says:

      What does that have to do with anything?

      • FrankUnderwood says:

        Just pointing out the critical role this solid and loyal Republican played in introducing Obamacare to Colorado.  It wouldn't have been possible without her.

        So to try to make amends to the party she screwed, she coins a neat nickname for Udall.  Which isn't all that bad after all:  Udall does believe that a woman's uterus is her own business and not the business of Hobby Lobby, Antonin Scalia, Dr. Chaps, Dr. Broun, Dr. Akin, Dr. Robertson or the government in general.


        • Moderatus says:

          The health insurance exchange is not Obamacare. Stephens worked across the aisle to give Colorado something that worked better. Don't confuse the two.

          Udall has done more to shove abortion into Colorado voters' faces than FOTF has done in years. I'm a Christian and I haven't heard from them in some time. They're not politically involved to the degree they were under Dobson.

          • denverco says:

            That's because you fool Focus is bankrupt. And the Healthcare exchange is very much Obamacare – you are the confused one.

          • DawnPatrol says:

            You ain't no "Christian," you lying amoral SOB.

            "I like your Christ. Your Christians, not so much" — Mahatma Gandhi

            He was talking about hypocritical faux-Christians who do NOTHING that  Jesus instructed, precisely like you, backslider.

            • MichaelBowman says:

              This pic is as applicable to Catfish as it is Thingy2 – both climate deniers – and one of them voted to gut the nutritional assistance by $40 billion whilst offering new tax breaks to billionaires…

          • BlueCat says:

            The health exchanges are means of access to sign up for plans that conform to ACA and for the subsidies that make them more affordable. The exchanges facilitate what you call Obamacare, including the ability to obtain insurance regardless of preexisting conditions and without th insurers having the freedom to  drop you when you get too sick whenever they want for any reason. Without ACA they'd just be websites directing you to the same insurance options as before, with none of ACA's protections, without benefit of ACA's guarantees and without access to subsidies so, no, we're not mixed up.

            • FrankUnderwood says:

              I think Moddy would be content with the same insurance "options" as before with none of the ACA protections and safeguards.  The website would simply be the government facilitating the market doing its thing (i.e., pricing the sick and old out of existence).  

          • FrankUnderwood says:

            I'm all in favor of states setting up their own exchanges.  In fact, I think it's funny that those Red States with Repub governors and legislatures refusing to set up their own exchanges (e.g., Texas, South Carolina, Louisiana and many others) were stuck with the dysfunctional federal exchange!

            There once was a political party (to which I used to belong) which advocated that government services were best delivered when provided by the level of government closest to the people.

            If what Amy Stephens pushed three years ago was such good public policy (which I happened to believe it was) attracting bipartisan support, why were there so few Repub representatives who joined her in voting for Amycare?  In fact, Marsha Looper (great name for a Repub) used Stephens' support of the local exchange under Obamacare unsuccessfully in her primary against Stephens. 


          • oobapooba says:

            The reason why Udall talks about abortion is because his opponent claims to be against "big government intruding into peoples' lives." 

            It's as simple as that. 

            • Andrew Carnegie says:

              The reason Udall talked about abortion is because it worked for Bennet.  Politicians have a playbook and that was the play that was called.  If he had spent 10% of his time on it, instead of being as obsessed about it is Jason Saltzman has been for weeks, he would likely have been better of.

              In reality this was going to be a very tough race for Udall under any circumstances.  After the Obamacare website fiasco and the odor of incompetence that everyone associated with Obama seemed to share, ISIS and Ebola have played well into his opponents hands and it may not have made much difference.  

              • FrankUnderwood says:

                This may be the one and only time I ever agree with a single sentence written by AC.  Write down when it happened and where you were.  I probably won't happen again.

                "The reason Udall talked about abortion is because it worked for Bennet."  Politicians, like generals, are always fighting the last war.

                And it probably would have worked again but for the disingenuous re-positioning Gardner adopted at the beginning of March.  Yes, he was pro-personhood in the past.  That was then, this is now.

                Where will he be six months from now?

                Say what we will about Ken Buck, Marilyn Musgrave, Tom Tancredo, John Andrews, and their ilk.  At least they have the courage of their convictions and they're willing to win or lose by them. 

          • Old Time Dem says:

            Seriously, just how fucking stupid are you?  Connect for Health Colorado is the Colorado implementation of the PPACA, aka "Obamacare."

  4. Gray in Mountains says:

    I hope the day does not come when we say "Why was Udall the only one talking about women's reproductive rights. Yet I know that is the plot for the Rs

    • FrankUnderwood says:

      It's not that he was talking about reproductive rights.  He should have.  But he also could and should have talked about other stuff too.

      • JeffcoBlue says:

        Udall DID talk about other stuff. You are falling into the right's trap.

        • BlueCat says:

          No he isn't. There is no trap. There is simply the fact of where Udall is. It's pretty safe to assume that his campaign's choices haven't been optimal or he would be in a better place. Many solid Dems, male and female, including this one, agree with Frank. Up until these last days, a very small percentage of Udall's ads touched on anything else in spite of the fact that the constant barrage of abortion related ads were not moving his numbers in the desired direction.

          Udall shouldn't be anywhere near losing this thing. Those of us who choose not to paper that over and join the silly chorus of "Udall in a landslide" style blathering aren't falling for anything but evidence. And his winning, which we Dem critics hope for, won't prove us wrong if it happens. It should never have been this hard. I'm still going put in some more time on GOTV this weekend but that doesn't mean I have to agree with  all the choices made by his campaign,

  5. notaskinnycook says:

    After pondering it for a few days ,I think I've  figured out why Gardner disavowed the state "personhood bill but not the federal one. It does no good to have a state ban if those wicked women can just travel to another state. All access to a domestic procedure must be cut off if those women are to be made to suffer the consequences of their sinful behavior. 

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