I don't envy reporters who are trying to uncover the logic in Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez's decision to withdraw his support for personhood at the state level but to continue backing a federal personhood bill, even though state and federal personhood laws would do the exact same thing: ban all abortion, even for rape and incest.
In a post yesterday, Denver Post reporter John Frank tried to unravel Beauprez's logic, and he made some headway, reporting that Beauprez apparently believes his abortion stance is irrelevant, because federal law is all that matters regarding abortion, and Beauprez won't "deny what the law provides you."
Beauprez: "The governor has very limited impact on what is really the federal law. Democrats always bring it up because they don't want to talk about the economy or education or about transportation," he said. "I don't know where it is an issue in this campaign."
Tell that to women and others in Texas, where a state law, under review now by federal judges, could reduce the number of abortion clinics statewide from 41 to just seven or eight--and Texas has over 5 million women of reproductive age.
In the more friendly territory of Colorado, a personhood abortion-ban bill was introduced just last year. What if control of the legislature changed, the bill were passed, and it landed on Beauprez's desk? What about a bill requiring counseling prior to having an abortion or multiple trips to a clinic?
The Guttmacher Institute has a depressing chart that reporters covering Beauprez might want to take a look at, summarizing the 9 categories of state laws restricting abortion.
One category of state laws is "State-Mandated Counseling:"
17 states mandate that women be given counseling before an abortion that includes
information on at least one of the following: the purported link between abortion and breast cancer (5 states), the ability of a fetus to feel pain (12 states) or long-term mental health consequences for the woman (8 states).
Waiting periods in ten states effectively require women to make two trips to a clinic prior to having an abortion. Some states mandate abortions to be performed by a licensed doctor at a hospital or at a clinic with full surgical capabilities.
Colorado is obviously less restrictive than many states when it comes to abortion, allowing it throughout pregnancy, and the state legislature is controlled by pro-choice Democrats. And Beauprez's pro-choice opponent, Democrat John Hickenlooper, sits in the governor's office. But it's not crazy to point out that this could change.
I mean, that's why Beauprez is running for governor! It's fair to say it's not likely, but it could happen.
So reporters should correct Beauprez when he says, when it comes to abortion, a governor has "very limited impact on what really is the federal law," and a women's right to choose is the "law of the land."
Beauprez: "Some like me are personally pro-life, but I'm not going to deny what the law provides you."
But Governors change laws. Which ones on the Guttmacher chart would he sign?