10/02/2014 12:13 am ET Updated Dec 02, 2014

Beauprez's 'Big Problem' with IUDs

During a debate Tuesday against Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez said he thinks intrauterine devices (IUDs) cause abortions, and he would not use public funds on them.

Beauprez made the comments after Hickenlooper asked Beauprez if he'd use public money for contraceptives to reduce abortions and teen pregnancies.

"I have no problem with people using contraception," Beauprez said. "I have a big problem, and here again is a debate, I have a big problem with publicly funding contraceptions that are actually abortifacients, because our citizens have said over and over again that they don't want taxpayer funding of abortions. So, the devil might be in the details, but I think it's an extremely important distinction to draw in understanding to respect both the taxpayers' will and the technology you referred to. Did I answer your question?"

"We're talking about implants and IUDs," replied Hickenlooper. "I don't think they fit that--"

"[An] IUD is an abortifacient, John," said Beauprez, gesturing with his hands.

"Abortifaciant" is a word for a chemical that induces an abortion.

After the debate, Beauprez told The Denver Post: "Do you understand how IUDs work? The egg is fertilized and never allowed to impact. That's why people who consider that life begins at conception believe (IUDs) are an abortifacient."

"These comments illustrate how little Bob Beauprez really understands about women's health," said Cathy Alderman of Planned Parenthood Votes Colorado, in a news release issued after the debate. "The IUD prevents fertilization and is proven to be one of the most reliable methods to prevent pregnancy. As a trusted provider of reproductive health care in Colorado, Planned Parenthood highly recommends IUDs as a method of birth control to our patients. We agree with our colleagues from the American Academy of Pediatrics, who recently released a report finding the IUD is one of the best methods of birth control for teens."

After the debate, the Yes on 67 Campaign, which is backing a "personhood" amendment on the November ballot in Colorado, tweeted, "Great to see a candidate for governor come out against abortion-causing IUDs. Thanks, @bobbeauprez."

Pregnancy is defined by the medical establishment as beginning after a fertilized egg implants in the uterine wall. IUDs do not end such pregnancies.

Still, personhood backers say that IUDs threaten or destroy fertilized eggs, which mark the starting point for their definition of "pregnancy."

Beauprez said during the debate that he supports "personhood," but not the personhood amendments in Colorado.

Beauprez has said during the campaign that he's opposed to the proposed personhood amendment (Amendment 67) in Colorado, but favors federal personhood legislation that he co-sponsored in 2005.

In a 2006 radio interview, Beauprez said opposes abortion even for rape and incest.