THE BLOG
11/01/2012 11:32 am ET Updated Jan 23, 2014

The Kind of Questioning We Need

In a good story, Associated Press reporter Ivan Moreno, discusses how the personhood amendment isn't on the Colorado ballot but it's nonetheless a big part of this year's election debate. Moreno reported:

An anti-abortion proposal to ban the procedure in all circumstances isn't on Colorado ballots this year -- but the divisive measure is still playing a big role in the state's political campaigns.

The article goes on to report the details, which I'll get into below, but readers would have benefited from some background on how GOP candidates in Colorado talked about their ties to personhood in 2010. And compared that to what's happening today.

Two years ago, U.S. Senate candidate Ken Buck decided to un-endorse personhood, but stuck to his position opposing abortion, even in the cases of rape and incest. Other top-line personhood supporters in 2010, like Rep. Cory Gardner and Rep. Mike Coffman, did not back off their positions.

This time, as AP reports, GOP congressional candidate Joe Coors has apparently un-endorsed personhood, and he's flipped on his previous position opposing abortion in the case of rape and incest.

But Mike Coffman is following Ken Buck's path on personhood, distancing himself from the measure itself, but standing firm with key elements of personhood, including opposition to embryonic stem cell research and abortion for rape and incest.

He told The Denver Post in August, with no elaboration, that he's against all abortion, except to save the mother's life.

The AP article points out that Coffman is trying to skirt personhood-related questions by saying he's not focused on abortion rights.

That's exactly what Buck tried to do, but reporters and other media types, like KHOW's Craig Silverman, rightfully wouldn't let him get away with continuing the dodge. They pressed Buck on the issue, forcing him to explain his thinking fully and openly.

And they were right to do so, as women's issues are of obvious importance to voters.

Recall this exchange with Buck on KHOW's Caplis and Silverman radio show:

Craig: Let's say, god forbid, that a 13-year-old boy impregnates his 14-year-old sister and does it by forced rape. You're saying that the 14-year-old and anybody involved in the abortion should be prosecuted, if they choose to terminate the pregnancy, either through surgical abortion or a morning after pill?

Buck: I think it is wrong, Craig. I think it is morally wrong. And you are taking a very small group of cases and making a point about abortion. We have hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of abortions in this country every year. And the example that you give is a very poignant one but an extremely rare occurrence.

Craig: Incest happens. I'm sure your office prosecutes it. And we know rape and sexual assault happen all the time, and your office prosecutes it. So it's not completely rare. I agree that most abortions have nothing to do with that. I don't know if I'd go with rare.

And during a televised debate on CBS4, Gloria Neal asked Buck, "Will you really make a raped woman carry a child to full term?"

Buck said that "we need to stay focused on the issues that voters in this state care about, and those are spending and jobs." Neal responded:

Social issues are important to the voters in this state. I am one of them. So I need you to answer that question, because in addition to votes and jobs and all of that abortion is very important, and when you start talking about rape and incest, that is important to the voters. So, please, answer that question.

Buck then said, "I am pro-life, and I don't believe in the exceptions of rape and incest."

This is the kind of questioning we need from reporters when Mike Coffman tries to dodge questions about personhood/rape because these issues allegedly aren't his current focus, though obviously they have been in the past.