Colorado Abortion Foes Are Confident That the Days of Roe v. Wade Are Numbered

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

A rally held Monday by Colorado Christian University’s Centennial Institute celebrated what anti-abortion advocates hope could be the end of the constitutional right to an abortion as the U.S. Supreme Court prepared to hear arguments in a case that directly challenges Roe v. Wade.

The state’s most prominent abortion opponents gathered on the eve the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization hearing, which concerns a Mississippi law that bans abortions at 15 weeks of pregnancy, well before the viability standard established in Roe.

Among these abortion opponents was an attitude of confidence that the conservative majority on the court would rule in favor of Mississippi and strike a devastating blow to Roe.

“We must labor to not only make abortion illegal, but unthinkable,” said Centennial Institute director Jeff Hunt. “Our work is just beginning.”

Hunt compared the fight against abortion to the fight against slavery, something he’s done in the past.

“William Wilberforce is kind of a patron saint to me,” Hunt said. “I’ve modeled my life and my work in public policy after him. If you don’t know, he and a small group of people in London brought about the end of the slave trade in England.”

Hunt and the Centennial Institute have over the past several months joined the conservative scourge against critical race theory. A panel at the Centennial Institute’s Western Conservative Summit in July was titled, “The Plot to Change America: How Critical Race Theory and Identity Politics are Dividing U.S.


Heidi Ganahl, CO’s Top Republican Candidate for Gov, Is Anti-Abortion. Here’s Why it Matters.

(One election away – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

In what appears to be her first public statement on abortion, Colorado governor candidate Heidi Ganahl said she is “pro-life.”

Responding to a commenter on her Facebook page who asked if she’s pro-choice, Ganahl responded, “I am pro-life” and then urged the commenter to email her directly with “any other questions.” Ganahl did not, however, respond to multiple emails from the Colorado Times Recorder asking her to elaborate on her views on abortion rights, whether she’d support a Texas-style abortion ban, or what she’d do to combat the maternal health crisis.

Abortion access is in peril nationwide due to conservative state lawmakers passing a record number of abortion restrictions this year, including a near-total ban on abortion in Texas that the U.S. Supreme Court allowed to take effect in September. What’s more, the fate of Roe v. Wade is hanging in the balance as the court prepares to hear arguments in the Dobbs v. Jackson case in December, which threatens to end the constitutional right to abortion altogether.

As a result, abortion is on the ballot in all 50 states in the 2022 elections, which will determine whether states can protect access to abortion in the absence of Roe or if they’ll make abortion inaccessible.

While abortion hasn’t historically been a key issue in gubernatorial races here, these next few years are going to be pivotal when it comes to abortion rights and access for decades to come.

Those who have been in Colorado long enough will remember that Republicans in the state once mocked Senate incumbent Mark Udall – a person vying for the job of confirming Supreme Court justices that have the power to overturn Roe – for focusing “too much” on reproductive rights in his re-election campaign. Mark “Uterus,” as they called him, was derided as an alarmist for saying his Republican opponent Cory Gardner wanted abortion to be a crime and for the Supreme Court to make it so.

Now, seven years later, abortion rights are crumbling nationwide because of Senate Republicans’ unflinching approval of Trump’s Supreme Court nominees, all of whom allowed a law that rewards citizens for snitching on abortion providers to take effect. People of means in Texas are traveling to states like Colorado for abortion, and poor people are forced to give birth if they can’t scrape together the necessary funds to travel out of state.

Colorado politicos and members of the media now have an opportunity to not repeat past mistakes and take the issue seriously.


Denver Abortion Clinic Sees 500% Increase in Texas Patients

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Texans are flocking to Planned Parenthood clinics in Colorado after an abortion ban went into effect in Texas last month.

A law passed this spring in Texas banning abortions at 6 weeks and deputizing private citizens to act as vigilantes to enforce it took effect on Sept. 1, and ever since, the vast majority of Texans seeking abortion care have been forced to travel hundreds of miles to neighboring states to end their pregnancies.

Colorado is one of those neighboring states where abortion rights advocates, health care providers, and practical support organizations have been working to meet an unprecedented need for care.

During a press conference Monday, Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains (PPRM) president and CEO Vicki Cowart said that their clinic in Denver’s Park Hill neighborhood saw a 520 percent increase in Texas patients in September compared to August.

Cowart also said that Texas patients have traveled an average of 650 miles one way to get to PPRM clinics since the Texas law, Senate Bill 8, took effect.

“Many patients don’t have the gas money or the reliable car to begin with, much less the time away from work and the child care necessary to travel 1300 miles for health care,” Cowart said. “This is forcing people to carry pregnancies to term against their will.”

RELATED: “Colorado Advocates Are Helping Texans Get Abortions. Here’s How.”

On Wednesday evening, a federal judge temporarily blocked Senate Bill 8, saying it violates the constitutional right to an abortion and that the “American legal system cannot abide a situation where constitutional rights are only as good as the states allow.”

The state of Texas has already filed an appeal with the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals – arguably the country’s most conservative court. It is unclear how long the law will be blocked or whether clinics will resume providing abortions after six weeks, given the threat of being sued retroactively should the law take effect again.

In allowing Senate Bill 8 to take effect, the U.S. Supreme Court provided insight into how it might rule in the upcoming Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case, which concerns a Mississippi law banning abortion at 15 weeks and presents a direct threat to Roe. The state of Mississippi, along with many Republican lawmakers, has explicitly asked the court to overturn Roe in this upcoming case, in which the court will begin hearing arguments on December 1 and could make a decision by June.

RELATED: “Abortion Rights Remain Strong in CO as Surrounding States Look to Dismantle Them Ahead of Supreme Court Case

“We’re living in a scary time,” said Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser. “Here in Colorado, when people come here, we will protect their constitutional rights both to travel and have reproductive health care.”

