TO: Interested Parties
FROM: Cathy Alderman, Planned Parenthood Votes Colorado Vice President of Public Affairs
DATE: Thursday, August 14, 2014
RE: The Facts About Cory Gardner’s Anti-Women’s Health Agenda
If you’re wondering why Cory Gardner is constantly trying to whitewash his positions on women’s health, look no further than the NBC Newspoll numbers that show a full 70 percent of Colorado voters say they are less likely to vote for a candidate who wants to restrict access to birth control and the 67 percent of Colorado voters that are less likely to support a candidate that supports restrictions on abortion.
Since announcing his candidacy for U.S. Senate, Representative Cory Gardner has been playing fast and loose with the facts when it comes to his dangerous and out-of-touch agenda for women’s health and rights. For example, he condemned his previous support of so-called “personhood” efforts, which have been rejected by voters two times in Colorado by more than 70 percent, yetremains a co-sponsor of federal legislation that would have these exact implications — banning all abortion, and interfering with decisions about birth control and fertility treatments. (See Gardner’s co-sponsorship of the Life at Conception Act in2012 and2013.)
Gardner also sponsored a bill in 2007 that would have banned all abortion in Colorado including in cases of rape and incest, criminalizing doctors who perform abortion by making it a class 3 felony.A story this week highlighted the less reported impact,according to Mark Silverstein, Legal Director of the ACLU of Colorado: under Gardner’s bill, a doctor could have faced more jail time than the woman’s rapist.
Gardner even tried to distract from his extreme positions on birth control by drafting anop-ed in a local Colorado paper calling to make birth control pills available over the counter (i.e., without a prescription). As Vicki Cowart, president of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountainssaid at the time, this hollow policy position “masquerades as a solution, but it is not one.” Indeed, this position ignores the fact that birth control is not “one size fits all” (read:many women do not use the pill and some of themost effective methods, including the IUD, need to be inserted by a health care provider), hence why the nonpartisan Institute of Medicine recommended that the Affordable Care Act require all insurance companies to cover the full-range of FDA-approved contraceptive methods without a copay under the preventive services benefit. Not to mention, the policy would once again force women to go back to the days when they paid out of pocket for birth control — which can cost upwards of $600 a year (equal to nine tanks of gas in a minivan).
Katy Atkinson, a Republican political consultant in Denver,commented on Gardner’s strategy: “He doesn’t have to convince them he’s the No. 1, best person on” reproductive rights, she said. “He just has to muddy it up enough to take it away from Udall.”
This is not a new strategy.
Read a smart analysis of Bobby Jindal’s similar message strategyhereand about a Colorado study showing that Colorado’s teen birth rate plummeted 40 percent between 2009 and 2013 thanks to investments in family planning and increased use of IUDs (the very method that Cory Gardner and the bosses at Hobby Lobby object to)here.
To hold Cory Gardner accountable and to ensure voters know exactly where he stands in advance of November’s election, Planned Parenthood Votes Colorado, alongside our national partners, Planned Parenthood Votes, are running a statewideWomen are Watching campaign to educate and mobilize voters around women’s health. We know that Planned Parenthood advocacy and political organizations are a trusted source of information and that women listen to us when we speak out to them about issues that affect their health and rights.
You can watch an ad from Planned Parenthood Votes called “Delete,” holding Gardner accountable for his cynical attempts to whitewash his record on personhood here:http://bit.ly/SWqsec.
In the ad, which ran online across the state, the narrator reads: “Meet Congressman Gardner’s new favorite key,” as the camera scans a keyboard and settles on “delete.” The narrator continues, “Congressman Gardner is trying to erase part of his record,” highlighting his support for the Life at Conception Act. The narrator ends with “Congressman Gardner still wants to take medical decisions away from you and your doctor.”
You can view ads highlighting his support for thedeeply unpopular Hobby Lobby decision, which gives bosses the legal right to deny their employees insurance coverage for birth control, here:http://bit.ly/1reVSvD.
Given his votes in Congress and as a Colorado state representative, it’s clear Cory Gardner is too extreme for Colorado women and families. Throughout his career, he has worked tirelessly to limit access to birth control and end access to safe and legal abortion. He wants to put bosses and the government between women and their doctors. He has a0% from the Planned Parenthood Action Fund congressional scorecard.
I’ve copied below a one-pager on Cory Gardner’s record and positions on women’s health. If you have any questions, please contact me at 303-813-7645 or the Planned Parenthood Votes media office at 212-261-4433.
Planned Parenthood Votes Colorado Vice President of Public Affairs
Cory Gardner: Out of Touch with Colorado Women and Families
Thinks bosses and politicians should decide whether women get access to affordable birth control: He praised the deeply unpopular Supreme Court ruling that gives bosses a permission slip to deny their employees access to birth control coverage, forcing women to go back to the days of paying up to $600 more a year. [corygardnerforsenate.com,6/30/14]
Wants to go back to the days when insurance companies could charge women more for health care coverage: He has voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act repeatedly, costing taxpayers tens of millions of dollars, and wants to go back to the days where women pay more for health insurance, or can be denied coverage for so-called “pre-existing conditions” like breast cancer or domestic abuse. He would repeal the women’s preventive services benefit, which is already allowing 520,000 Colorado women to access health care, including birth control without a copay. [Washington Post,3/21/14; HHS,6/27/14]
Would deny Colorado women and families access to Planned Parenthood’s preventive health services: He voted to defund Planned Parenthood, ignoring the lifesaving preventive care like cancer screenings and STI testing that health centers provide to nearly 75,000 women, men and young people in Colorado. [H. Con. Res. 36, Roll Call vote 60, 4/14/11]
Would deny survivors of rape all of their options: He voted against a bill in the Colorado state House that would require hospitals to inform a survivor of a sexual assault of the availability of emergency contraception, an effective form of birth control that can prevent pregnancy. He alsoco-sponsored the so-called No Taxpayer Funding for Abortions Act, which would redefine a ban on federal funding for abortions to exempt only “forcible rape” and not “rape” generally. [SB07-060,2/14/07; H.R. 3,1/20/11;Washington Post,2/1/11]
Would impose his extreme beliefs about abortion on women and their families: Gardner voted for the Protect Life Act, which would have allowed hospitals to refuse to provide an abortion when a woman’s life is at stake. He also sponsored a bill in the Colorado state House that would have made abortion a class 3 felony, including in cases of rape and incest. The bill could have criminalized doctors for performing abortions with the possibility of a prison sentence. [H.R. 358, Roll Call vote 789,10/13/11; SB07-143, 1/29/07]
Does not support the Paycheck Fairness Act: Gardner opposed considering the Paycheck Fairness Act aimed at correcting the pay disparity for women, who in Colorado make on average nearly $11,000 less annually compared to their male counterparts. Thanks to politicians like Gardner, Colorado is one of a handful of states where income inequality continues to grow. [Huffington Post, 4/11/13;The Business Times,3/12/14]
Championed extreme and dangerous so-called “personhood” efforts that would ban abortion: He has supported Colorado personhood initiatives not once but twice, both of which were defeated by more than 70 percent of voters, and is the current co-sponsor of a nationwide “Life at Conception Act” which could interfere with personal, private medical decisions relating to birth control, access to fertility treatment, management of a miscarriage, and ban access to safe and legal abortion. [Colorado Independent, 8/5/10; H.R. 1091,7/23/13]