Colorado’s Republican Senator, Cory Gardner, who built his early political career on a platform of opposition to abortion, hasn’t yet taken a position on a potential ballot initiative that would ban abortions at 22 weeks in Colorado.
And, according to an online database showing who has signed the petition to place Initiative 120 on the November ballot, Gardner hasn’t signed.
The initiative provides no exceptions for rape, incest, or to preserve the patient’s health, only allowing for abortions after 22 weeks if they’re necessary to save the patient’s life. It’s a measure that would have reverberations well beyond the state of Colorado, considering that Colorado is one of just a few states without gestational limits on abortion care and thus serves patients from all over the world.
In March, Gardner told the Colorado Sun that he hadn’t seen the ballot question and declined to take a position. Gardner hasn’t commented on the initiative since and didn’t return a phone call from the Colorado Times Recorder seeking to know whether he’s now reviewed the initiative or decided whether he supports it.
Gardner has, however, recently supported even stricter limits on abortion, voting for a Senate bill to ban abortion at 20 weeks in February. Prior to that, he voted at least 10 times to defund Planned Parenthood. And last year, when asked whether he supported an Alabama law that banned all abortion, Gardner said banning abortion should be “up to the states” — a position that’s consistent with overturning Roe v. Wade.
Gardner, who faces a tough re-election in a state that keeps getting bluer, can be notoriously difficult to pin down, often skirting questions from reporters and claiming not to have seen certain policy proposals when asked whether he supports them.
“Senator Gardner might try to hide his dangerous anti-choice record in Colorado, but in Washington, he’s voted for abortion bans and confirmed judges backed by Trump and McConnell that threaten Roe v. Wade,” said Colorado Democratic Party Chair Morgan Carroll in a press statement. “His record tells Coloradans all we need to know: Gardner wants politicians to be in charge of personal health care decisions and to restrict women’s reproductive rights. Colorado trust women to make their own decisions. Voters won’t be fooled by Cory Gardner’s deception.”
Proponents of Initiative 120 are in the final days of the qualification process for Colorado’s November ballot, and have until Friday to collect an additional 10,000 signatures after the Secretary of State’s office determined in early April that they failed to meet the statutory threshold of 124,632 signatures.
Pursuant to Colorado law, ballot initiative campaigns are granted a 15 day period to cure any insufficiency. Due to COVID-19, Initiative 120’s cure period was delayed, and began May 15.
The online database showing who has signed the Initiative 120 petition has not been updated to include signatures gathered during the cure period.
U.S. Reps. Doug Lamborn and Ken Buck, both staunch anti-abortion social conservatives, have signed the petition. But no other members of Colorado’s Congressional delegation appear to have signed, including one other Republican, Rep. Scott Tipton.
Tipton, who has in the past voted for legislation to ban abortion at 20 weeks and to defund Planned Parenthood, hasn’t taken a public position on the initiative, and didn’t return a call seeking comment.
Updated 5/29 to include a statement from Morgan Carroll.