Around half of all states in the U.S. are likely to ban abortion if Roe is overturned or weakened, which would force patients to flock in even greater numbers to states like Colorado that support abortion rights. People of color in the south and midwest are most likely to be affected by any further erosion of their reproductive rights, and although states like Colorado are poised to help, providers like Planned Parenthood are already struggling to meet the needs of patients who are fortunate enough to be able to travel for care.

RELATED: “CU Study: Banning Abortion Will Increase Maternal Deaths, Particularly for Black Women

For example, due to the huge increase in Texans needing to travel for abortion care, Cowart said that patients seeking appointments at their clinics in New Mexico have been waiting as long as three weeks for an appointment. That means that even those who can get an abortion are being forced to be pregnant longer, impacting their physical and mental health and potentially forcing them to have a more expensive or intensive abortion procedure.

Meanwhile, other neighboring states where Texans are traveling for care are moving to further restrict abortion access themselves. For example, many Texas patients have been relying on Oklahoma clinics for care, but anti-abortion laws set to go into effect there on Nov. 1 threaten to shut clinics down, leaving both Texans and Oklahomans with fewer accessible options.

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Who Is Heidi Ganahl, Republican Candidate for Colorado Governor?

(Scientia est potentia – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Heidi Ganahl

On Friday, Sept. 10, after months of speculation, University of Colorado (CU) Regent Heidi Ganahl filed paperwork to run for Colorado governor in 2022.

She was expected to formally announce her campaign this coming Tuesday and has not yet issued an official statement or returned calls from local media.

“Out of all of the lackluster campaign announcements for GOP candidates, Heidi Ganahl’s takes the cake for being the most bland and botched rollout,” said Colorado Democratic Party spokesperson Nico Delgado. “Her announcement slip-up sends a clear message to Coloradans that she’s not taking this campaign seriously nor is she prepared to be governor. If she can’t even handle a simple campaign launch, how can we expect her to run an entire state?”

As the sole Republican statewide elected official remaining in Colorado following a blue wave in the state that’s spanned multiple election cycles, she’s the immediate frontrunner for the battered Colorado Republican Party.

Here’s a roundup of the Colorado Times Recorder’s news coverage of Ganahl:


Heidi Ganahl Praises ‘Our Lauren Boebert’ and ‘Red Wave’ of GOP Women in Politics

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Heidi Ganahl

At a Teller County Republican “Big Tent Event” over the weekend, rumored gubernatorial candidate Heidi Ganahl praised the success of fellow Republican women being elected to political offices, including Colorado Congresswoman Lauren Boebert.

Ganahl, the last remaining Colorado Republican elected to a statewide office, is currently serving on the University of Colorado Board of Regents, the school’s governing body.

Despite not having officially launched her 2022 campaign for governor, much of her speech focused on how Republicans can win back seats in a state that has steadily shifted to the left, and she seemed to frame her upcoming candidacy as part of a “red wave for Republican women”:

“You know, I don’t like identity politics but I do have three daughters, and I’m a female entrepreneur,” Ganahl said at the event. “I didn’t play that card when I was building my business, I was just an entrepreneur. But last year there was a red wave for Republican women, we sent 19 Republican women to Congress last year one of them being our Lauren Boebert.”

It’s an interesting statement from Ganahl, who would have to win broad support from more moderate voters to have any shot at the Governor’s mansion. Since her election in November, gun-toting, Trump-loving Boebert has been one of the most controversial figures in Congress for reasons including but not limited to her proximity to the Qanon conspiracy, her connections to the Jan. 6 insurrection, her attempts to bring a gun onto the House floor, her lengthy rap sheet, her anti-mask antics, her campaign finance woes, and, most recently, her failure to disclose her husband’s highly-paid natural gas gig — while she serves on the House Natural Resources Committee.

Ganahl did not return a request for comment seeking to know if she’d campaign alongside Boebert or whether she thinks Boebert is a good leader for Colorado.

“I don’t want you to feel down,” Ganahl continued during her speech. “We will win, and we have won.”

“What’s next for Colorado? How do we win again?” Ganahl asked the crowd. “Well, we can look at a couple different things. We can look at the regent race and how we did that, by very specifically focusing on the unaffiliated soccer moms, right?”

In Colorado, the narrative of a red wave for women – and appealing to more women voters – has been a popular one among conservatives, particularly after the Colorado Republican Party elected all-female leadership this year. It’s not clear, however, what policies they plan to promote that specifically cater to women.


CO Republicans Manufacture Outrage Over Critical Race Theory

(It’s not just a river in Egypt – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Colorado GOP chairwoman Kristi Burton Brown.

Colorado Republican Party Leader Kristi Burton Brown and other prominent Republicans in the state have joined the national conservative frenzy around critical race theory.

Critical race theory is the academic concept of structural racism – the idea that racism is not simply a matter of individual prejudice, but is also embedded in our institutions and has a continued impact on our society.

It’s the latest conservative boogeyman, with many on the political right claiming that critical race theory is itself racist, anti-American, and “Marxist.” Some states have gone so far as to limit teaching about history and racism in the U.S. in an effort to ban critical race theory in schools, despite the fact that critical race theory is primarily studied in institutions of higher learning, not a third-grade classroom.

Cue Brown, who took to the radio last week to rile up listeners about critical race theory “being forced on or about to be forced on” kids in Colorado schools:

“One of the biggest issues around the state is critical race theory, without a doubt, because parents, I mean, shocker, parents don’t want their children to sit in school and be told that by virtue of things they cannot help, their race, their ethnicity, they are either the oppressed or the oppressor,” Brown said on 630 KHOW on Friday. “None of their choices matter. None of their character matters. Nothing they choose to do in their behavior can change the fact, according to critical race theory, that they are either an oppressed or an oppressor.”

