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How to talk about choice with your relatives at Thanksgiving

There are so many things I love about Thanksgiving - cuddling with my dog, watching the parade on television, eating a LOT of food, and seeing my baby cousin Izco. There is, however, one thing I don't love about Thanksgiving: when my conservative relatives start grilling me about politics. And after this year's election results, it'll only get worse. 

I'm sure this isn't just happening at my dining room table. When your favorite Uncle Sal starts pretending he's an expert in reproductive-health care and rattling off right-wing talking points, here are a few things you can say. 

Uncle Sal: "We should repeal the Affordable Care Act."

Yup, we've heard this a few times. And it probably won't be the last. 

Your response: The Affordable Care Act has expanded health care access for millions of people. People can now get basic preventive care, like annual well woman visits, vaccines, blood pressure and diabetes screenings, mammograms, colonoscopies, and STI and HIV testing, with no co-pays or out-of-pocket expenses. 

But the Affordable Care Act didn't stop there - it also made it easier for people to get health insurance. Millions of people can no longer be denied coverage because of "pre-existing" conditions, like being pregnant or a victim of domestic violence. That means so many more can see a health care provider when they need to instead of waiting until things get so bad they're headed to the emergency room. And it means being a woman is no longer a pre-existing condition. Awesome! 

Women have saved a whopping $483 MILLION on birth control alone, which doctors agree is basic health care. When the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby this summer, they held that corporations can deny women coverage for basic health services. And Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was right when she said in her dissent that this was a decision of "startling breadth" which would open the door to allowing extremists to opt out of almost any law they find incompatible with their religion. 

Uncle Sal: "What are you so worried about? President Obama can still veto things, so just calm down." 

Your Response: Yes, Obama can veto bills, but that won't stop anti-choice politicians from taking away women's access to reproductive health care. For starters, anti-choice politicians control a majority of state legislatures and governor seats across the country, where they can enact extreme laws that shut down clinics, force women to be subjected to waiting periods and invasive ultrasounds, and ban abortion before many women know they're pregnant. Recent polling shows that 7 in 10 Americans are pro-choice. Passing anti-choice laws is a huge waste of time and taxpayer money! 

Uncle Sal:  "Nice try, but the voters have spoken: they aren't pro-choice." 

Your Response: Actually, recent polling after the election showed that 78 percent of Americans believe the government should not restrict abortion access. We saw anti-choice politicians running away from their values and running on ours to win. And when put to the test, voters in Colorado and North Dakota defeated two extreme anti-choice measures. 

The Republicans in Congress were not elected to enact an anti-choice agenda - they were elected to get things done, and we're going to hold them to that by watching their every move and making sure they keep the economy moving in the right direction. 
A Few Suggestions for Some Incoming Freshman Members of Congress

Remember being a freshman? It was a time that you desperately wanted advice on what you should do and how you should act. Well, we have a few suggestions for these brand new members of Congress for how they can live up to the promises they made on the campaign trail. 

2014 members of congress orientation.png

Cory Gardner (R - CO)

Cory Gardner has a dark past when it comes to women's reproductive health. 

  • As a member of the House, he cosponsored a federal "personhood" bill that would ban almost all abortion and many common forms of birth control. 
  • Gardner has voted against giving emergency contraception to rape survivors.  
  • And, of course, he wants to repeal the Affordable Care Act and thinks that the Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby ruling was "the right decision." 
Gardner's campaign promises made it sound like he's turned over a new leaf on women's health. If that's truly the case, here are a few ideas for Cory to implement when he is sworn in as the next senator from Colorado in January 2015:

  • Refuse to cosponsor federal "personhood" bills. You missed the deadline in October to take your name off the bill for this Congress, but we know, you were super busy running for office. This is your chance. 
  • Work with members of Congress to make affordable birth control a reality. This means NOT voting to defund family-planning programs, and working to guarantee insurance coverage of birth control--from the pill to IUDs--or everyone.
Thom Thillis (R - NC)

Thom Tillis, known in his home state of North Carolina as "Mr. Motorcycle Abortion Bill." Voted in favor of an anti-choice bill disguised as a motorcycle safety bill. (uh, NOT RELATED, Thom Tillis.) 

Here are a few ideas to make sure you uphold your campaign promises, Thom: 

  • Work with members of Congress (Cory Gardner made the same promise you guys did--perhaps you two could work together!) to make easy-to-access, affordable birth control a reality. 
  • Prove that you trust women by cosponsoring the Women's Health Protection Act--it would make sure women can get access to abortion care regardless of their zip code. 
Joni Ernst (R - IA) 

  • Joni Ernst has also supported a "personhood" resolution which could have paved the way for a ban on abortion in almost all circumstances. 
  • She was also endorsed by anti-choice extremists the Susan B. Anthony List, and has voted to defund Planned Parenthood. 
On the campaign trail, however, Joni Ernst said that her support for "personhood" was just a "statement of life" and wouldn't do any actual harm to women or families.   

