Ellen Roberts’ “Pro-Choice” Credentials Pulled

As the Durango Herald’s Peter Marcus reports, Planned Parenthood Votes Colorado is calling out Sen. Ellen Roberts (R-Durango), after Roberts abandoned reproductive choice advocates and voted for multiple pieces of legislation they consider antithetical to the words “pro-choice.”

Attacks against Republican state Sen. Ellen Roberts of Durango intensified this week after The Durango Herald reported that Roberts is considering a run for U.S. Senate. If she were to survive a tough primary, Roberts would take on incumbent Democrat Michael Bennet. She has not formally announced a campaign…

[Planned Parenthood Votes Colorado] has walked back support for Roberts, disagreeing that she remains pro-choice. It points to recent votes, including her support for a measure that would have created a fetal homicide law in Colorado. The bill failed after Democrats opposed the measure, suggesting that it was tantamount to so-called “personhood,” or defining a fetus as a person.

“You cannot support fetal personhood measures and be pro-choice,” said Cathy Alderman, spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains. “Despite what the proponents claimed, when you define ‘person’ prior to birth, you have created fetal personhood. Just saying it’s not personhood doesn’t change that.”

Sen. Roberts, who has campaigned on her allegedly pro-choice views but also faces the daunting prospect of a fierce GOP primary in any pursuit of higher office, protests vigorously:

“I do think it’s important to be vigilant and caring about the advancement of women in society in general,” Roberts said. “But if we want to talk about erosion, I would say it’s eroding credibility to try to insist that everybody is going to think in one monolithic way.”

Unfortunately for Sen. Roberts, this year’s fetal homicide debate, which ended with the death of Republican legislation establishing rights for fetuses “from conception,” drew a bright line on this issue–and Ellen Roberts was on the wrong side.

There were efforts this year to…remove a definition of “person” from the fetal homicide bill, but Roberts voted against an amendment that would have stripped the “person” language…

“We no longer believe her to be moderate, and we no longer consider her an ally on women’s health issues,” [Pols emphasis] Alderman continued. “Frankly, we are disappointed by it, but she may feel that is what she needs to do if she is going to go for a statewide race.”

Bottom line: Ellen Roberts had this coming. Back in 2012, Roberts sponsored a Colorado Senate resolution in support of the failed Blunt Amendment, which would have allowed any company to deny workers contraceptive coverage. This year, in addition to supporting the fetal homicide “Personhood” bill, Roberts cast a key vote against the state’s successful long-term reversible contraception program. Today, the Herald reports separately that this program played a “major role” in reducing the rate of teen pregnancy in Roberts’ own district.

And that, dear reader, is how one loses the right to call one’s self “pro-choice.”


24 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. DaftPunk says:

    Roberts cast a key vote against the state’s successful long-term reversible contraception program.

    Really?  The bill passed the House, and the only vote it received in the Senate was in the State Affairs committee, of which Roberts is not a member.

    • Progressicat says:

      I totally saw her in the back of the committee room, and she was all like "Voooooooote nooooooooo" over and over again in a ghost voice.

    • JeffcoBlue says:

      Yes, but she voted against the amendment to revive LARC funding after it was killed the first time. Guvs are right.

      • Colorado Pols says:

        Thanks, we were in the process of digging this one out of the Senate journal. Roberts voted no on Senate floor amendment J.066 to the Long Bill, which would have restored the $5 million originally sought for the long-acting reversible contraception program.

        • bullshit! says:

          Nice. I think you still owe JCB a thank-you for having your back, Pols. 🙂

        • Progressicat says:

          Does Pat Steadman lose his credentials, too?  He voted against the amendment (meaning it wouldn't have passed with Roberts' vote anyway).

          Senate Journal – 4/1/15 pp.650-51

          • JeffcoBlue says:

            If you knew where to find that, you already know the answer: Pat Steadman is on the JBC, and the JBC doesn't do Long Bill amendments. Does not excuse Ellen Roberts in the least, sorry friend.

            • Progressicat says:

              We're not friends, or you would know I'm not interested in excusing Roberts.  What I'm suggesting is that, if we're going to use votes like these to excoriate people, we be even handed about it.  "JBC doesn't do long bill amendments" doesn't excuse Steadman from responsibility for his vote any more than Roberts' former support for some aspects of family planning makes her a pro-choice hero.

              The reality is you want to find reasons to excuse Steadman and don't for Roberts.  It's often pointed out to me that this is what "reality" looks like.  I can live with that, but that doesn't mean I don't find the excuses people find for justifying their hypocrisy humorous.

              • Gilpin Guy says:

                Solution?  Vote for Bernie Sanders.  Show your loyalty to issues more than capital letters.

                • BlueCat says:

                  OK. I like Bernie and think his issues campaign can serve a useful purpose. But I kind of fail to see just what it is here, in this Colorado situation, for which you think voting for Bernie is the solution. Is he dropping out of congress and moving here to run for a seat somewhere in our state legislature? Why haven't I heard a thing about this? I thought he was running for the Dem nomination for President and hanging on to his House seat, you know, on the off chance he doesn’t win that.

                • Craig says:

                  Ugh.  Go to dailykos if you want to spout this nonsense.  At least there will be some sympathetic ears.  This website is much more practical.  And, by the way, on choice, no one is a bigger champion than Hillary.

              • mamajama55 says:

                Voting for Bernie Sanders won't restore the funding for the Colorado Family Planning Initiative (CFPI). Get ready for 40% more births of children to children.

                I do wonder what the hell Pat Steadman was thinking.

                For Ellen Roberts, as Pols said, this was just the latest in a series of votes to pacify the "pro-life" base. I doubt if it will help her at all in a statewide race, so the CFPI funding died in vain. As the next generation of 15 and 16 year old moms struggle with trying to stay in school,  new health risks, and the needs of their new infants, they can also thank Steadman, Roberts, and all the GOP legislators who didn't help these teens, for their own selfish political reasons.

                • Gilpin Guy says:

                  Your snicker meter needs some checking.

                  It's even worse, we're talking about 40% more births in a burgeoning populations.  The immigration into Colorado is a phenomenon with lots of long term consequences including more babies.

              • JeffcoBlue says:

                Ouch! Sorry for appearing friendly. I should know better…

                As for Steadman, this wouldn't be the first time that a JBC member has annoyed his/her own party with a vote against a party priority that undermines a JBC compromise. You may rightly question it but I know this happens, and I know Steadman isn't opposed to contraception. He is a JBC member and they avoid amendments to the Long Bill like the plague.

                And Ellen Roberts has no such excuse – period.

                • BlueCat says:

                  All of these misunderstandings. Must have been something in the alignment of planets or something yesterday.

                • Craig says:

                  Sorry, but I don't think it's an excuse for Steadman either.  Steadman is fully pro-choice, I met him first when I was President of NARAL and he was one of our lobbyists.  But, he needs to learn that this idea that any Republican will honor an obligation based upon an old unspoken rule or even a new binding rule is nonsense.  Sorry Pat, you don't get a pass.  Trust me, they won't support you.

  2. Gilpin Guy says:

    Wasn't it Whory Gardner who got the endorsement of this supposed independent organization and then used to burnish his center right persona.  What a joke that was.  Has this organization endorsed Steadman?

  3. Craig says:

    Hopefully, NARAL isn't far behind.

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