Brown then praised Deborah Flora, whom she refers to simply as a “Douglas County mom,” for “speaking out” about critical race theory at her local school board meeting.

“As Deborah points out, reading rates and math rates are very, very bad for children here in Colorado,” Brown said. “But that’s not what the school boards in many cases are focused on. They’re focused on critical race theory and teaching children that.”

“Have your children been subjected to critical race theory? Have you testified and given your thoughts on it?” Brown asked listeners, encouraging them to call in to the station and speak up at school board meetings.

But Flora is more than just a Douglas County mom – she’s also a conservative media personality and activist who hosts a radio show on KNUS, the same far-right radio network that allegedly fired Craig Silverman for criticizing Trump on air.

In fact, a report released yesterday by the progressive media watchdog Media Matters for America reveals that many of the parents that conservatives describe as “everyday Americans” speaking out against critical race theory at school board meetings and elsewhere just so happen to be Republican operatives and media personalities.


Anti-Abortion Lawmakers Oppose Bill to Provide Diapers for Babies in Need

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg (R-Sterling)

A bill to provide diapers to families in need is moving through Colorado’s Senate, but it’s not getting the support you might expect from Republican lawmakers who routinely push legislation that they say is aimed at protecting babies.

In fact, every vote on the legislation thus far has fallen squarely along party lines, with Democrats supporting and Republicans opposing.

The bill, which is sponsored by state Sen. Brittany Pettersen (D-Lakewood) and state Reps. Kerry Tipper (D-Lakewood) and Serena Gonzales-Gutierrez (D-Denver), aims to address the rising need for diapers during the pandemic.

Lawmakers were sparked to action by a Denver Post story that documented how desperate families were resorting to unsanitary measures due to financial stress that was exacerbated by the pandemic, including “filling plastic grocery bags with toilet paper and taping them to their babies as makeshift diapers because they are not able to afford essentials.”

According to the National Diaper Bank Network, one in three families struggles to afford clean diapers for their baby, and it estimates that the need for diapers has increased 300% amid the pandemic. Diapers cost around $80 a month per child, and cannot be purchased through public assistance programs like SNAP or WIC.

The legislation, called “Emergency Supplies for Colorado Babies and Families,” would provide $4 million in funding to diaper banks over the next two years, helping them meet the increase in need caused by the COVID-19 financial fallout.

So far, no Republicans want it to pass. The bill has been advanced on a party-line vote in two Senate committees so far, with only Democrats, who hold majorities in both houses of the legislature, voting yes.


Boebert Pushing Racist “White Replacement” Voter Conspiracy

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Colorado Republican Congresswoman Lauren Boebert’s anti-immigrant rhetoric has taken a dark turn as of late, nodding to a white supremacist theory that says people of color are replacing white populations and promoting the conspiracy that Democrats support immigration because it gives them an electoral advantage.

As the American Independent’s Oliver Willis reported, in an April 10 campaign video, Boebert falsely claimed that Democrats are in favor of open borders and used the votes of immigrants to “take over” California.

“The truth is, they want borders wide open,” Boebert says in the video. “It helped Democrats take over the entire state of California, and now we’re seeing in New York they are paying 15 grand to illegal immigrants. 15 grand because you came here illegally. You can’t make this stuff up. We have to take our country back.”

Boebert’s ad echoes the racist concept of the “great replacement,” a white supremacist theory that holds that people of color, particularly non-white immigrants, are replacing white people.

Recent tweets show Boebert continuing to nod to the theory and promoting the conspiracy that Vice President Kamala Harris, who is tasked with addressing migration from Central America and Mexico, is gathering “new voters.”

On April 13, Boebert tweeted, “Kamala’s border assignment is simple: Keep the new voters coming.”

Then, on April 14, Boebert shared a news story about Harris’ upcoming trip to Mexico and Guatemala, writing, “Why visit the border when you can just go straight to the source, huh? Will she also be loading up Air Force 2 with illegals to bring them in without the hassle of crossing the border?”


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In Shift, CO Republican Leader Implies That Abortion Is an Election-Losing Issue for the Party

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Colorado Republican Party chair Kristi Burton Brown.

In a shift in tone following her election as chair of the Colorado Republican Party last month, Kristi Burton Brown, who built her political career on anti-abortion activism, signaled that opposition to abortion can no longer be part of Republicans’ strategy in Colorado if they want to win elections.

Brown’s remarks came during an interview last week with KHOW radio host Ross Kaminsky, who asked how Brown reconciles her social conservatism in a state that continues to shift to the left:

“When you talk about the pro-life issue, I’ll never apologize for wanting to protect and defend every child. That is absolutely what I believe; it’s in our platform as Republicans. However, we have to talk about the issues that are going to win us majorities. Any issue I care about, any issue any Republican across the board cares about, whether it’s the same or whether it’s 80 percent the same as each other and 20 percent a little different, if we do not win seats and majorities and actually get candidates elected, nothing we care about matters. So we have to win, we have to get back seats. Especially as chairman of the state party, that is my goal, not to push one particular issue but to actually win.” (Emphasis added.)

It’s a notable statement from Brown, whose unrelenting anti-abortion advocacy has been a hallmark of her political career, including during her tenure as vice-chair of the Colorado GOP.

Brown first gained notoriety in the Colorado political world by sponsoring Colorado’s first fetal personhood amendment in 2008 when she was just 20 years old, which would have made abortion illegal in Colorado by defining life as beginning at conception.

Brown later became a constitutional law attorney, doing pro-bono work for various anti-abortion causes and while continuing to back other personhood campaigns.