Well, Joni, if you really believe that, we have a few ideas for you: 

  • Make a statement of supporting women. Show you support servicewomen by cosponsoring bipartisan legislation to improve their access to family-planning services. 
  • Don't vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act. It's already helped millions of women access the birth control they need. 
Barbara Comstock (R - VA 10)

  • Barbara Comstock voted to force women seeking abortion to undergo forced ultrasounds and has voted for "personhood." 
  • She also thinks Roe v. Wade should be overturned, but that nobody should worry about that because it won't come into play in Congress. She said, "I'm not running for the Supreme Court," as though anti-choice members of Congress have never interfered with women's health care decisions.
Well, Barbara, if you really believe that your personal feelings on abortion and birth control shouldn't come into play in Congress, we have some ideas about how you can help make that a reality.

  • When anti-choice members of the House reintroduce a bill to ban abortion after 20 weeks, vote against it. This is exactly the kind of interference in personal medical decisions you said wouldn't come up, so hold up on your end of the bargain and oppose it. 
  • Don't support anti-choice bill H.R. 7, which would effectively ban abortion coverage in the new health-care system and permanently codify existing abortion-coverage bans (on D.C. residents, women in the military, Medicaid, etc.). 
Who should control the Senate is pretty clear: make sure to get out and vote pro-choice!

On November 4, control of the Senate will be in your hands. The elections are going to come down to the wire, so your vote will matter big time. And the differences between these candidates couldn't be more stark. In each race, one candidate will protect access to safe, legal abortion and affordable birth control - while the other will take away your rights. The choice in these Senate races is as clear as a stack of chocolate chip pancakes or a bag of rusty nails at Sunday brunch.



Sen. Mark Begich

  • Sen. Begich is a co-sponsor of the Women's Health Protection Act, which would make it illegal for states to chip away at women's reproductive rights - FINALLY!  
  • When the Hobby Lobby decision came down, Sen. Begich called it, "a gross invasion of privacy to allow employers or the government to make these decisions." So true! 
  • He cosponsored and voted to pass the "Not My Boss's Business Act" to fix the horrible Hobby Lobby decision. 
Dan Sullivan
  • He is endorsed by National Right to Life, a group that only endorses candidates who will push policies to ban abortion.
  • Sullivan supports the defunding of Planned Parenthood, restricting abortion, and letting bosses withhold contraceptive coverage from employees if they oppose it. This doesn't sound like someone who can be trusted with women's rights! 
  • He believes that life begins at conception We can't let a politician with beliefs like these get a chance to cast votes in the Senate. 

Sen. Mark Udall
  • Sen. Udall's always voted pro-choice during his time in the U.S. House and Senate. 
  • Within days of the heinous Hobby Lobby decision, he introduced the "Not My Boss' Business Act" along with Sen. Patty Murray. Sen. Udall was a leader on the bill, and gave impassioned speeches on the Senate floor supporting access to affordable birth control. 
  •          In response to the attacks of reproductive-health care, Sen. Udall has said, "It astounds me to that some still think the legality of birth control and access to reproductive health services should be subject to debate." 

Rep. Cory Gardner
  • Although Gardner now says he doesn't support personhood, he's still a cosponsor of a federal personhood bill that would ban abortion and even common forms of birth control. Way to lie to voters, Gardner.
  • He's misled voters about his position on birth control. Recently, Gardner said he's for over-the-counter birth control. But he still supports letting bosses take away contraceptive coverage. You can't have it both ways, Cory.
  • We can all agree that everyone should have access to affordable health care, right? Not Cory Gardner - he wants to repeal the Affordable Care act, which has already helped millions of women
  • He voted against a bill that would have required hospitals to tell rape survivors about emergency contraception. Yep, he seriously did that. 

North Carolina


Sen. Kay Hagan

  • Hagan has always voted pro-choice as a U.S. senator. She's voted against anti-choice attempts to ban RU-486, give legitimacy to crisis pregnancy centers that lie to women, and attempts to end funding to family planning services.  
  • She co-sponsored and voted for the "Not My Boss' Business Act, to fix the Hobby Lobby decision. She helped spread the word on Twitter about why we need to fix the Supreme Court's mistake.
  •  Sen. Hagan said it best when she explained that "Women, not politicians, should be the ones to make these difficult and complex decisions in consultation with their doctor, their family and their faith." 
Thom Tillis
  • He is endorsed by both the National Right to Life, and SBA List, which wants to outlaw abortion including in cases of rape or incest. You can only imagine what he told them he'd do in order to win these endorsements.
  •  Tillis was speaker of the state legislature when politicians used a motorcycle safety bill to pass harsh abortion restrictions to North Carolina. 
  • Like many other anti-choice Republican candidates, Tillis is misleading voters by "supporting" access to over-the-counter birth control. Don't buy it. He said the state should be able to ban birth control.



Rep. Gary Peters

  • When the "Not My Boss's Business Act" was introduced, he co-sponsored and voted for the legislation. He also signed an amicus brief with other lawmakers to the Supreme Court defending access to preventive health care. 
  • He also worked hard to pass the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women act. 
  • Peters is also a co-sponsor of the Women's Health Protection Act which would make it illegal for states to chip away at women's reproductive rights. In an era when anti-choice politicians are actively working to chip away at women's reproductive rights, we need more lawmakers like Gary Peters!
Terri Lynn Land

  • She's been endorsed by a slew of extremist anti-choice organizations that want to ban abortion, including National Right to Life, Michigan Right to Life, and SBA List
  • Land opposes abortion in almost all cases, even for a woman who survives rape or incest. 
  •  She also released a condescending ad explaining that she knows what's best for women just because she's a woman. News flash: your gender doesn't give you the right to make personal medical decisions for others. 



