News Politics

Gardner: Federal and State ‘Personhood’ Measures Are ‘Completely Different’

Jason Salzman

In explaining why he believes Colorado’s personhood amendments are “completely different” from a federal personhood bill, senatorial candidate Cory Gardner says “one is a federal bill, one is a state bill.”

Despite a mounting number of fact checkers who say otherwise, Colorado senatorial candidate Cory Gardner continues to deny that federal “personhood” legislation, which he’s co-sponsored, would have the same consequences as Colorado’s “personhood” amendments, which he un-endorsed in March.

His most expansive denial came in an interview with the Durango Herald, published Wednesday. Herald reporter Peter Marcus wrote that “Gardner insists that he has remained a sponsor of the federal bill because they are different policy proposals.”

“They are two different pieces of legislation,” Gardner told the Herald. “Different from a procedural standpoint; from a legislative standpoint. So, they are not the same, and they are completely different.”

Asked by the Herald about the supposed policy differences, Gardner said, “One is a federal bill, one is a state bill, one’s an amendment to the state constitution with a number of other implications. They are different, they are not the same.”

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Gardner acknowledged Thursday morning in an interview broadcast on MSNBC’s Morning Joe (at 1:37 in video here), that he is, in fact, still a co-sponsor of the federal legislation, called the “Life at Conception Act.”

MSNBC: Do you still support the Life at Conception Act?

Gardner: Well, again, that is not a federal personhood bill.

MSNBC: Do you still support it?

Gardner: Well, I’m still on it.

Gardner denied the existence of a federal personhood bill four times during a five-minute discussion of the personhood issue in a Fox 31 Denver television interview broadcast Sunday.

“There’s no federal personhood bill,” Gardner said on the Fox 31 Denver show, called “#COPolitics at the Source,” repeating what he told another Denver TV news reporter September 6.

Gardner’s race against Democratic Sen. Mark Udall is tied, and the outcome could decide whether Democrats retain control of the U.S. Senate. Women voters are considered a key—if not the single most decisive—swing voting bloc.

Gardner reversed his longstanding support of state personhood amendments in March. He told The Denver Post, he was “not right” and he doesn’t “get everything right the first time.”

He was immediately attacked by abortion-rights groups, as well as the Udall Campaign, which has unleashed a steady stream of ads and news releases spotlighting Gardner’s positions on abortion and access to contraception.

After first remaining silent on women’s health issues, Gardner began to respond in June, starting with an op-ed in The Denver Post arguing for over-the-counter sales of contraception. His campaign later produced TV ads advocating the same position. A recent mailer on the issue cited support from a nonexistent organization.

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