During a debate Tuesday against Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, Republican candidate Bob Beauprez said he has a “big problem” with public funding for intrauterine devices (IUDs) because they are “abortifacients.”
Hickenlooper asked Beauprez if he’d use public money for programs using contraception to reduce abortions and teen pregnancies:
Beauprez: I have no problem with people using contraception. 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?
Hickenlooper: We’re talking about implants and IUDs. I don’t think they fit that–
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Beauprez: [An] IUD is an abortifacient, John.
Beauprez, after the debate, stood behind the comment in an interview with Denver Post reporter John Frank, who quoted the candidate as saying, “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.”
Soon after the debate, abortion-rights organizations offered scientific findings that conflict with Beauprez’s stance on IUDs.
Anti-choice groups charge that IUDs threaten or destroy fertilized eggs, which mark the starting point for their definition of “pregnancy” and serve as a foundation for so-called personhood laws discussed in state legislatures across the country.
Beauprez said during the debate that he supports “personhood,” but not the personhood amendments.
“Some believe that personhood refers to the belief that life begins at conception,” Beauprez told Hickenlooper after the governor asked him about his personhood stance. “I do believe that life begins at conception. I do believe that the personhood amendment [in Colorado], just like Archbishop Chaput believes, that the personhood amendment is very much the wrong solution.”
Beauprez has said during the campaign that he’s opposed to personhood amendments in Colorado, but favors a federal personhood law that he co-sponsored in 2005, according to reporting by Denver’s local NBC affiliate.
Before asking Beauprez whether he’d support public funding for contraception, Hickenlooper told Beauprez that Colorado has “reduced abortion by 35 percent for young women and teenagers.”
He was referring to a grant-funded program developed by Colorado state government that provided 30,000 long-acting reversible contraceptives and IUDs at low or no cost over the past five years. The percentage of the women using implants and IUDs quadrupled at the 68 clinics that distributed the birth control.
After five years of running the program in Colorado, the abortion rate dropped by 35 percent statewide among teens, and the teen pregnancy rate fell by 40 percent in Colorado.