In a piece on Colorado’s Senate race today, veteran Denver Post political reporter Lynn Bartels misleads readers into thinking a 2007 state personhood bill, sponsored by senatorial candidate Cory Gardner, wouldn’t have banned “contraception” when, in fact, the bill would have prohibited the use of common forms of birth control—as well as all abortion, including for rape and incest.
The Udall campaign didn’t mention another part of that bill, an omission that bolsters Gardner’s argument that he’s not opposed to contraceptives. It reads: “Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit the sale, use, prescription, or administration of a contraceptive measure. … “
But Bartels didn’t point out that other language elsewhere in Gardner’s bill mandates that contraception would have to be used “prior to the time that pregnancy could be determined through conventional medical testing.”
The definition of “pregnancy” in the bill is “the human female reproductive condition of having a living unborn human being within her body throughout the entire embryonic and fetal ages of the unborn child from fertilization to full gestation and childbirth” [BigMedia emphasis].
So, under Garnder’s bill, some forms of “contraception,” like a condom or diaphragm, are ok, because they unequivocally don’t threaten or destroy fertilized eggs (zygotes) or any fetal stage of pregnancy.
But other forms of contraception, like the copper IUD or some forms of the pill, would not be allowed because they are considered abortifacients by the religious right. They are seen to threaten or destroy fertilized eggs. (In 2007, when the bill was drafted by Gardner, more types of hormonal birth control were widely seen as blocking zygotes from reaching the uterus and causing them, even if they got there, to be unable to implant in the uterine wall.)
Hence Gardner’s 2007 bill was carefully written to ban both abortion and certain forms of abortifacient contraception, while freeing women to use non-abortifacient methods to their hearts’ content.
In 2009, making his position against the use of certain forms of contraception clear, Gardner voted against the Birth Control Protection Act, which simply defined “contraception,” without exceptions, as a medically acceptable drug to prevent pregnancy. And Gardner has a clear record of opposing Plan B, also considered an abortifacient by hardline anti-abortion activists.
The Hobby Lobby decision spotlighted the fact that anti-abortion activists still say they’re in favor of “contraception,” as long as some forms are excluded.
In Bartels’ piece, Personhood USA director Keith Mason said the federal personhood bill, which Gardner cosponsored last year, could be interpreted to ban birth control.
Here’s the entire section of Gardner’s bill referenced by Bartels:
(4) NOTHING IN THIS SECTION SHALL BE CONSTRUED TO PROHIBIT THE SALE, USE, PRESCRIPTION, OR ADMINISTRATION OF A CONTRACEPTIVE MEASURE, DEVICE, DRUG, OR CHEMICAL, IF IT IS ADMINISTERED PRIOR TO THE TIME WHEN A PREGNANCY COULD BE DETERMINED THROUGH CONVENTIONAL MEDICAL TESTING AND IF THE CONTRACEPTIVE MEASURE, DEVICE, DRUG, OR CHEMICAL IS SOLD, USED, PRESCRIBED, OR ADMINISTERED IN ACCORDANCE WITH MANUFACTURER INSTRUCTIONS. [BigMedia emphasis]
Here’s the section defining pregnancy and other terms:
(1) “FERTILIZATION” MEANS THAT POINT IN TIME WHEN A MALEHUMAN SPERM PENETRATES THE ZONA PELLUCIDA OF A FEMALE HUMAN OVUM.
(2) “PREGNANT” OR “PREGNANCY” MEANS THE HUMAN FEMALE REPRODUCTIVE CONDITION OF HAVING A LIVING UNBORN HUMAN BEING WITHIN HER BODY THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE EMBRYONIC AND FETAL AGES OF THE UNBORN CHILD FROM FERTILIZATION TO FULL GESTATION AND CHILDBIRTH. (3) “UNBORN HUMAN BEING” OR “UNBORN CHILD” MEANS AN INDIVIDUAL LIVING MEMBER OF THE SPECIES HOMO SAPIENS, THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE EMBRYONIC AND FETAL AGES OF THE UNBORN CHILD FROM FERTILIZATION TO FULL GESTATION AND CHILDBIRTH.
(3) “UNBORN HUMAN BEING” OR “UNBORN CHILD” MEANS AN INDIVIDUAL LIVING MEMBER OF THE SPECIES HOMO SAPIENS, THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE EMBRYONIC AND FETAL AGES OF THE UNBORN CHILD FROM FERTILIZATION TO FULL GESTATION AND CHILDBIRTH.
18-6-902. Abortion prohibition. (1) A PERSON SHALL NOT KNOWINGLY ADMINISTER TO, PRESCRIBE FOR, PROCURE FOR, OR SELL TO A PREGNANT MOTHER ANY MEDICINE, DRUG, OR OTHER SUBSTANCE WITH THE SPECIFIC INTENT OF CAUSING OR ABETTING THE TERMINATION OF THE LIFE OF AN UNBORN HUMAN BEING. A PERSON SHALL NOT KNOWINGLY USE OR EMPLOY ANY INSTRUMENT OR PROCEDURE UPON A PREGNANT MOTHER WITH THE SPECIFIC INTENT OF CAUSING OR ABETTING THE TERMINATION
OF THE LIFE OF AN UNBORN HUMAN BEING.