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November 10, 2015 08:37 AM UTC

Oh, You Mean THAT War on Women

  • by: Colorado Pols
Rep. Gordon Klingenschmitt (R).
Rep. Gordon Klingenschmitt (R).

The Durango Herald’s Peter Marcus reports from yesterday’s standing-room-only “hearing” (parentheses explained below) held by the Republican Study Committee of Colorado at the Capitol. The announced subject of yesterday’s all-day public event was something they called “fetal tissue trafficking,” but the event quickly devolved into a free-for-all anti-abortion speechification exercise:

Colorado Republicans on Monday held a listening session at the state Capitol that quickly turned into a trial of Planned Parenthood.

The Republican lawmakers who spearheaded the six-hour packed listening session said the purpose of the event was strictly “informational” in an effort to guide future policy decisions. It followed similar hearings on the congressional level.

Republicans are considering legislation for next year in an effort to crackdown on Planned Parenthood, though such measures would face a tough climb in a Legislature split between Republicans and Democrats.

As CBS4 reports, yesterday’s “hearing,” which was a completely nonofficial event that, as Sen. Chris Holbert took pains to note yesterday, will not result in any state staff time or legislator per diem pay, is nonetheless a prelude to what we can expect to see in the 2016 legislative session:

The Republican Study Committee of Colorado met at the state Capitol to discuss video tapes and legislation in response to them. Eight Republican state lawmakers met for what they called an “informational hearing” on fetal tissue trafficking.

“There’s a problem and we’re trying to get down to the essence of what the facts are here in Colorado,” said Sen. Kevin Lundberg, R-Larimer County.

The meeting comes after a secretly recorded tape showed a doctor from Planned Parenthood of the Rockies talking about fetal tissue donation. Republicans say it shows the doctor trying to sell fetal tissue for profit, which is against the law. But the attorney general and state health department declined to investigate, prompting Republicans to launch their own investigation.

State Sen. Owen Hill.
State Sen. Owen Hill.

As the Colorado Springs Gazette’s Megan Schrader writes, GOP lawmakers busily working on gratuitous Planned Parenthood troll-bills for 2016 are shocked, shocked mind you, that nobody wants to have anything to do with this:

Sen. Owen Hill, R-Colorado Springs, has pulled a bill title to defund Planned Parenthood, a nonprofit that provides abortions in Colorado along with other family planning and health screening services. Hill was not at the meeting, but Sen. Kevin Lundberg, R-Berthoud, said he had spoken to Hill about the bill.

Sen. Kent Lambert, R-Colorado Springs, said he was concerned about the testimony he heard and had questions for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and the research facilities at CSU that procure fetal tissue. He said he was surprised that both organizations declined an invitation to participate in the event.

From Planned Parenthood and their liberal allies, while obviously condemning the entire spectacle, an enthusiastic response that signals a willingness, even eagerness to take Republicans head-on:

“These out-of-touch politicians should be ashamed of their relentless attacks on women’s health and their unending waste of taxpayer resources for their anti-women’s health political agenda,” said Cathy Alderman, spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood Votes Colorado…

“I find it curious – and somewhat humorous – that Republican lawmakers are holding this ‘hearing’ when no wrongdoing has been found after numerous investigations, and that our state’s Republican Attorney General herself opted to not investigate Planned Parenthood,” said Senate Minority Leader Lucia Guzman, D-Denver.

“Like the GOP’s ridiculous show hearings in Washington, D.C., Colorado Republicans have proven once again today that the ‘war on women’ is alive and well in our state,” said ProgressNow Colorado executive director Amy Runyon-Harms. “There’s a very good reason why Governor Hickenlooper, the state public health department, and nearly every other state agency declined to attend today’s sham ‘hearing’–in addition to Planned Parenthood. The so-called ‘Republican Study Committee of Colorado’ has no authority whatsoever to investigate anyone, and this all-day waste of time produced no new information. There is still no evidence that Planned Parenthood broke any law, and the people of Colorado support the lifesaving medical research performed by Colorado State University and other leading educational institutions.”

Sen. Laura Waters-Woods.
Sen. Laura Waters-Woods.

In the 2014 elections, a even larger amount of oxygen than usual was expended on the battle over abortion politics. Here in Colorado, this largely took the form of Republicans downplaying the issue, effacing their own stridently anti-abortion records, and shrilly accusing their opponents of overplaying something that isn’t the GOP’s “highest priority.”

