When Rep. Cory Gardner dumped his longstanding support of the Personhood amendment two weeks ago, reporters failed to tell us about Gardner's new position on abortion.
It turns out, Gardner, who's running to unseat Sen. Mark Udall, now holds the same abortion stance as Archbishop Charles Chaput, who left Denver for a Vatican post in Philadelphia in 2011.
That's what Gardner told KFKA (Greeley) talk-show hosts Tom Lucero and Devon Lentz March 27. They get the intrepid-talk-show-host prize for being the first to ask Gardner the logical follow up to his March 21 bombshell about ditching personhood, which would ban all abortion, even for rape and incest.
LUCERO: So, Cory, has your position on life changed, or just your position on - with regards to the Personhood initiative?
GARDNER: Yeah. I mean, if you look at my record, it still is a pro-life record. And many pro-lifers in Colorado, including Congressman Bob Schaffer, the Archbishop Chaput of the Catholic Diocese, hold the same position.
LENTZ: So, it's really, it's more along the lines, if I'm understanding correctly, on what contraception is available for women, not - not abortion -- for being abortion- it's just more having the choice of birth control itself.
GARDNER: Well, that's one of the consequences that we looked at in terms of contraception, but this issue [personhood] is, I think, a settled issue in Colorado and something that pro-lifers - you know, like I respect peoples' difference of opinion on this, and I think there are a lot of differences of opinions on this, but I happen to agree that, with the things that I have learned, that I did something that was the right position to take.
So what does this tell us about Gardner's newly minted abortion views?
The Vatican, along with Catholic Bishops, like Chaput, support the personhood concept, with life beginning at conception. They oppose all abortion, even for rape and incest.
But, as Gardner said, Chaput did not back the personhood amendment. I couldn't find Chaput's specific explanation for his opposition to the personhood initiative.
A decade ago, Chaput himself wrote, in describing church teachings, that Roe v. Wade is a "poorly reasoned mistake" and "abortion is wrong in all cases, even rape and incest." (News Release, "CFJ: Many See the Anti-Religious Implications of Dem Questions on Pryor," July 3, 2003").
Vatican watchers will undoubtedly recall that Chaput directed Catholics to vote according to their faith, and he called abortion a "foundational issue" that's not open to debate.
On his "AM Colorado" show last week, Lucero also asked Gardner for "a little more insight" into his decision to abandon personhood:
LUCERO: You got a little bit of heat this last week in an interview you had with The Denver Post. Give our listeners a little more insight into what you were trying to tell them over at The Denver Post.
GARDNER: Well, you know, if you look at my position as a pro-life member of Congress, if you look what we did four years ago during the 2009, 2010 run up to the election [inaudible] the number of initiatives on the ballot, I had stated then that I supported an initiative known as the Personhood initiative. But since that time, I have done a lot of work, done a lot of studying, and learned that that is actually something that many pro-lifers agree, could ban contraception and is a step back for the pro-life effort. And I believe the voters of Colorado have spoken -that they said 'no' to this on multiple occasions, and we ought to be working together on common goals that we can achieve, instead of fighting over a separate issue.
Interestingly, in August, before Gardner flipped on personhood, former CO Republican Chair Dick Wadhams cited Chaput as a model for a GOP candidate--as someone who is both "pro-life" but anti-personhood amendment. Wadhams said at the time that a pro-life candidate who embraces the personhood amendment can't win in a statewide election.