RELATEDLong-Time Anti-Abortion Activist Kristi Burton Brown Could Be Next CO GOP Leader.

Colorado voters across the political spectrum have shown a clear lack of support for anti-abortion policies, as evidenced by their rejection of four abortion bans at the ballot box over the past dozen years.

Most recently, voters rejected Proposition 115, which would have banned abortion after 22 weeks of pregnancy. A county-level analysis of vote totals shows that even Trump voters played a role in the measure’s defeat.

Brown did not return an email seeking to know if the defeat of Prop. 115, for which she was a vocal advocate as vice-chair of the Colorado GOP, leads her to believe that Republicans can’t win seats while supporting anti-abortion policies.

Despite Brown’s apparent attempt to put distance between the Colorado GOP and political fights over abortion rights, many Colorado Republicans have been digging in their heels.

For example, Republican state lawmakers recently pushed two pieces of anti-abortion legislation, one bill that would have banned abortion under essentially any circumstances and another that would have created a public registry with sensitive and detailed information about patients who had abortions.

And then there’s Colorado Republican Congresswoman Lauren Boebert, who has been increasingly vocal in her opposition to abortion, including introducing a bill within her first week in office to defund Planned Parenthood.

Brown praised Boebert as a shining example of the types of candidates the party should run moving forward.

“Perfect representation of her district, built her life there, has a story there, the people in her district identify with her and her life,” Brown told Kaminsky referring to Boebert, who’d endorsed Brown in her race to become Colorado’s Republican Party chair. “And she got out there, did old-fashioned campaigning, and some pretty awesome modern twists to how she ran her campaign, and you see her walk away with a big win.”

Brown beat out former Secretary of State Scott Gessler, who was seen as representative of the Republican establishment, in the battle for control of the party.

Boebert Outrageously Claims That Nearly a Quarter of COVID Relief Bill Could Fund Abortion

(That’s an awful lot of abortions – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) has been taking to Twitter to criticize the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill moving through Congress as a “bailout” for Planned Parenthood and to claim that it “frees up $414 billion in funding for elective abortions.”

The American Rescue Plan, which was passed in the U.S. House early Saturday, includes $1,400 direct stimulus payments for many Americans in addition to enhanced unemployment benefits and funding for vaccinations, testing, and tracing.

The proposal has been rejected by the Republican Party, with some Republicans, like Boebert, claiming that the bill provides funding for abortion.

“The COVID-19 Relief Bill, also known as the ‘Biden Blue State Bailout’ frees up $414 billion in funding for elective abortions,” Boebert tweeted last week before voting against the measure. “A COVID-19 relief bill should not include ONE DIME for abortion, or frankly for any other issue other than COVID RELIEF!”

In a video posted on her official congressional account, Boebert says, “They’re trying to tag it as the American rescue plan. I was doing a little research, and let me tell you the rescue that’s in this — A bailout for Planned Parenthood.”

While the legislation makes no mention of abortion or Planned Parenthood, there are a couple of issues at play that have anti-abortion lawmakers riled up as Congress tries to provide COVID relief.

First, the bill does not include the Hyde Amendment, which prevents the use of federal funds for abortion, except in cases of rape, incest, or life endangerment. For more than 40 years, the provision has been attached to Congressional budget bills and is annually renewed by Congress. Previous COVID relief legislation included Hyde Amendment language, but the bill that was passed by the U.S. House last week does not. Because the American Rescue Plan provides health care subsidies, Republicans want to include the Hyde Amendment to ensure that the bill isn’t subsidizing health insurance plans that cover abortions.

Second, the bill includes $50 million in funding for the Title X family planning program, which provides funding for contraception, STD testing, cancer screenings, and other reproductive health services for low-income and uninsured people. Abortion, however, is excluded as a family planning method under the program. Despite the fact that providing affordable contraception reduces the abortion rate, Republicans have been critical of the program due to the fact that Planned Parenthood has been a major recipient of Title X funding. The Biden Administration is in the process of undoing a Trump Administration rule that forced Planned Parenthood out of the Title X program, but that process could take some time.

These are nuanced and complicated policy issues, but it’s a major stretch to characterize the bill as a Planned Parenthood bailout or insinuate that the bill includes hundreds of billions of dollars in abortion funding.

In response to an email to Boebert’s office asking how she arrived at the $414 billion number, Communications Director Benjamin Stout wrote, “The absence of the Hyde language in the COVID bill means $414 billion could be used to pay for elective abortion or plans that cover elective abortion.”

To illustrate what a gross exaggeration this is, let’s pretend that nearly a quarter of the $1.9 trillion relief bill does, in fact, go toward abortion coverage. The United States is projected to have 77 million women of childbearing age by the year 2025. The average cost of an abortion is about $500, according to the Guttmacher Institute. If the United States government provides $414 billion in abortion funding, that covers over 10 abortion procedures for each woman who can get pregnant.

Stout did not reply to a subsequent email asking him to explain the math and whether it’s an exaggeration for Boebert to insinuate that the bill could cover the cost of ten abortions for each woman of childbearing age in the United States.

CO Republican Lawmakers Are Trying to Make Abortion a Felony Again

(One election away from disaster – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Rep. Patrick Neville (R).

Every year, Colorado’s most socially conservative lawmakers run an extreme anti-abortion bill that would make abortion illegal under essentially any circumstances. Every year, the bill fails.

This year is no different, so far, despite Colorado voters’ recent rejection of an anti-abortion ballot measure and the legislature’s heavy task of addressing the urgent public health and financial needs caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The bill, called the Protect Human Life at Conception Act, would define human life as beginning at conception in Colorado law and make it a class 1 felony, punishable by life imprisonment, to perform an abortion under essentially any circumstances. The legislation contains no exceptions for rape, incest, or to preserve the patient’s health, allowing abortion only in cases where it’s necessary to save the patient’s life. Medical and legal professionals have argued that similar “exceptions” for the patient’s life are too vague to provide any meaningful protection for those who may experience life-threatening pregnancy complications.