The release this summer of edited undercover videos attacking Planned Parenthood’s longstanding fetal tissue donation programs, which has failed to uncover any actual evidence of wrongdoing, has also completely undone this successful 2014 strategy of taking abortion off the table as a campaign issue. From the state legislature to Rep. Mike Coffman, it’s just not going to possible to run away from what remain toxic records on abortion with the November electorate. These videos have forced them all back on the record. Far from “changing the game” in the battle over abortion, the videos have only riled up extant pro-life base Republican voters who were going to vote Republican anyway. And the tradeoff of votes it will cost Republicans in the 2016 elections, all for legislation guaranteed to die in either the Democratic Colorado House or on Gov. John Hickenlooper’s desk, is simply a losing political bargain.

But folks, they’ve made their choice. Yesterday’s hearing featured Rep. Gordon “Dr. Chaps” Klingenschmitt sitting right next to targeted Republican legislators like Sen. Laura Woods and Rep. JoAnn Windholz–all gleefully bashing not just Planned Parenthood, but abortion rights in the broadest possible sense. At some point next year, when it occurs to Colorado GOP messagemakers that it’s time to shut down the anti-abortion message for election season, they may well find that genie isn’t going back in the proverbial bottle this time.

And there will be no one to blame but themselves.


6 thoughts on “Oh, You Mean THAT War on Women

  1. Here's some more Mainstream Republican Political/Religious thought that brought 3 presidential candidates: Jindal, Cruz, and Huckabee, to Iowa. 

    This freak is from CO — you've been warned:

    Pastor Kevin Swanson is no Harry Potter fan. In fact, Swanson is so opposed to J.K. Rowling's iconic series, he'd prefer that parents would drown their children instead of allowing them to read it. 

    Swanson, who is a pastor at the Reformation Church of Elizabeth, Colorado and also hosts a weekly radio show, blasted Harry Potter and "How to Train Your Dragon" in a convoluted speech at the National Religious Liberties Conference on Nov. 7, Right Wing Watch reported. His issue with Potter, it seems, stemmed from Rowling's 2007 revelation that she always thought of Dumbledore the wizard as a gay man.

    "America, repent that Dumbledore emerged as a homosexual mentor for Harry Potter, that Hiccup’s mentor in ‘How to Train Your Dragon’ emerged as a homosexual himself in order that history might repeat itself one more time," Swanson said. 

    The pastor went on to suggest that it would be better "that a millstone be hanged around [childrens'] neck[s] and they be drowned at the bottom of the sea" than "raised to be stumbled by the Dumbledores and by the mentors of Hiccup." 

    He said, "My friends, America needs to repent…of our culture!" 

    Burn children that read Harry Potter. Burn homosexuals that dare live among us.

    Rachel did a story on it last night. These hyper-partisan Religious Freaks need to be called out, like Ms. Maddow did, at every opportunity.

    National Religious Liberties Conference covered by NY Daily News.

  2. I don't want to sound cynical or defeatist, but … it is an uphill battle to make voters pay attention.   You will need Colorado's media to actually report on this extremist circus for it to really resonate with voters.  Instead of … you know … having the media downplay the abortion-and-contraception issue (or actively run interference for the GOP).  

    The Denver Post's recent record in the Jefferson County school board recall shows that their thumb is still on the scale, and that they are continuing to demonstrate the same political agenda that they had back in 2014.  

  3. Just some advice to Dems raising the (very real) specter of the "war on women."  Don't start or end the conversation with abortion or Planned Parenthood.  Super important, control over bodies critical, nasty people.  But the right-wing assault on women is so much bigger than that.

    Failure to fund testing of rape kits, domestic violence, wage inequality, unavailability of child care, higher education costs, attacks on assistance, lack of affordable housing, failure to provide transitional assistance to women who start to earn too much to get aid but not enough to gain stability, discrimination in hiring and promotion, even healthcare more generally.  All of these, and others, are a part of that war, too, and likely resonate more broadly with women and men.

    Abortion should be on the table, but I think there are better centerpieces.

  4. Hey moron GOPers – the lives people are most concerned with in Colorado are the ones that take place outside the womb.

    You might get your head out of women's vaginas long enough to read about the Colorado Springs open carry gun massacre that you aided and abetted by allowing the killer a some 5-10 minute head start because the 911 dispatcher was required to consider Colorado and the Springs in particular are open carry jurisdictions and so did not send police to investigate when a neighbor saw a guy walking around with guns and gas cans – had they gotten there within 5 minutes, there is a good chance that all three who died, including a three tour Iraq vet with two young kids, would have lived. 

    Good job Colorado GOP – your fixation on vaginas is costing us lives. 

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