Rep. Bruce Braley

Joni Ernst

  • Ernst is one of the SBA List's stars, which supports legislation based on the false "fetal pain syndrome."
  • Ernst hasn't been straight with voters on birth control. She's claimed she'll protect birth control, but she's a strong supporter of personhood which would ban common forms of birth control. During one of the Senate debates, Ernst said she supports a ban on abortion but might consider an exception for the life of the woman.



Allison Lundergan-Grimes

Sen. Mitch McConnell

  • He threatened to hold a floor vote in the Senate to ban abortion after 20 weeks if he becomes Majority Leader.
  • Talk about extreme, McConnell voted to protect violent clinic offenders from having to pay fines. (NARAL Congressional Record on Choice, 3/8/05)
  • This one is unbelievable. He voted to deny women in the military from getting an abortion at a military hospital even if they pay for it with their own funds. (NARAL Congressional Record on Choice, 5/22/03)
  • The President of National Right to Life has fawned all over Mitch McConnell. Not surprising, since he consistently votes against reproductive freedom.

New Hampshire



Sen. Jeanne Shaheen

  • Sen. Shaheen's a pro-choice star, with a 100% voting record every year she's been in the Senate.
  • In 2012, Shaheen's amendment that would lift the ban on women in the military from using their health insurance for abortion in cases of rape or incest was passed by Congress. The bill was supported by retired military officers and former Secretary of State Colin Powell. 
  • She's voted time and again to stop extremists in Congress from defunding Planned Parenthood.

Scott Brown

  • Scott Brown has misled voters throughout his campaign, and has even hid in a bathroom to avoid answering questions about the Hobby Lobby decision. Yup, he actually did that. 
  • Scott Brown voted against allowing women in the military to get abortion services - with their own funds! - at their base hospital. (NARAL Congressional Record on Choice, 5/27/10)
  • He also supports allowing bosses to deny birth control coverage to workers
  • He has voted to eliminate a family-planning program that helps low-income people. 



Liar Liar, Pants on Fire: 4 Anti-Choice Politicians Caught in a Lie

These 4 anti-choice politicians have been lying about where they really stand on women's equality and reproductive freedom to try to win votes. They know that if they tell voters the truth about their extreme beliefs, they'll never get elected.

1. Scott Brown (Running for U.S. Senate in New Hampshire)
 Scott Brown has a new ad that says he's pro-choice and believes women should have access to birth control. Um, WHAT? In reality, Scott Brown:
  • Voted for the Blunt Amendment which would have let bosses who oppose birth control refuse to cover prescription birth control in their health plans.
  • Dodged questions about where he stands on the Hobby Lobby decision by hiding in the bathroom. Smooth.
  • Pushed to allow doctors and nurses to turn away rape survivors from emergency rooms if they didn't want to give survivors emergency contraception.
2.   Cory Gardner (Running for U.S. Senate in Colorado)

Rep.  Cory Gardner is trying to sound so gosh darn reasonable on reproductive health. He's running one ad that lies about his support for personhood and another where he purports to support birth control - he even lied about an endorsement of his plan from a pro-choice group he made up. HA! In reality, Cory Gardner is leading the charge in anti-choice extremism. He:
3. Mike Coffman (Running for Congress in the 6th district of Colorado) 
 Mike Coffman SAYS he doesn't support personhood and that he supports reproductive freedom. HA! Here's the truth:
  • He's so out of touch on reproductive health, he can't even remember the term birth control.
  • He's a supporter of personhood, and believes that abortion is always wrong, including in cases of rape.
  •  He supports the Hobby Lobby decision, which allows bosses to deny their workers contraceptive coverage. 
 4. Scott Walker (Running for Governor of Wisconsin)

Scott Walker recently released an ad trying to defend his anti-choice votes, and hired a spokesperson who's pro-choice - as though that would make us forget:
  • He believes abortion should be illegal including in cases of rape and incest.
  • Voted to cut more than $1 million in funding for Planned Parenthood clinics in Wisconsin.
  • Signed a bill that forces women to undergo an invasive ultrasound before obtaining abortion care.
The easiest way to make sure these liars don't get to enact the anti-choice policies they support? Vote PRO-CHOICE on November 4! 

Paid for by NARAL Pro-Choice America,, and not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.
Coloradans Are Fed Up With The Denver Post

Kristin Zilcosky is Digital Deputy Director at NARAL Pro-Choice America.

On Friday, October 10, The Denver Post shocked its readers by endorsing extremist Cory Gardner for U.S. Senate over Mark Udall. 

What kind of mental gymnastics does a self-proclaimed pro-choice editorial board have to perform to support a candidate who's built his career restricting reproductive rights? By putting aside all logic and journalistic integrity, apparently.

For months, Gardner has lied about and distorted his ant-choice record - and plenty of reporters aren't letting him get away with that. Some reporters have helped expose the controversy around Gardner's position on personhood and raised questions about his over-the-counter birth control scheme. But not the Denver Post editorial board. They didn't give Gardner's record a second look and instead called Sen. Udall's focus on women's issues "obnoxious." 