The legislation is one of the most extreme anti-abortion proposals in the country, but routinely gets a stamp of approval from Republican lawmakers as votes fall among party lines.

The bill’s lead sponsor this year is state Rep. Patrick Neville (R-Castle Rock), who formerly served as the House Minority Leader, and has additional sponsorship from state Reps. Kim Ransom (R-Douglas County), Shane Sandridge (R-Colorado Springs), Kevin Van Winkle (R-Highlands Ranch), and Dave Williams (R-Colorado Springs).

Neville did not respond to a request for comment seeking insight as to why he decided to introduce the ill-fated legislation during a year when Coloradans are facing serious hardship related to the COVID-19 pandemic and after voters recently rejected an anti-abortion ballot proposal.

On Nov. 3, Proposition 115 became the fourth anti-abortion ballot initiative to be rejected by Colorado voters in just a 12-year span. The initiative, which would have banned abortion after 22 weeks, lost by 18 percentage points, and even failed in some counties that voted to reelect Donald Trump as president. That includes Douglas County, where Neville’s district is located.

During his floor speech on the first day of the 2021 legislative session Tuesday, House Minority Leader Hugh McKean (R-Loveland) emphasized the need to listen to the will of Colorado voters.

“The conversation in the last election was the latest in a series of questions that give us insight into the minds of the Colorado voters, voters who sent each of us here today,” McKean said. “We have seen for the past several years that voters want to have a say in taxes and fees, less of a burden from income tax and we have seen that they have had a good understanding of the complex relationship between Gallagher and TABOR. We trust our voters and we have an absolute necessity to have our voters trust us.”

McKean didn’t respond to a request for comment seeking to know how he reconciles his party’s push for extreme abortion restrictions with his desire to heed the will of Colorado voters.

This post originally appeared in the Colorado Times Recorder

In Victory for Abortion Rights, CO’s Prop. 115 Abortion Ban Fails

(Another decisive win for reproductive choice in Colorado – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

In a hard-won victory for supporters of reproductive rights in Colorado and across the nation, Proposition 115 was soundly defeated today by Colorado voters.

As of 9 p.m., 59.8 percent of voters rejected the measure, with nearly 80 percent of precincts reporting. The race was expected to be close, but the results were first called by NBC around 8:30 p.m.

“Today, we can proudly confirm that Colorado remains a safe haven for access to the full spectrum of sexual and reproductive health care, including abortion care,” said Vicki Cowart, President & CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains. “Once again, Colorado voters confirmed what we have always known: that health care decisions belong between a patient and their health care provider, without political interference.”

The ballot measure would have banned abortion at 22 weeks of pregnancy in Colorado with no exceptions for rape, incest, the patient’s health, or a lethal fetal diagnosis, seriously damaging the state’s status as a safe haven for abortion access in a sea of states that place major restrictions on the procedure and in the midst of national attacks against reproductive health care.

Given that Colorado is one of only seven states that do not impose gestational limits on abortion, and is home to a clinic that is world-renowned for offering later abortion care to those with medically complicated pregnancies, Prop. 115 would have had a global ripple effect on abortion access for those in the most desperate of circumstances.

The defeat of the ban comes at a time when abortion rights advocates are preparing for the worst following the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who represents a grave threat to the constitutional right to abortion due to her well-documented anti-abortion stance and the new 6-3 conservative majority on the court. If the court chips away at the Roe v. Wade decision – or does away with it entirely – abortion access could be entirely dependent on the handful of states like Colorado where abortion is unrestricted.



Prop. 115 Backers Falsely Claim Deaths From Illegal Abortions Are ‘Fabricated’

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Supporters of a Colorado ballot initiative that would ban abortion at 22 weeks falsely claimed in a social media post that deaths associated with illegal abortions are “fabricated.”

The Instagram post from the group End Birthday Abortions states, “Don’t believe the lies that say if abortion is restricted, women will die in illegal abortions. Those numbers were fabricated from the beginning, and don’t justify taking someone else’s life.”

Proposition 115 would ban abortion in Colorado at 22 weeks with no exceptions for rape, incest, a lethal fetal diagnosis, or non-fatal health reasons.

Backers of the ballot initiative have for months been attempting to assure voters that the measure wouldn’t put a patient’s health at risk, despite evidence to the contrary and pushback from the medical community.

The assertion that women don’t die from illegal abortion, however, is a noteworthy statement from the campaign in the final days of the election considering the long, dark, and well-documented history of maternal deaths related to illegal abortion in the U.S. and across the globe.

Before abortion was enshrined as a constitutional right in the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, women still got abortions, but abortion was much less safe, especially for low-income women and women of color.

In New York City in the early 1960s, one in four maternal deaths among white women was due to abortion, compared to one in two maternal deaths among nonwhite and Puerto Rican women, according to the Guttmacher Institute.


Colo. Lawmaker: You Can “No Longer Trust” the “Biased” Postal Service

(Can’t trust somebody, anyway – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Colorado State Rep. Rod Pelton, a Republican from Cheyenne Wells, is joining a chorus of conservatives nationwide who are attacking the United States Postal Service (USPS) ahead of an election that will rely heavily on mail-in voting.

“Conservatives if you want your ballot to count, better drop it off yourself,” wrote Pelton on Facebook, sharing an Associated Press article regarding a postal service workers union’s endorsement of Democrat Joe Biden for President. “No longer trust the Postal services to do a job that’s not biased.”

