Did you see Colorado Republicans, speaking at a press conference last week, politely denouncing legislation, introduced by a fellow Republican, banning abortion, even for a woman raped by her father?
No, you didn't see anything about this news conference because it never happened, even though, after the last election, you did read articles by GOP thinkers Josh Penry, Rob Witwer and others begging Republicans to be more inclusive and tolerant.
Instead, on Tuesday, Republicans sitting on the State House's Health Insurance and Environment Committee voted 6-5 (party line) against killing a measure that would have banned nearly all abortions in Colorado.
If you're a woman, Hispanic, or anyone, for that matter, and you're groping for evidence of a post-election move to moderation by Colorado Republicans, you need to know that this legislation actually shifts the Colorado GOP further to the right on abortion than it's been in years.
The bill, sponsored by Rep. Stephen Humphrey, was apparently the most restrictive anti-abortion legislation Colorado has seen since 2007, when Sen. Kent Lambert and Scott Renfroe sponsored a similar abortion ban modeled after a South Dakota measure.
Why the move to the right when logic would dictate a move to the middle, in light of the power of the women's bloc in the 2012 election, and the GOP collapse?
"It is strange to me, the legislation, abortion, that sort of thing, that we know has no chance [of passing Colorado's Democrat-controlled legislature]," Denver Post political reporter Lynn Bartels said on KBDI-Channel 12's Devil's Advocate Friday. "Republicans have shied away from that in recent years, saying, 'we've got to convince the public to vote with us.' I don't know if the consensus was in November, 'what the hell, we're going to get our butts kicked. We might as well do what we really believe in.'"
As it is, in the near absence of Republicans inside or outside the Capitol speaking out against the abortion ban, and with the party-line GOP support of the measure in committee, you have to wonder if there's any real urgency for change among Colorado Republicans, even among those advocating for it.
Seriously, why aren't we won't-be-extremists Republicans organizing a news conference, respectfully denouncing Rep. Humphrey's abortion ban, crying out for GOP inclusiveness, and pointing to a polls showing more and more Americans in the pro-choice camp, including a recent survey showing seven of ten Americans support Roe v. Wade?
As it is, reporters should cover the absence of news conferences like that one.
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