And you know what the most troubling thing is about their logic? They said, "Gardner's election would pose no threat to abortion rights." Even though this is the seat that could put the Senate in anti-choice hands if we lose it, and Republican leaders already have an abortion ban teed up and ready to bring to the floor.

We asked our members in Colorado what they think about the Post's endorsement, and are they ever mad! Until the Denver Post decides to run some of their letters, we wanted to make sure Coloradans' voices are heard. Here's just a sampling of the hundreds of letters that were submitted:


A focus on women's issues is "obnoxious", is it???  Well, to more than 50% of the population, a focus on women's issues is way past due.  Gardner talks out of both sides of his mouth when it comes to women's issues.  In reality he is one of the most anti-choice extremists around.  He has voted against birth control for rape survivors, he supports giving bosses the right to deny workers birth-control coverage, and he is currently co-sponsoring a bill that would ban abortion and even common forms of birth control.   And you claim to be an unbiased newspaper.  NOT! Shame on you for pandering to anti-women extremists. 

MaryAnne, Estes Park

I am amazed by your endorsement of Cory Gardner.  I have been watching the campaign and debates.  Gardner has nothing impressive to say or offer except canned talking points; whereas Udall has an impressive record and is focusing on the issues that require courage to defend and that recognize the revolutionary changes that are taking place in our society re gender and women.  Your comment that his campaign focuses too exclusively on women's issues suggests that you do not take women and their issues seriously. To suggest that a Republican majority in the Senate would be a good thing and create more compromise with the White House is incomprehensible and endangers the future of the Supreme Court.  What are you thinking?  I will have to think twice about having confidence in your opinions in the future. 

Sara, Ridgway 

It's too bad you find Senator Udall's focus on women's issues "obnoxious" - I personally find Gardner's mind-boggling flip-flops and blatant dishonesty pretty obnoxious. Instead of doing real journalism and finding out the truth about Gardner's cultural extremism, you seem to have watched his campaign commercials and fallen hook, line, and sinker.

Athena, Denver

I was surprised to hear that the Denver Post endorsed Cory Gardener for Senate.

Why am I surprised? Well, HR 1091 is the reason.

Cory says he does not support Personhood any longer. But he sponsors HR1091 which every other sponsor says is a Personhood law. It is a lie and I don't understand how the Post can endorse a flat out, bald faced, liar!

Harvey, Littleton

The casual contempt this endorsement demonstrates for the rights of the women of this state is shocking. Abortion politics is a litmus test, one that reveals whether or not a candidate really respects women in general - which it is clear Cory Gardner does not, witness his voting with his party to squelch the Paycheck Fairness Act. Women comprise more than half of the population of this country, and we have grown weary of being dismissed out of hand, taken for granted and patronized in the political and economic realms. This election year belongs to us, and we will expect an apology and a retraction of the Post's endorsement of Cory Gardner. The only question is whether this happens now or after the votes are counted. 

Susan, Lakewood 

I am a woman, one of the more than 50% of Colorado and US residents who are women, and I am rather shocked that you find a focus on women's issues obnoxious. We care about our autonomy, medical, economic, and otherwise. We care about our income. We care about an enormous number of issues that should not be, but typically are, classed as women's

issues, as well as about the issues that get a pass as "important" and "general."

I am startled that the Denver Post would endorse Cory Gardner, and still more that you assert that women have nothing to fear from Gardner in the realm of medical rights. You base this assertion on recent judicial rulings rather than on Mr. Gardners's record-- do you want him

voting to approve or disapprove new Supreme Court justices?

Mary Ann, Arvada 

Gardner is so clearly anti-choice that I can't believe you'd actually endorse him. The OTC birth control stance really means nothing in the fight for reproductive rights, and hardly makes him a champion for women's rights. Calling Senator Udall"s focus on women's issues "obnoxious" must mean that you see women's issues as rather silly. You are wrong on this one! 

Cathy, Durango

I would ask, as the only major newspaper in Colorado,that you rethink your baffling endorsement of Cory Gardner over incumbent Senator Mark Udall. It seems you are basing this support of Gardner entirely upon what you perceive as Udall's negative campaign against Gardner. Plain and simple if the show fits wear it. Gardner co-sponsored the

personhood bill in Congress and has consistently fought against a woman's right to choose  regarding abortion. When he decided to challenge Udall for the Senate seat he suddenly claims to have had a change of heart on the issue and no longer supports that bill he sponsored! It certainly does not take a genius to see this was merely a politically motivated action on Garner's part and if he were to be elected he would 

Terry, Lyons 

Your claim of him balancing out a grid-locked Senate bears no resemblance to reality when one takes into account that Cory Gardner voted for the shutdown, voted to cut food stamps and every single program that helps those in need. Not to mention that you IGNORE that

Cory Gardner is a LIAR! This over the counter claim is nothing more that a ruse! You are endorsing the SAME Cory Gardner that is sponsoring H.R. 1091: Life at Conception Act, as you can see in the bill

We Coloradans have voted TWICE against person-hood amendments and yet you endorse Cory Gardner? I'm done with you Denver Post. 