The National Association of Letter Carriers’ endorsement of Biden comes after President Donald Trump admitted to depriving the USPS of much-needed funding in order to make it more difficult to process mail ballots during the upcoming election, when an unprecedented number of voters are expected to utilize mail ballots due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pelton did not respond to an email seeking to know whether he supports Trump’s attempts to defund the USPS ahead of the 2020 election or whether he acknowledges Colorado’s position as a leader in voting-by-mail.

In Colorado, mail ballots have been the primary method of voting since 2013, and despite some conservatives’ claims that mail ballots beget voter fraud, Colorado’s successful history of using mail ballots proves otherwise. Former Republican Secretary of State Wayne Williams has joined Democrats in backing Colorado’s vote-by-mail system.

Trump began attacking the mail voting system at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S., with many in the Republican Party, including in Colorado, following suit. As conservatives have expanded their condemnation to include the USPS, a highly trusted and revered institution in the minds of the majority of Americans, and as the 2020 election draws nearer, public outcry has ensued.

A wave of rallies nationwide took place on Saturday as part of a coordinated effort to raise alarm about cuts to USPS, including multiple in Colorado.

Advocates focused not only on the danger to the upcoming election if the USPS can’t operate normally, but on the institution’s critical role in the everyday lives of Americans, especially those in rural areas.

Major delivery companies like UPS and FedEx tend not to service the country’s most rural and remote areas, so the USPS serves as a lifeline for those communities, including by delivering critical medication.

Pelton represents one of Colorado’s most rural districts in the northeastern corner of the state.

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Colorado Lawmaker Likens Businesswoman Who Refused to Close Her Salon to Rosa Parks

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

If restrictions imposed to fight COVID-19 are like slavery, then those who defy those orders are like civil rights icons.

That seems to be the view of some conservatives nationwide and in Colorado who have heralded those who are keeping their businesses open, protesting, or otherwise eschewing public health rules and recommendations as American heroes fighting for freedom.

And they’re even going so far as to compare these dissenters to the mother of the civil rights movement herself, Rosa Parks.

“Could Shelley Luther be the Rosa Parks of COVID-19?” mused state Rep. Mark Baisley (R-Roxborough Park) on Facebook last week.

Luther, who owns a salon in Dallas, became a conservative hero after she refused to close her shop during Texas’ stay-at-home order, and was fined and briefly jailed after ignoring a court order to shut down.

Asked to address criticism that such comparisons are racially insensitive, Baisley told the Colorado Times Recorder via email that anyone who would criticize his Facebook musings as such is “shamefully shallow.”

“As you can see on my Facebook page, I merely posed the question, ‘Could Shelley Luther be the Rosa Parks of COVID-19?’” Baisley wrote. “I think it is an interesting concept for my friends to ponder aloud and they did. Those who dismiss the question as racially insensitive are shamefully shallow in disallowing themselves to consider the full lesson of this important moment in American history.”

The comments by Baisley, who was photographed earlier this month at a protest at the Colorado Capitol against coronavirus restrictions, come after Trump advisor Stephen Moore drew ire last month for comparing those protesting coronavirus restrictions in several states to the civil rights leader.


Campaign to Partially Ban Abortion Asks Secretary of State for “Additional Considerations” Due to Coronavirus

(You had a deadline and you missed it — Promoted by Colorado Pols)

In an email sent to supporters Saturday, the organization behind a ballot initiative to ban abortion at 22 weeks in Colorado revealed that it asked the Secretary of State to grant it “additional considerations” in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

“We are still waiting to hear back from the Secretary of State’s office on whether…we can get additional considerations surrounding the growing COVID-19 concerns,” the email from Due Date Too Late reads.

The request from the Initiative 120 campaign raises the question: As the COVID-19 pandemic forces drastic changes to public life, including stringent social distancing measures like closing businesses and canceling events, what will happen with ballot initiative campaigns that rely on public signature gathering?

In order to adhere to social distancing guidelines, Secretary of State Jena Griswold announced Tuesday that the office would suspend all in-person operations, including this week’s Title Board meeting.

Griswold’s announcement didn’t, however, explain what will happen with ballot initiative campaigns like Initiative 120, which submitted petitions to the Secretary of State’s office on March 4.


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Abortion Foe Appears to Mock Women Who Have Had Ectopic Pregnancies, Miscarriages

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

In a video promoting a bill to ban nearly all abortion in Colorado, Christy Rodriguez, Executive Director of the Colorado Campaign for Life, appeared to mock women who’ve experienced a miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy, a life-threatening condition in which a fertilized egg attaches itself outside of the uterus.

Speaking alongside Colorado state Rep. Lori Saine (R-Firestone) about her bill to make abortion a felony by defining human life as beginning at conception, Rodriguez dismissed concerns, raised by women testified against previous versions of the bill, that the legislation could result in criminal penalties for the removal of an ectopic pregnancy or fetal remains following an incomplete miscarriage.

See the video below:

“As I understand it, it does not criminalize women who have had an ectopic pregnancy,” said Rodriguez.

“That’s right,” Saine replied.

“That’s been one of the arguments during the testimony in previous years, that women come in and say, ‘I had an ectopic pregnancy. I had a miscarriage, and they had to do a D&C and this is going to… I’ll get thrown in jail for that,’” she continued, appearing to mock those women. “How to you respond to those objections?”

“Well that simply isn’t in the bill, and they’re throwing all of these red flags out hoping that they’ll convince the members of the legislature to vote against the bill,” Saine replied.

While the Protect Life at Conception Act does contain an exception for ectopic pregnancies, there are no specific protections for doctors who provide treatment during a miscarriage.

Under this legislation, performing an abortion for any reason other than to save the life of the patient would be a class 1 felony punishable by life imprisonment or death.

