CBS News reports on the latest attempt in the GOP-controlled U.S. Senate to ban abortions after 20 weeks, a number considered arbitrary by experts and an incremental step toward outlawing all abortions by pro-choice advocates:
Senate Democrats thwarted a Republican effort to ban late-term abortions on Tuesday as GOP leaders strained to avoid a government shutdown in eight days over the dispute – all against a tangled backdrop of presidential politics…
On Tuesday, Senate Democrats blocked a GOP measure to prohibit most late-term abortions. The Senate voted 54-42 to move ahead on the legislation, but that fell six votes short of the 60 needed to crack a filibuster mostly led by Democrats.
Tuesday’s vote was the second time since this summer’s release of videos involving Planned Parenthood that Senate Democrats have derailed an abortion-related drive by the GOP. It was held less than 48 hours before a first-ever papal address to Congress by Pope Francis, who leads a Roman Catholic Church that rejects abortion…
“We should stand for our principles, and our principles should not be surrendering to the Democrats,” another presidential candidate, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, said Tuesday.
Republican Senators Susan Collins and Mark Kirk joined with Democrats in voting to block the 20-week abortion ban bill, a similar version of which had already passed the Republican-controlled Congress. The vote on the 20-week abortion ban is just one of several attacks on reproductive rights moving forward in the wake of the heavily edited undercover videos released over the summer attacking Planned Parenthood over fetal tissue donations for medical research.
Reading today’s Denver Post, you might get the impression that no Colorado Senators took part in yesterday’s vote at all. The Post ran an AP wire story that made no mention of how Colorado’s two Senators voted on the 20-week abortion ban. But for the record, Sen. Michael Bennet (D) voted no, and Sen. Cory Gardner (R) voted yes.
We know some of our readers will be less than happy about us once again calling out Colorado’s newspaper of record, The Denver Post, for their endorsement last October of now-Sen. Cory Gardner for election over Democratic incumbent Sen. Mark Udall. But as everyone who lived and voted in Colorado last year is aware, abortion played an outsize role in last year’s U.S. Senate election in Colorado. Within weeks of entering the U.S. Senate race, Cory Gardner publicly renounced his support for the so-called “Personhood” abortion ban ballot measures that Coloradans have rejected at the polls over and over in recent years. Democrats seized on Gardner’s flip-flop on “Personhood” to paint Gardner as untrustworthy, highlighting his continued sponsorship of an equivalent “Life at Conception Act” that contained the same language as the “Personhood” abortion bans.
With only a few exceptions, the remainder of the Senate race in 2014 became a farcical exercise in which Udall, and belatedly some members of the local press, did everything they could think of to force Gardner to acknowledge the clear conflict between his abandonment of “Personhood” and his continued support for functionally equivalent abortion bans in Congress. Gardner’s response to this onslaught was to unflappably deny and deflect, while surrogates loudly complained about the “single social issue” attack on Gardner from Udall’s campaign.
Gardner’s two-pronged response of denial and affected exasperation by surrogates and friendly pundits received its biggest boost by far from the Post’s endorsement of Gardner, which dissed Udall’s “tedious” abortion attacks in the harshest possible terms, and asserted bluntly for the record that “Gardner’s election would pose no threat to abortion rights.” The endorsement thrilled Republican backers of Gardner but shocked and dismayed Democrats, who viewed it as a devastating and fundamentally dishonest blow to their central campaign theme. And again: it wasn’t the theme that Democrats chose, Gardner chose it himself by flip-flopping on “Personhood” in a fake attempt to moderate on the issue.
It’s necessary to understand all of this in order to realize why the Colorado pundit class’ defense of Gardner last year, which culminated in the Denver Post’s dishonest endorsement, has proven so persistently galling to women and reproductive choice advocates. We haven’t seen it officially confirmed and probably never will, but there is evidence to suggest that the endorsement of Gardner has seriously damaged the Post’s credibility with readers in the long term–as well as its bottom line following a rash of subscription cancellations that reportedly occurred after that endorsement. The Post has been in a financially declining position for years, like so many newspapers around the country. But the Gardner endorsement was an unforgivable breach of faith, relying on a demonstrable falsehood that is playing out in national news less than a year later.
At the very least, an acknowledgement of what Gardner is actually doing as a Senator would be a start. But by negating the issue on the campaign trail and now ignoring Gardner’s actions that prove them wrong, the Denver Post is utterly failing in its duty to inform the voting public–from the newsroom to the editorial board.