Kim, Carbondale 

Your criticism of Senator Udall's campaign is flawed and beyond belief. My generation fought long and hard to make access to birth control and abortion the right of every American woman. I'm now in my 60's and when I look at Gardner's record all I see is a man who wants to take these rights away.

Mariann, Littleton

I am not a "single priority" voter. But the one thing I do vote on is a woman's right to choose. Over and over, Corey Gardner has not only supported restrictions, if not out and out bans, of abortion. He even sponsored several bills. His recent attempts to claim that he is for OTC birth control are just a tactic to try to win women voters. The smart ones will remember that as soon as any med is OTC, insurance no longer is required to and will not cover it. So, "more availability" would not be better for women. It would cost more, not be covered by any health plans, and possibly made a more dangerous choice as women wouldn't need to visit a Dr to get a prescription(meaning that they might not be fully informed of the risks as well as benefits). His record shows that he is opposed to many forms of contraception/birth control as well.

Michelle, Aurora 

No threat to abortion rights???? You've got to be kidding! Endorsing this man is a huge mistake. And women's issues are obnoxious...they're why most women with a brain will be voting for Sen. Udall. Take back your biased and most likely paid endorsement immediately. 

Eve, Centennial 

Your endorsement of Cory Gardner shows a blatant disrespect for women along with an inability to look beyond a candidate's words to his or her actual intent. I believe Mr. Gardner has proven beyond a doubt that he is not a candidate that women can rely upon. 

Elizabeth, Boulder 

Cory Gardner is simply a stone age, far right, wing nut. He doesn't represent anyone's views I know in the Denver area.  Get real, people, he is about as advanced as Fred Flintstone when it comes to his ways of wanting to rule woman rights, and then lie that he just wants to help them keep insurance out of your business. The one we need to keep out is him. I will never vote for this throw back to the dark ages and the Christian far right. I am a God fearing man but I fear  false prophets like Gardner, also.

John, Thornton 

I am a lifelong supporter of choice and access to birth control - since 1971 as a teen seeing the impact of politicians who wanted to bar teens and women from making decisions about their health in conjunction with their doctors, family, faith and their moral values.

Your endorsement of Cory Gardner is a slap in the face of all the women who for decades have fought to ensure their rights were respected and for all the women in the future who will be severely impacted by a legislator who will ensure abortion, birth control, as well as being treated fairly in the work place in their pay will be eroded further.

Melissa, Denver 

I am a 70 year old woman that finds Mark Udall refreshing and supportive for me and my daughter.  What I find really "obnoxious" is an editorial that ignores H.R.1091 (March 13, 2013) and uses words from Gardener's own campaign ads. I am Denver Post having financial difficulties and in want of Koch brothers editorial staff made up of members still living in the last century...hmmm...well, it is just plain "obnoxious." 

Trudy, Westcliffe 

I simply cannot believe that you have approved Cory Gardner's bid for a senatorial seat.  Gardner's entire record clearly shows that he is anti-women's reproductive rights here in Colorado and across the nation.  If you had taken the time to read his past votes as a representative, this would be abundantly clear to you.  His current flip-flop presenting himself as pro-women's reproductive rights is blatantly false. Gardner is not now pro-choice and he has never been. You have an obligation to your readers to print the truth.  Not as you see it but as presented by facts.  You have made a serious blunder and I hope that you will admit it and then write another editorial that shows Gardner's long standing anti-pro-choice votes.  The women of Colorado will thank you for doing so. 

Alexandra, Longmont 

In an era where Republican legislators have managed to constrain women's rights in numerous states, your endorsement of Cory Gardner on the grounds that he "would pose no threat" to these rights seems both myopic and ridiculous. Colorado, thus far, has managed to avoid the dismal fate of places like South Dakota and Mississippi, where Republicans have set in place restrictions on "plan B" birth control pills, require doctors to provide erroneous warnings about links between abortion and breast cancer, and permit judges to provide orders that would prevent women from obtaining an abortion on an individual basis. It has only been through the wisdom of Colorado voters and their willingness to protect women's rights that this has been the case. By endorsing Gardner based on the wishful thinking that he will somehow change his stance on women's rights, while claiming that candidates like Mark Udall are "obnoxious" for making those rights a priority, the Denver Post is misleading voters and trivializing an important issue. I used to think that your paper was an independent, fair publication, but after endorsing Gardner, it's obvious that the Denver Post has fallen to the level of copying politicians' campaign literature instead of taking an objective look at the facts. 

Seth, Lafayette 

I am very disappointed to hear that the Denver Post has endorsed Cory Gardner for the US Senate.  Cory Gardner's views on abortion rights, birth control, and women's issues in general are very scary to me. People with his views are frequently anti-LGBT as well as against marriage equality, and that does affect me personally.  Further, I do support the Affordable Care Act, which did get full support of Senator Udall.

Here are some of the issues which matter to me:  choice, birth control, poverty, income inequality, unemployment, racism, LGBT equality and marriage equality, finding a peaceful road in the Middle East and in the world in general.  The Denver Post wants to entrust these things to a cultural warrior with ties to right-wing ideologues?  I do not understand your logic at all.

