Colorado Republican Cory Gardner has suddenly reversed his pro-life stance in a triangulated effort to appeal to moderate Democrats who might cross the aisle from Democrat Senator Mark Udall’s side to vote Republican in the upcoming elections.
Gardner was on record as a supporter of a ballot measure to grant a fertilized egg the same status as a person. But now, he is suddenly against that measure as he gears up his campaign for the general election. He is also a past supporter of the Life Begins at Conception Act.
But now he says he is against the idea of personhood for a fertilized egg. “This was a bad idea driven by good intentions,” Gardner told The Denver Post. “I was not right. I can’t support personhood now. I can’t support personhood going forward. To do it again would be a mistake.”
A Congressman from Colorado’s Fourth District situated just to the east of Denver, Gardner is now maintaining that such a measure would somehow make contraception illegal. Some even feel that such a measure would outlaw abortion and Gardner wants to avoid this discussion.
“The fact that it restricts contraception, it was not the right position,” Gardner told the Post. “I’ve learned to listen. I don’t get everything right the first time. I don’t get everything right the first time. There are far too many politicians out there who take the wrong position and stick with it and never admit that they should do something different.”
The Congressman did not say just when he made his decision against the personhood issue but now claims he has been thinking about it since the 2010 election.
Various issues similar to the 2010 measure have been on the Colorado ballot several times but in 2010 it lost by a convincing 70 to 30 percent vote.
Senator Udall’s office, though, feels that Gardner’s sudden turn around is only a “cheap election-year stunt” and that all he is doing is trying to peel off moderate voters who might otherwise support Udall.
A similar issue will appear on the 2014 ballot. Amendment 67 states:
Shall there be an amendment to the Colorado constitution protecting pregnant women and unborn children by defining “person” and “child” in the Colorado criminal code and the Colorado wrongful death act to include unborn human beings?
Gardner says he has announced his change of mind now because Democrats have taken the occasion of the statewide debate on Amendment 67 to distort his record.
The Congressman’s entrance into the race against Udall has been called a “game changer” by some Colorado watchers. But with this sudden flip flop on the personhood debate, Gardner will have to navigate some criticism from his own side. His new position has already been called a “betrayal“ of his party.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at email@example.com