Colorado Republican Congressman Cory Gardner in Denver on Saturday, March 1, 2014.
Chris Schneider/AP Photo

Colorado’s Gardner tries moving left on contraception access

Updated
Rep. Cory Gardner, the Republican U.S. Senate candidate in Colorado, has been hammered with criticism over his support for Personhood measures, which would ban both abortions and most forms of birth control. The far-right lawmaker is still figuring out what to do about it.
 
Gardner supported a Personhood ballot measure in 2008, which Colorado voters strongly rejected. Ignoring the election results, Gardner supported another Personhood ballot measure in 2010, which was also soundly rejected. He then went to Congress where he threw his support to – you guessed it – another Personhood proposal.
 
Shortly after launching a statewide campaign, however, Gardner announced a partial flip-flop: he no longer supports Personhood in Colorado, though he still supports Personhood at the federal level (which, incidentally, would apply to Colorado).
 
The congressman, obviously hurt by the Democratic focus on the issue, is trying to convince voters he’s kinda sorta changed his mind on the issue, and yesterday, wrote a piece for the Denver Post in which he moved sharply to the left: he now supports consumer access to the pill without a prescription.
The least loved institution in America today is the U.S. Senate, and one of the reasons it is reviled is a zero-sum approach to women’s medical care. It’s time we changed that and adopt modern policies that make sense instead of using women’s medical issues as an election-year power play. One of the most rational ways for Washington to break this gridlock is to approve oral contraception for over-the-counter purchases by adults. […]
 
Getting the politics out of contraception will improve the lives of women all over the country. It’s time for a new generation of thinking in Washington – one that puts solving problems ahead of scoring political points.
Send this man a NARAL membership application form.
 
Yes, one of Congress’ most conservative members on the issue of reproductive rights, a long-time culture warrior who’s spent much of his career on the far-right side on the issue – in 2011, Gardner even tried to redefine “rape” in order limit federal funds for abortion coverage – is all of a sudden a liberal when it comes to access to the pill.
 
The chutzpah necessary to even try a move like this is simply breathtaking.
 
“This is really getting ridiculous,” said ProgressNow Colorado executive director Amy Runyon-Harms. “As a state legislator, Cory Gardner voted against the Birth Control Protection Act. Gardner even voted against a bill to allow pharmacists to prescribe emergency contraception. He voted to strip contraception funding from the state Medicaid program. He voted to defund Planned Parenthood, which serves women in rural Colorado. He opposed covering contraception as part of preventive health care without a co-pay. Today, he decided the best way to cover women’s health is to insult the intelligence of every voter in Colorado.”
 
Also note, as of this morning, Gardner is still a co-sponsor of the federal Personhood legislation.
 

Abortion, Colorado, Contraception, Cory Gardner, Personhood and Reproductive Rights

Colorado's Gardner tries moving left on contraception access

Updated