Phil, Denver 

As the mother of young adult daughters, I'm so disappointed you didn't give Gardner's record a second look and instead called Sen. Udall's focus on women's issues "obnoxious." To me this focus is critical for all voters, but especially for young women.  I find it obnoxious that people think women's issues are trivial or unimportant.

Nikki, Colorado Springs 

The Denver Post endorsed Cory Gardner because of his "fresh


Which fresh ideas? Anti-abortion, anti-social security and anti-medicare? 

Liberty, Crested Butte 

I was shocked and dismayed at hearing that the only remaining major newspaper in the Denver Metro area would endorse a partisan candidate like Cory Gardner for Senate.  In your own endorsement, you admit that Gardner winning could very well flip the Senate to the Republicans and justified your intention for this to happen by saying that "A look back shows that eras of evenly divided power -- Congress fully controlled by one party, the presidency by the other -- have turned out to be among the most productive"

Have you not been paying attention for the last 6 years?  Republicans will do and say anything to get elected, then fall in line with hardline views on abortion, voting rights, marriage equality and anti-environmental policies.  You know (or should) that ANY Republican in congress will block every single thing that Obama tries to get done from now until the end of his presidency.  You are foolish if you think otherwise.

Jerome, Denver 

I'm absolutely appalled by your recent editorial endorsing Corey Gardner and slamming Senator Mark Udall. Corey Gardner has been anti-women since the start of his campaign. You've got a lot of nerve calling Mark Udall's support of women obnoxious--he's been a strong

women's advocate throughout his political career. Every woman who has lived in Colorado has known this for years. How could you possibly miss this point? Where have you been? If you cannot see the flawed logic of your endorsement of Gardner's political stunt, then you've lost the public trust as a (formerly reliable) news source. I have permanently cancelled my DP subscription and I have similar support of over 40 friends and neighbors who are spreading the word rapidly throughout the state. I can no longer place my trust in DP. 

William, Evergreen 

Endorsing Gardner is an insult to the women of Colorado, all minorities, working people and thinking people.  The man is a liar. His name is still on the U.S. House Personhood Bill, that he claims he misunderstood.  His nonsense about OTC birth control is ridiculous and medically unsafe.  There is a reason you need a prescription to buy birth control pills.  His stance on dirty fuels, especially fracking, is dangerous in a State that has been fracked too much already.  

Cory Gardner will just be one more Koch Brother Republican in the Senate if the people of this great State are foolish enough to vote for him. Mark Udall has been an excellent Senator and he has served the people of Colorado well.  Cory Gardner will only serve the rich and powerful. Withdraw your endorsement before you look like complete fools. 

Judith, Bayfield 

I am a Colorado resident and will be voting in this election.  I am beyond the age of needing reproductive health care, however, I remember when abortions and even contraceptives were not available.  Gardner is lying ... anyone who has held an extreme position such as his for as long as he has, simply cannot change his position - and certainly not in the direction he claims.  The usual change of opinion, if there is one, is from someone who is not against abortion to become opposed to it - not the other way around as Gardner claims.  He has done this for

election purposes only and The Denver Post should know that.  How can the Post recommend someone who is a liar?!  Does The Denver Post recommend a return to pre-1973 and pre-1960s for women?  Really?! That's what a vote for Gardner would mean and The Denver Post should

not support him or his extreme position on women's reproductive health. I urge you to retract your recommendation to show that the Post is actually a responsible newspaper. 

Margaret, Westminster 

I was troubled to see how little thought the Denver Post staff gave to this endorsement of Mr. Gardner over Senator Udall. Their logic of "balancing" the government by making it even more

dysfunctional almost leaves me speechless. That's like saying the Broncos need to throw the ball to the other teams more. That wouldn't go over well in the win column, now would it. Colorado stands firm in the Congress with the strong team we have in the Senate and breaking it up

would not only give us a weaker voice but the wrong one for Colorado voters. We stand firm in our support for human rights of choice over dogma, religious or otherwise. Those are the family values that will chart our course into this new journey ahead. Those are Mark's and we're proud to call him our senator from Colorado. 

Edward, Boulder 

The Post dropped the ball on the Gardner endorsement by not looking more deeply at his record, seeing his flip-flops, and giving him a get-out-of-jail free card on his treatment of women's rights to healthcare. On a 0 to 10 scale for credibility, the Post just dropped from a 7.5 or 8 to a 2. Gardner is someone who would polarize Coloradans against one another while paralyzing the state. The Post not only dropped the ball on this one, you got caught. Shame on you. 

Clayton, Thornton 

As a long-time Denver Post subscriber, previous employee ... I have always put a lot of stock in endorsements/opinions of the Post.

But the endorsement of Gardner is 180 degrees away from the opinions I have learned to trust over the years.

My main objection is Gardner's stand on 'women's rights' issues. He is entitled to his own personal beliefs of right and wrong, but so the rights of each and every woman faced with the decision of birth control and abortion must be maintained as legal. It IS an important personal issue, a decision not to be imposed upon by the government.

Please reconsider the Post's position and issue a retraction to Gardner's endorsement. 

