Fox 31 political reporter Eli Stokols tried hard last week to extract an explanation from senatorial candidate Cory Gardner for his decision to withdraw from "personhood" legislation at the state level but, at the same time, to remain a co-sponsor of a federal personhood bill, which would ban all abortion, even for rape, and some forms of birth control.
So what else could a reporter ask Gardner at this point?
So what does Gardner think the bill aims to do? If it's not personhood, what is it?
Gardner discussed this question at least twice: Factcheck.org reported last month that "Gardner's campaign says he backed the [state and federal] proposals as a means to ban abortion, not contraception."
Later, contradicting this, Gardner told Rittiman that the "[Life at Conception Act] says life begins at conception," as if it's just a statement of principle with no real-life impact. Gardner's spokespeople also said it won't ban contraception, but neither Gardner nor his spokespeople have said the bill won't ban abortion.
Expanding on Factcheck.org's article, reporters should discuss with Gardner the ramifications of his co-sponsorship of a personhood-style abortion ban. All abortion, even for rape and incest, would be banned. Thus, under the Life at Conception Act, a teenager raped by her father would not have the option of getting an abortion.
Gardner has said the Life at Conception Act doesn't ban contraception. In fact, he told Stokols, "I do not support legislation that would ban birth control. That's crazy! I would not support that."
Gardner did not waiver or offer further explanation, even after Stokols told him directly about one of Factcheck.org's conclusions: "Gardner says he has changed his mind and no longer supports the Colorado initiative, precisely because it could ban common forms of birth control. But he still backs a federal personhood bill, which contains the same language that would make a ban of some contraception a possibility."
Reporters who question Gardner should avoid asking him about his position on "contraception" or "birth control" generally, because these words means different things to different people, as you can read here.
Instead, the question is, Does Gardner support specific types of contraception, like Plan B and IUDs. Plan B and IUDs could be banned under the Life at Conception Act because they threaten or destroy fertilized eggs (zygotes), which would gain full legal rights, the same ones you and I have, if the federal personhood bill became law.
In vitro fertilization
Factcheck.org pointed out that personhood measures, like the federal personhood bill, threaten "in vitro fertilization, which often involve creating more than one embryo in an effort to help a woman conceive -- the American Society for Reproductive Medicine has been against personhood initiatives." What's Gardner's stance on this issue, given his backing of the Life at Conception Act.
Plenty to ask.
So Stokols' intense interview with Gardner, who's running in a statistical tie against Sen. Mark Udall, leaves plenty of questions unanswered, and they go beyond the ones from Stokols that Gardner dodged or refused to answer factually.