Ectopic pregnancy has increasingly become a topic of conversation within the abortion-rights debate after anti-abortion lawmakers in Ohio pushed a bill to require doctors to “reimplant” ectopic pregnancies, a procedure that doesn’t exist in medical literature.

According to a study published last month in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, early pregnancy loss due to ectopic pregnancy and miscarriage frequently causes PTSD, anxiety, and depression.

Responding to an email from the Colorado Times Recorder containing the link to the video, Saine wrote, “I haven’t reviewed the video yet and I don’t remember what you are referring to.”

“Any interviewer is responsible for their own words,” Saine added.

Rodriguez did not respond to a request for comment.

‘No-Pants’ Pastor Seulean Re-enters State House Race, Says His Party Bullied Him to Drop Out

(Modest Culottes! — Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Cory Gardner, Corey Seulean.

Ultra-conservative Longmont Pastor Corey Seulean, who believes women shouldn’t wear pants, has decided to re-enter the House District 63 race after dropping out in September.

In a video announcement on his Facebook page, Seulean harshly criticized “a handful of powerful elites” in his own party who he claims bullied him into dropping out of the race, saying he “did so against [his] will and better judgment.” He blamed the attacks on “the Christian conservative base of the Republican Party.”

Seulean claimed that a “sitting politician” – whom he did not name – told him he was simply a “placeholder,” and that he needed to “be a team player” and “get out of the way” for a better candidate.

That candidate appears to be former state legislator Pat Miller, who announced her candidacy just days before Seulean dropped out. Miller won the endorsement of current HD63 representative Lori Saine, who’s term-limited.

“It is not just the Democrats who are corrupt,” Seulean said. “There are many in our own party as well.”

Despite his harsh criticism of the “mafia mentality” of those who pressured him to step down, however, Seulean pledged to “run a clean campaign” and urged his party to unite against what he views as the real enemy:

“Our enemy is the liberal, socialist, radical Democrats who want to destroy our state, tear up our constitution, make Colorado be like California, strip us of our God-given inalienable rights, kill our babies, take away our national voice in the presidential election, turn us into a sanctuary state and destroy our economy by crippling our oil and natural gas industry.”

If elected, Seulean said he’d “bring God back to our state politics.”

Seulean made national headlines following the Colorado Times Recorder’s reporting on his belief that it’s immodest for women to wear pants, and that they should instead wear either skirts or “modest culottes.” He dropped out of the race a month later, on Sept. 20.

Poll: Coloradans Less Likely to Vote for Gardner if He Supports Gagging Clinics from Discussing Abortion

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Sen. Cory Gardner (R).

New polling from Hart Research Associates shows that Colorado voters are less likely to support U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) if he doesn’t push back against the Trump Administration’s recent changes to the Title X family planning program, known as the Title X gag rule.

Title X provides funding for contraception, STD testing, breast and cervical cancer screenings, and other reproductive health services for low-income and uninsured people.

Thanks to a new Trump Administration rule, however, health centers that provide abortions, refer to abortion providers, or even discuss abortion with patients are barred from receiving these funds.

Planned Parenthood, which says it serves about 40% of the nation’s 4 million Title X recipients, was forced to pull out of the program due to the Trump administration’s changes.

According to the new poll, the Title X gag rule is deeply unpopular among likely voters in Colorado. It also showed that voters make negative judgments about politicians who support Trump’s Title X restrictions.

By a whopping 40 percent margin, those surveyed indicated that if Colorado’s Republican senator voted to uphold the Trump administration’s Title X restrictions, they would be “less likely to support him in the next election” (60%), rather than “more likely to support him in the next election” (20%).


Ultra-Conservative Pastor Running for CO House Seat Thinks Women Shouldn’t Wear Pants

(We have nothing to add – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

The question of whether it’s appropriate for women to wear pants is one you might expect to see while studying the beginnings of the feminist movement in the 19th century, but probably not in a 2019 race for a seat in Colorado’s House of Representatives. And yet, here we are.

Longmont pastor Corey Seulean, who recently announced he’s running to replace term-limited Colorado Rep. Lori Saine (R-Firestone), tells women in his congregation at Hopewell Baptist Church that it’s immodest to wear pants, and that they should instead wear either skirts or “modest culottes,” a woman who attended his church said on Facebook.

Corey Seulean
Source: Youtube

When asked by the Colorado Times Recorder about the pastor’s stance on how women decide to cover their legs, a Seulean spokesperson confirmed that he does in fact believe that pants are immodest and that women shouldn’t wear them.

The comment from Melissa Ford was posted on Seulean’s candidate Facebook page announcing his campaign kickoff event.

“Mr. I am going to tell the women of my congregation how to dress?” wrote Ford on Seulean’s post. “Please pick a better candidate.”

When prompted for more details by another commenter, Ford wrote, “We attended his church at one point. He would get in front of the congregation and basically tell us women should not wear pants. We should wear skirts or ‘modest culottes’. Not sure that is the best candidate to be putting forward.”

Ford could not be reached for comment.

The post with Ford’s comment has since been deleted.

Campaign manager Benjamin Seulean, who’s also Cory Seulean’s son, said that’s because they updated the event announcement after learning that Rep. Saine would no longer be able to attend, not because they didn’t want Ford’s comment on their page.

“I did not delete it because of [Ford’s] comment,” said Seulean. “I didn’t have a problem with what she said.”

Benjamin Seulean told the Colorado Times Recorder that while the church doesn’t enforce a dress code, Pastor Seulean has made it known that he believes that the Bible says it’s immodest for women to wear pants.


Coloradans Behind Ballot Initiative Banning Later Abortion Care Hold Far-Right Views

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Earlier this month, anti-choice advocates filed a Colorado ballot initiative that would ban abortion after 22 weeks.

