Back when he was running for U.S. Senate in 2014, Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) dismissed his opponents’ repeated accusations that Gardner would use his power to restrict access to abortion and contraception.
Gardner said at the time that abortion and contraception weren’t “top of mind for people,” and Colorado’s Democratic Sen. Mark Udall was “trying to distract voters” by drawing attention to Gardner’s record of trying to ban abortion and limit birth-control options.
Guess what happened. Gardner has now voted seven times as a senator to strip federal funds from Planned Parenthood.
All four measures to repeal Obamacare this year would have also defunded the women’s health organization, and Gardner voted for each one of them.
And you tell me, did Gardner object to the Planned Parenthood cuts? Your answer would be no.
With the addition of this year’s votes, Gardner has now backed a total of nine measures to withdraw support from Planned Parenthood since 2010, when Gardner was first elected to Congress as a U.S. Representative.
“Cory Gardner continuously underestimates the importance of Planned Parenthood,” said Sarah Taylor-Nanista, Director of Planned Parenthood Votes Colorado in a statement. “Health Centers provide 70,000 Coloradans the care they need. A third of which are Medicaid patients. Coloradans need and want Planned Parenthood. It is time for Cory Gardner to really work on the health care needs of Coloradans and stop playing politics by going after the providers who care for them.”
Gardner’s attacks on Planned Parenthood are unbelievably ironic and sad, because women’s health played such a high profile role in Gardner’s 2014 election to the senate over Udall, who repeatedly spotlighted Gardner’s stance against all abortion, even for rape, as well as some forms of birth control.
Gardner’s opponents pointed out that Gardner had been crusading against abortion from the beginning of his political career, relying on backing from anti-abortion activists to win GOP primary battles and to propel him into office.
Gardner responded by delivering the repeated falsehood that his support of federal abortion-ban legislation wasn’t support for an abortion ban—and by calling Udall “Mark Uterus.”
And remember, Gardner ran all those political ads saying he wanted easier access to birth-control pills.
Yeah, by defunding Planned Parenthood?
Gardner’s votes against Planned Parenthood, which is widely known to offer abortion services, are almost certainly linked to Gardner’s own extreme opposition to abortion, even though by law the organization cannot use federal money for abortion but instead for cancer screenings, family planning, and basic healthcare needs of low-income people. Abortion accounts for a small part of Planned Parenthood’s total revenue.
Gardner’s nine votes to defund Planned Parenthood include two cast as a U.S. Representative, both in 2011: one resolution, naming Planned Parenthood Federation of America, here, and the Pence amendment targeting the organization, here.
Gardner’s seven anti-Planned Parenthood votes since he became a U.S. Senator include four Obamacare repeal measures, the “Skinny Repeal,” AHCA, BRCA, and the ORAA. He also voted against Planned Parenthood funding three times in 2015, here, here, and here.
You wonder if Gardner will be running ads again saying he wants easier access to birth control.
And when he’s up for re-election in 2020, will Gardner again tell those who question him about abortion and birth control that we are just trying to distract voters from issues that matter?