Alana, Morrison 

I am shocked that The Denver Post endorsed extremist Cory Gardner, a candidate backed by big oil polluters Charles and David Koch. Gardner and the Kochs are part of a social sweep to undo decades of progressive social programs and policies, such as reproductive rights for women, social security and the minimum wage. Your logic that "Gardner's election would pose no threat to abortion rights" is flawed. Turning back the clock for women's reproductive rights is precisely what Gardner and his friends want to do. Your characterization of Mark Udall's focus on women's issues as "obnoxious" is an insult to women, who have a reliable record of protection and advocacy from Udall. Why not point out the inconsistencies in what Gardner says and does. Why is it OK for Gardner and his pals to push for extreme regulation of women's bodies, but oppose government regulation of industrial polluters, like the Kochs, who have committed horrendous violations of the law (See the Sept. 24 Rolling Stone article "Inside the Koch Brothers Toxic Empire" if you really want to know who Gardner's friends are.) With the fate of the U.S. Senate resting on this race, I expect more from Colorado's largest newspaper.

Sadly, journalism at The Denver Post is in need of a good eulogy.

Madonna, Fort Collins 

Today (10/11/14) I cancelled my subscription to the Denver Post: I cannot support a paper that endorses a person who sponsored the so called person hood amendment that would have banned Legal Birth Control and forced a woman to carry to term a pregnancy that was caused by rape, incest, or to find a back alley and use a rusty coat hanger to end this pregnancy. 

Albert, Steamboat Springs 

The reason "Congress is hardly functioning" is that the Republican House - in which Cory Gardner sits - refuses to negotiate on vital issues with the more centrist and balanced Senate. It is not Udall's fault. And as for new ideas that Cory supposedly has, his party - as reflected in the House passed bills (the fewest since WWII) - wants to do three things legislatively: cut taxes some more, eliminate things Obama accomplished, and increase defense spending. None of these can be called "new ideas". And Cory will add momentum to the push to further restrict access to abortion. A federal bill is a possibility. A bad choice. 

James, Northglenn 

Colorado needs a senator who reflects the values of the state. Not one driven by an extreme ideology, as is Gardener.  Republicans and the Tea Party seek to turn back the clock, thinking people will accept returning to a more conservative time.  The genie is out of the bottle and there is no turning back.

Carol, Pueblo 

Paid for by NARAL Pro-Choice America,, and not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.
Anti-Choice Candidates Restrict Birth Control, Then Claim to Support Over-The-Counter Access

With the midterm races heating up, anti-choice Senate candidates are scrambling to win over female voters by throwing their support behind over-the-counter birth control.

Really? These guys have each supported policies that make it harder for women to access birth control, and suddenly think birth control is the best thing ever? Clearly, they're just trying to win votes before November.

In Colorado, Cory Gardner endorsed letting bosses deny employees insurance coverage for birth control when he described the Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby ruling as "the right decision."

It's no surprise he took this position - he sponsored a federal bill that would have done the very same thing. He's currently a co-sponsor of a federal personhood bill that would ban common forms of birth control and he's voted against giving emergency contraception to rape survivors.

CO Cory Gardner_small.jpg
Thom Tillis in North Carolina came down firmly in support of letting bosses deny birth control coverage to employees in the Hobby Lobby ruling, and said, "The American people are the clear winners."

But that's just the beginning: he supports personhood and said the state should be able to ban birth control.

NC Thom Tillis_small.jpg
Ed Gillespie isn't fooling anyone in Virginia. He also sided with bosses over employees in the Hobby Lobby decision.

But Gillespie's record goes back years. As the chair of the Republican National Committee in 2004, he was in charge of the Party Platform that explicitly called for a personhood amendment to the Constitution, and he's defended efforts to ban federal funding to Planned Parenthood for birth control and cancer screenings

VA Ed Gillespie_small.jpg
In Minnesota, Mike McFadden stayed in step with his anti-choice peers by celebrating the Hobby Lobby decision. But he took his offensive views to a whole new level when he claimed that birth control wasn't a health care issue. MN Mike McFadden_small.jpg

Newsflash, GOP: female voters aren't buying it. On Election Day, these politicians will learn the hard way what they should have figured out a long time ago: they can run for office saying they support women, but they can't hide from the records voters deserve to see. We'll be holding them up to the light until November.

Paid for by NARAL Pro-Choice America,, and not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.

Support Abortion Access with Tacos, Beer, and a Donation

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge took the world by storm, and pro-choice champions are raising the profile of their issue with the Taco and/or Beer Challenge!

It's a lot easier than dumping a bucket of ice water on your head. Just eat a taco and/or drink a beer, and then donate to any abortion fund.

Anti-choice politicians have made it harder and harder for women to access abortion care, and nobody has felt the impact more than low-income women. Many of their health-care programs don't include abortion coverage. And anti-choice laws that close clinics or require multiple visits mean that many women have to travel for hours and take days off work to have an abortion. All of this can have a big economic impact. Abortion funds help close the gap so women can afford the care they need.

A ton of pro-choice activists - including members of the NARAL Pro-Choice America family - have already taken part in the #TacoOrBeerChallenge. Check out some of our faves below then grab a taco and join in!

How State Educators Are Fighting Back Against Harmful "Abstinence-Only" Programs

It's back-to-school school time for students and families across the country. And that means young people will be filing into classrooms to expand their minds and learn.