Colorado is one of a handful of states that don’t restrict abortion based on gestational age, and thus has become a target of increasingly inflammatory rhetoric around the one percent of abortions that occur later in pregnancy.

The initiative, which was filed by conservative activists Erin Behrens and Giuliana Day, could come to a vote in 2020 if they can gather the 124,632 signatures required to make it on the ballot.

So who are Behrens and Day?


Coloradans Could Vote on Banning Abortions Later in Pregnancy in 2020

(One election away… – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Abortion opponents have filed a ballot initiative in Colorado to ban what they refer to as “late-term abortions.”

The initiative, which would be up for a vote in 2020 if proponents gather the 124,632 signatures required to make it on the ballot, would ban nearly all abortions after 22 weeks gestation, around five months of pregnancy.

The proposed initiative contains no exceptions for rape or incest, and while there is an exception for abortions that are necessary to save the life of the mother, there are no exceptions for abortions to protect the health of the mother in cases that are not considered to be life-threatening. It also specifically states that “psychological or emotional conditions” that threaten the life of the mother will not be included as exceptions.

Doctors who perform unlawful abortions under this measure would be subject to a class three felony, punishable by up to 16 years in prison. It’s unclear, however, if women who perform abortions on themselves, or even have accidents that lead to miscarriage, would be subject to criminal prosecution as well.

Although the initiative states that “a woman on whom an abortion is performed… cannot be charged with a crime,” it also states that “any person who intentionally or recklessly performs or induces or attempts to perform or induce an abortion… is guilty of a class 3 felony.” [emphasis added]


Abortion Rights Are Safe In Colorado, But Only For Now, Advocates Warn

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

As some states move to pass the harshest abortion restrictions seen in decades, Colorado remains one of a handful of states where reproductive rights are safest.

But local reproductive rights advocates are warning that it could happen here, too, if Coloradans aren’t careful.

“We’re not safe in Colorado either,” said Vicki Cowart, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, in an interview with the Colorado Times Recorder. “We’re in good shape right now because people have worked very hard to express their support for healthcare and women’s access to reproductive health care, and they’ve held their elected officials to that standard, but it’s still not a done deal, and it could happen here.”

Colorado has no major restrictions on abortion or laws that would spring into effect to restrict abortion should Roe be overturned.

But unlike a handful of progressive states, Colorado has no affirmative protections for abortion rights in state law or the state’s constitution, either. That means state lawmakers have the power to either restrict abortion rights or ensure they’re protected.

With a pro-choice governor and Democratic majorities in both chambers of the state’s legislature, there’s no immediate threat to abortion rights in Colorado. But Cowart says that could always change if anti-abortion lawmakers get elected.

“Abortion access is very safe [in Colorado] today, but there’s an election soon, and everything can switch out at any given election,” Cowart explained.


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CO Lawmaker Says It’s Hypocritical for Pro-Choice Dems to Worry About Immigrants Who Miscarry in ICE Custody

(Stay classy! – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

State Sen. Owen Hill (R-Colorado Springs)

State Sen. Owen Hill (R-Colorado Springs) criticized presidential candidate and U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) on social media last week after she expressed concern for pregnant women who have miscarried while in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), questioning whether she has the “moral authority” to do so given her pro-choice stance.

“Detaining pregnant women is dangerous,” Harris said on Twitter last week. “As many as 28 women have miscarried in ICE custody over the past two years. I’ve called on this Administration to end this practice now.”

Hill took to Facebook with his response, asking, “How can you have any moral authority decrying an accidental miscarriage when you support voluntary miscarriage (aka abortion) up to the point of birth?

He went on to say, “It seems the only logical difference is the desire of the mother. Does this change the moral logic?

It’s worth noting that Hill’s characterization of abortion “up to the point of birth” is misleading, part of a wider effort by conservatives to stoke outrage and spread misinformation about abortions that take place later in pregnancy…


“Gun Sanctuary” Resolutions Being Adopted by Some CO Counties Have White Supremacist Roots

(Know your history or repeat it – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Nearly half of Colorado’s 64 counties are joining a nationwide trend of passing resolutions opposing laws they don’t like, asserting that their elected county sheriffs need not enforce measures they view as unconstitutional and harkening back to a movement that has roots in white supremacy.

A proposed measure to allow law enforcement to temporarily remove guns from individuals who are proven to be dangerous has led many Colorado counties to declare themselves Second Amendment sanctuaries, meaning they don’t want their elected sheriffs to enforce gun restrictions like the so-called “red flag” bill that’s progressing in the state’s legislature. One Colorado sheriff, Steve Reams of Weld County, told CNN that he’d go to jail before enforcing the proposed law.

This idea of county supremacy, where sheriffs are seen as defenders of the constitution in the face of what conservatives view as overreach from state and federal governments, has roots in far-right and white supremacist movements.

The Posse Comitatus movement, from the Latin for “power of the county,” began in the ’70s, and grew out of the Ku Klux Klan. It aimed to protect white Americans from civil rights laws that they viewed as unconstitutional. They believed that there was no legitimate form of government beyond the county level, and that there was no higher law enforcement authority than the county sheriff. Its founder, William Potter Gale, believed that the U.S. Constitution was a divinely inspired document meant to elevate white Americans above Jews and people of color.

The Posse Comitatus is no longer active, but lives on today in the form of the constitutional sheriff movement. The Constitutional Sheriff and Peace Officer Association (CSPOA) formed in 2011, and is based around the same extremist constitutional theory as the Posse Comitatus – that sheriffs can and should disregard laws they see as unconstitutional.

The movement has continued to grow alongside the anti-federal sentiment that was sparked during the Obama administration, with Colorado occasionally at the center of it, especially when it comes to gun control legislation.