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Opinion: If Roe v. Wade falls, Cory Gardner helped pave the way

The Republican roadmap to overturn Roe is clear: Donald Trump and Republicans across the country are pushing for near-total abortion bans, hoping that a legal challenge will make its way through courts packed with anti-choice judges, and eventually land in front of Trump’s Supreme Court — with Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch as the deciding votes.

But a judicial system and a Supreme Court stacked with anti-Roe judges are not reflective of Colorado values, and should not be validated by our U.S. senators.  

Alice Madden

Colorado was the first state to legalize abortion in 1967, six years before Roe v. Wade. Colorado has stopped every attempt to pass similar abortion bans, both at the ballot box and at the state legislature.  

It could not be more clear — here in Colorado, we believe the right to choose abortion should remain between a woman and her doctor, without politicians getting in the way.

Since 2016, Coloradans have begged Cory Gardner to vote no on Trump’s judicial nominees. They have called, emailed, protested and shared their own harrowing abortion stories, hoping that Cory Gardner would recognize our fundamental rights. And he has ignored us at every turn.

Time after time, he chooses Trump over Colorado.  And now women across the country may pay the price.

Proponents of the Alabama abortion ban that passed last week are openly declaring they intended it to be a direct challenge to Roe.  Missouri just passed a similar ban at 4 a.m. on a Thursday morning.

There are numerous other cases working their way through the lower federal courts — courts now full of judges appointed by Donald Trump and confirmed by Cory Gardner.

READ:  Colorado Sun opinion columnists.

Just last week, Cory Gardner voted to confirm four more extremist, anti-choice judges. One of them, Wendy Vitter, has pushed for placing intentionally misleading information in doctors’ offices — including pamphlets that say abortion causes breast cancer and other falsehoods.

Deliberate misinformation like this, and blatantly political agendas, are among the reasons that such laws are opposed by medical organizations as well as women’s rights groups.  

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recognizes that “abortion is an essential component of women’s health care. Like all medical matters, decisions regarding abortion should be made by patients in consultation with their health care providers and without undue interference by outside parties. Like all patients, women obtaining abortion are entitled to privacy, dignity, respect, and support.”

With no regard for women’s privacy, much less dignity, Cory Gardner has consistently voted to take away our reproductive rights. He voted to defund Planned Parenthood multiple times. He voted to ban abortion later in pregnancy. He voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which includes contraception as a basic benefit without additional out of pocket cost.

I have been advocating for women’s reproductive health over my entire career — as an attorney, a state representative and then as a board member of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains — and I find the prospect of an America without Roe horrifying.

It is a future I do not want to see for Coloradans or for women nationwide. It not only takes us back to the dangerous days before Roe — these new laws are even worse — they criminalize the actions of women and doctors for seeking and providing services.

Given the way the courts are headed, and a supercharged anti-choice effort in state legislatures, it’s entirely possible that the constitutional right to choose abortion could be completely gutted by next year.

That will be on Cory Gardner — and Donald Trump — the man he has endorsed for president.

Colorado deserves better.

Alice Madden is a former State House Majority Leader and a Demoractic candidate for U.S. Senate. She lives in Louisville.


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