Late last week, Rep. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), who’d championed a radical anti-abortion policy called “personhood” measures, announced he’d changed his mind. Despite years of support for the idea, Gardner is now running for the U.S. Senate, and has decided it was time to flip-flop.
Yesterday in the Rocky Mountain State, he got a little company.
GOP Congressman Mike Coffman is no longer supporting personhood, his campaign confirmed Tuesday, making him the second Republican in the last five days to disavow the movement to ban abortion – even in cases of rape or incest – that he’d previously supported.Coffman, R-Aurora, made his abrupt 180 on the issue public through his campaign just hours after his opponent, Democrat Andrew Romanoff, challenged Coffman to do so.
Coffman, who has had trouble in the past explaining his reversals, may have been motivated to reverse course because of redistricting. His 6th congressional district was considered a pretty safe seat for Republicans, but Colorado redrew the lines a bit and Coffman is now being targeted by Democrats.
Asked to explain the change, Coffman’s campaign manager said the congressman didn’t support personhood “in 2012 and “he doesn’t in 2014.”
Colorado voters easily rejected personhood ballot measures in 2008 and 2010 – back when Coffman was on board with the idea – so when his campaign manager says Coffman didn’t support the measure “in 2012,” he’s referring to a fight that didn’t exist. Indeed, there’s no evidence the congressman ever publicly distanced himself from the policy until yesterday.
The National Republican Congressional Committee added that it’s “despicable” for Andrew Romanoff, Coffman’s Democratic challenger, to “use women’s issues as a political pawn.”
I have no idea what that means.
While we’re on the subject, let’s also note that when Cory Gardner says he’s changed his mind about this issue, there’s still some nuance to his position. Jed Lewison noted yesterday:
Okay, so here’s an interesting twist to GOP Rep. Cory Gardner’s flip-flop on supporting a personhood amendment: Despite claiming that he no longer supports personhood legislation, he has been a cosponsor of Federal personhood legislation since July.According to the text of the “Life at Conception Act,” the bill is designed to “implement equal protection for the right to life of each born and preborn human person” and codify the notion that the “terms human person and human being include each and every member of the species homo sapiens at all stages of life, including the moment of fertilization.”That’s pretty much the same thing as the Colorado personhood amendment, so if Gardner now opposes that, he must also oppose the legislation that he cosponsored in July, right?
Well, they certainly seem like the same thing, except one is federal and one is state – and if the federal version were signed into law, it would apply to all states.
So maybe it’s time to clarify: does Coffman agree with personhood as a policy or not?