GOP Senate Candidate Drops Strict Anti-Abortion Position

After getting hammered on social issues upon entering the Colorado Senate race, Rep. Cory Gardner (R-CO) has flipped his stance on strict abortion restrictions known as personhood.

In an interview with The Denver Post on Friday Gardner, who recently jumped into the race to defeat Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO), said he couldn’t support personhood anymore. Critics of personhood have said that the proposal effectively outlaws all types of birth control.

“This was a bad idea driven by good intentions,” Gardner told the Denver newspaper. “I was not right. I can’t support personhood now. I can’t support personhood going forward. To do it again would be a mistake.”

Gardner’s decision to switch stances comes after Democrats focused their early attacks against the newly declared Senate candidate and GOP favorite on social issues. Liberal organizations highlighted a video of Gardner in a 2010 debate where, as a state lawmaker, touted his support for personhood and helped efforts to get the issue on the Colorado ballot.

Gardner admitted to the Post that his position switch would likely also be used against him throughout the Senate campaign.

“The fact that it restricts contraception, it was not the right position,” Gardner said. “I’ve learned to listen. I don’t get everything right the first time. There are far too many politicians out there who take the wrong position and stick with it and never admit that they should do something different.”

Colorado voters defeated essentially identical personhood measures in 2008 and 2010.

The Udall campaign panned Gardner’s position switch.

“Gardner is showing a profound lack of respect for Colorado voters,” Udall campaign spokesman Chris Harris said in a statement. “Coloradans want a Senator who always promotes and protects women’s health, not one who simply pretends to during election years.”

Dear Reader,

When we asked recently what makes TPM different from other outlets, readers cited factors like honesty, curiosity, transparency, and our vibrant community. They also pointed to our ability to report on important stories and trends long before they are picked up by mainstream outlets; our ability to contextualize information within the arc of history; and our focus on the real-world consequences of the news.

Our unique approach to reporting and presenting the news, however, wouldn’t be possible without our readers’ support. That’s not just marketing speak, it’s true: our work would literally not be possible without readers deciding to become members. Not only does member support account for more than 80% of TPM’s revenue, our members have helped us build an engaged and informed community. Many of our best stories were born from reader tips and valuable member feedback.

We do what other news outlets can’t or won’t do because our members’ support gives us real independence.

If you enjoy reading TPM and value what we do, become a member today.

TPM Staff
Latest Livewire
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Investigations Desk:
Director of Audience:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: