Earlier this week, a coalition of extreme anti-choice groups launched a national alliance to compete with the anti-choice behemoth National Right to Life Committee. The new group is angry that National Right to Life has backed abortion bans that contain exemptions for rape survivors and that it opposes radical “personhood” measures, which would not only criminalize abortion but also certain forms of birth control.
While National Right to Life supports sweeping abortion bans in principle, the group has a purely strategic reason for taking these stances —both personhood and no-exceptions abortion bans are incredibly unpopular.
Which is why Rep. Cory Gardner of Colorado, now the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate, is desperately trying to claim that he no longer supports personhood measures, releasing this bizarre new ad trying to reassure voters that he did indeed flip-flop on the issue:
Steve Benen points out that Gardner isn’t even telling the truth about his own flip-flopping, as he is still a cosponsor of a national personhood bill in the House:
The congressman, for example, claims he’s “changed his mind about Personhood.” In reality, Gardner has announced, “In the state of Colorado, the Personhood Initiative I do not support.” But in Washington, Gardner isstill, as of this morning, a co-sponsor of federal Personhood legislation.
Politicians aren’t supposed to say they’ve changed their mind about Personhood if they haven’t actually changed their mind about Personhood.
Also in the ad, Gardner said he reversed course – even though he didn’t – “after I learned more information.” That, too, is an odd claim. Gardner is effectively positioning himself as a politician who decides to restrict women’s rights first, then gets information about his plan second. This is an awkward sales pitch for a statewide candidate to make.
And finally, Gardner said he flip-flopped – even though he didn’t – because he “listened” to the people of Colorado. But that’s also demonstrably wrong. After Coloradoans voted against Personhood, Gardner ignored them and pushed another Personhood measure. When that failed, Gardner ignored Coloradoans again and pushed for a federal Personhood measure. That’s not listening to the people; it’s the opposite.
He later tried to kinda sorta reverse course, but by all appearances, the only people the congressman was “listening” to were Republican pollsters.
Meanwhile, Personhood USA, which has backed the formation of the new national alliance, is furious at Gardner for pretending to change his mind.