But when it comes to reproductive health, many students are censored from getting the facts to help them avoid unintended pregnancy until they're ready, prevent STIs, and have a positive self-image. That's because anti-choice politicians have forced teachers to teach "abstinence-only" programs in classrooms across the country, even though they're a huge disaster:


Thankfully, cities and school districts are thinking twice about gambling with young people's futures and are putting a stop to the "abstinence-only" approach.

Just look at Baltimore. The city has developed a program that teaches students about reproductive health by having them create their own comic book about STIs and birth control. Talk about an innovative way to engage young people while also teaching them the facts!


The school district of Lawrence, Kansas is ditching the state's "abstinence-only" programs and are instead following national standards, which include information about birth control and sexual orientation and teaches that sexual development is a natural and normal part of becoming an adult.


And the second-largest school district in Oklahoma gave up on "abstinence-only" when it found that the state had the fourth-highest teen pregnancy rate.

sex ed.png

It's time for even more states to stand up to anti-choice politicians who are pushing "abstinence-only" programs that jeopardize young people. Withholding information about their reproductive health is never the way to go.

Race to Watch: Colorado Senate

David de la Fuente is the Political Assistant at NARAL Pro-Choice America.

This is the latest edition of our blog series "Races to Watch." Through this series, we'll highlight competitive races across the country featuring pro-choice and anti-choice candidates. Please share our posts with pro-choice friends who will support our candidates. When we know the stakes and we vote together, we change the game.

MarkUdall-Senate_Portrait_small.jpgSenator Mark Udall (D-CO) is many things. He is an avid mountaineer. He's a craft beer enthusiast (Colorado is the largest beer producing state in the country after all). He is a husband and volleyball dad. This all makes Sen. Udall a really likeable guy. But it's what he does everyday for Colorado women and families that makes him a cherished ally and leader who deserves our support. Sen. Udall believes that women and families should have the resources, education, and support to make the best decisions and thrive at all points in our reproductive lifetimes.

NARAL Pro-Choice America PAC has proudly endorsed Sen. Udall because of his long history of fighting for women's reproductive health. His leadership is even more important now in the post Hobby Lobby world. Just days after the Supreme Court's decision, he worked with fellow senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Barbara Boxer (D-CA) to introduce the "Not My Boss's Business" Act to prevent employers' religious beliefs from trumping the religious liberty and reproductive rights of their employees. Udall stated, "My common-sense proposal will keep women's private health decisions out of corporate board rooms, because your boss shouldn't be able to dictate what is best for you and your family." Unfortunately, Republican leaders blocked the bill. But we know that this set-back won't stop Sen. Udall from continuing to push for women's access to birth control.

Sen. Udall is running for reelection this November and faces stiff opposition from anti-choice Congressman Cory Gardner (R-CO). Gardner originally said he wasn't going to run, which allowed other less prominent Republicans to run - but then changed his mind 9 months later, forcing all others to drop out. It seems changing his mind about things and leaving people without options is a specialty of Gardner's.

Gardner has also built a reputation as an anti-choice congressman. In 2008 and 2010, Gardner actively supported "personhood" ballot initiatives in Colorado when he was running for office. But since announcing his statewide campaign, Gardner has changed his mind again and opposes the latest initiative, Colorado Amendment 67, which could ban all abortion in cases of rape and incest, as well as most common forms of birth control.

Gardner claims he "opposes" Amendment 67 because of newfound concerns that it would restrict women's access to birth control. But come on. His only concern is about getting women to vote for him! This is the same man who supported the Hobby Lobby decision and is still a cosponsor of a federal "personhood" bill that would ban abortion in cases of rape or incest as well as most common forms of birth control. Guess he hasn't changed his mind on that one yet.

We can't trust Cory Gardner to stick to his word, but you can count on him to stick it to Colorado women and families.

The decision couldn't be clearer, which is why NARAL Pro-Choice America is fully supporting Sen. Mark Udall this November. Coloradans need someone in the Senate who will always protect women's reproductive health care -- not someone who tries to win pro-choice votes in Colorado while pushing anti-choice legislation in Washington, D.C.

Paid for by NARAL Pro-Choice America,, and not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.

Tax Dollars Wasted on "Discredited Expert"

You've gotta be kidding me!

According to Mother Jones, anti-choice Republicans are falling all over themselves to defend their extreme abortion-blocking laws. That's what happens when you get sued for making it impossible for some women to access legal health care. And they're using your tax dollars to defend these terrible laws.

But what really boggles the mind is that Alabama, North Dakota, Texas, and Wisconsin have hired a "discredited expert" to push their agenda to the tune of $192,505.50.

What is wrong with these anti-choice politicians? If they hate abortion so much, how about using these funds to support women's health programs that would help prevent unintended pregnancy?

Here's a better way to spend $192,000:

Cover a year of birth control for 1,200 women.

birth control_small.jpg

Enroll 2,560 teens in a local comprehensive sex education program.

sex ed.jpg

Hand out 505,263 condoms.


Screen 6,193 women for cervical cancer.

Female Patient_small.jpg

But hey, when you're an anti-choice politician, what's hundreds of thousands of dollars to a quack to make sure women in your state don't have reproductive freedom and access to basic health care? At least they're making their priorities crystal clear.

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