What a Colorado Senate Candidate’s Conscience Would Do to Women

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Commentary Abortion

What a Colorado Senate Candidate’s Conscience Would Do to Women

Jason Salzman

A U.S. Senate candidate in Colorado says abortion issues don't matter to voters, even though it's widely agreed that he lost his last Senate bid precisely due to his extreme anti-choice position.

Colorado U.S. Senate candidate Ken Buck said on a Denver radio show Friday that voters can “absolutely” count on him to vote his conscience, if he were to make it to Congress. (Listen here, starting at the 6:50 mark.)

Normally, you’d think this would be a good thing. But if you know about Buck’s conscience-laden opposition to abortion, even in the case of rape and incest, you realize that Ken-Buck-voting-his-conscience may not be so great for women.

But just as he did in 2010, when he lost a U.S. Senate bid to Democrat Michael Bennet, Buck is saying abortion doesn’t matter; no one cares about it.

“I’m tired of people talking about issues that are not relevant to the public,” Buck told the Colorado Observer when asked if his abortion position had changed since 2010.

Sex. Abortion. Parenthood. Power.

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How is abortion not relevant when pretty much everyone agrees Buck lost last time because of his position on abortion, and women’s issues turned away women swing voters in key Denver suburbs?

Politics aside, abortion issues are addressed in the U.S. Congress. In addition to countless bills that go nowhere, but create PR fodder, the issue gets real-time play. Remember in 2011, funding for Planned Parenthood was at the center of negotiations that almost led to a government shutdown. Federal money for the United Nations Population Fund, whose health services are a lifesaver for tens of thousands of impoverished people, was also under attack by Republicans with a conscience.

With any luck, reporters will respond to Buck’s nonsensical no-one-cares-about-abortion defense like Denver TV anchor Gloria Neal did during a televised debate on CBS4, when Neal asked Buck the following viewer question: “Will you really make a raped woman carry a child to full term?”

Buck said that “we need to stay focused on the issues that voters in this state care about, and those are spending and jobs.” Neal responded, “Social issues are important to the voters in this state. I am one of them. So I need you to answer that question, because in addition to votes and jobs and all of that abortion is very important, and when you start talking about rape and incest, that is important to the voters. So, please, answer that question.”

Buck then said, “I am pro-life, and I don’t believe in the exceptions of rape and incest.”

So, you can see, it may take some work, but if pushed hard enough, Buck will tell a reporter what his conscience would do to women.

If Buck wins the GOP primary in Colorado, and goes up against Sen. Mark Udall in November 2014, we’ll see if women think his views on choice issues don’t matter.