U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) built his political career in Colorado, and rallied grassroots Republican support, by opposing abortion, even for rape and incest. Part of that, of course, has meant that he’s opposed and vilified Planned Parenthood.
So you’d expect Gardner to be on board with the provision in Senate’s Obamacare-replacement legislation that would remove federal funds for Planned Parenthood, just like the House version did.
After he voted to defund Planned Parenthood two years ago, Gardner said,
“We voted to take the money from Planned Parenthood and distribute it to the community health clinics around the state of Colorado,” Gardner told KNUS 710-AM’s Dan Caplis in 2015.
He stated the move would provide “more access” to health care for low-income men and women across the state. More access without Planned Parenthood?
Woman go to Planned Parenthood clinics for specific and understandable reasons, like privacy, trust, and convenience. Community health clinics cannot replace what Planned Parenthood offers.
And even though no federal funds are used for abortions at Planned Parenthood, they are available. In contrast, community health centers don’t offer abortion services that many woman obviously want available at their clinic of choice in the year 2017.
But Gardner apparently doesn’t think women care. When confronted with his extreme anti-choice positions during the 2014 election, Gardner responded by saying Democrat Mark Udall was trying to “distract voters” from the real issues.
Now Gardner should face the same question from reporters. Does he think women in Colorado care about Planned Parenthood? About access to basic health care for low-income women? What does he think about the Republican Party assaulting on abortion rights in a health care bill?
In a news release, Vicki Cowart, President of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, notes that the Senate bill would “block more than 30,000 women, men and young people in the Rocky Mountain region alone from accessing the trusted reproductive health care they rely on.”
“We will not stand by while politicians play these types of political games with the health care and livelihood of more than one third our patients,” said Cowart, adding that the Senate rules may block the defunding effort because it’s politically motivated.
Gardner may try to say his opposition to Planned Parenthood isn’t about opposition to Planned Parenthood, just like he tried to say, during his last election campaign, that his support of abortion-ban legislation wasn’t support for an abortion ban.
Despite heroic efforts by journalists to untangle Gardner’s wordpile on abortion, packaged at the time as “personhood,” Gardner got away with it. He won his race to become Colorado’s Senator.
Will he slip by again, and help pass a bill defunding Planned Parenthood?