Sunday, October 19, 2008

Legislative Scorecard 2007-2008

Colorado Right to Life has examined the legislative voting records of all Colorado legislators over the past two years in light of our stand on Personhood – grading people up for positive votes, and voting them down for votes that undermine the Personhood of the unborn child (even if it’s a supposedly “pro-life” bill which proposes to regulate the abortion industry).

Before we go on, we just want to remind you that a post about the Presidential Election is up next…

What we’ve found is that those legislators who scored highest – because of several positive votes that did not undermine Personhood – are often the same legislators who at other times undermine Personhood with votes for regulation. Clearly they do not understand that a “right” (to life) is something that cannot be regulated, and the government has no right to decide when it is granted and when it can be taken away.

This poses CRTL with a dilemma, because if we “endorse” or give one of these candidates an “A”, it confuses the whole issue about whether or not they actually support a guarantee of the Right to Life in law. We’ve decided, instead, to simply release raw data on specific votes or positions rather than try to place a value on these hit-or-miss voting records.

One positive measure is who has endorsed the Amendment 48 Personhood Initiative. Some of these legislators still undermine Personhood with compromised votes, but at least they can be seen coming in the right direction.

(click the image to see a clearer copy)

Remember there may be good candidates running for office who are not on these lists, because they may not have been elected yet! A number of the unelected candidates indicated they would not support compromised legislation, and have also endorsed Personhood.

This assessment deals primarily with Republican legislators who voted right or wrong. As a general rule, Democrats can be assumed to have voted wrong – the highest scoring Democrat senator cannot be considered a pro-lifer by any stretch, and the highest scoring Democrat member of the House recently switched parties from the Republicans.

Sadly, the same assumption of stance cannot be made of Republicans, since the lowest scoring Republican (Rep. Ellen Roberts of Durango) is well below many of even the liberal Democrats – she might as well be one!

(click the image to see a clearer copy)
X = voted wrong on bill; XX = voted wrong more than once, or cosponsored bill; More X's = sponsored bill or voted wrong more than twice (i.e. in committees, plus floor vote -- usually a combination of votes or sponsorship)

Shockingly, the Republican House Minority Leader, Mike May of Parker, is the 5th lowest scoring Republican, barely even scoring in the positive numbers! He supported “emergency contraception” mandates, and was even the primary sponsor of the bill to require all pre-teen schoolchildren to be vaccinated against the HPV venereal disease (a move which CRTL testified would encourage underage pregnancy, and therefore underage abortions). This kind of voting behavior from the leading Republican only demonstrates how much they take Christian and pro-life voters for granted.


SB 07-060 Emergency Contraception – This bill requires medical professionals who treat rape victims to tell them there is emergency contraception available that will “prevent pregnancy” (which we all know terminates a pregnancy – a chemical abortion). Those 20 Republican legislators who voted for this will tell you they modified the language of the bill so it specified that it did not refer to abortifacients. But that’s a silly argument – there is no such thing as “emergency contraception” which is not an abortifacient, and several of their Republican colleagues realized this and still voted against the bill. Gov. Ritter signed this bill into law.

SB 07-080 Requiring HPV Vaccine in Middle School – Colorado Right to Life testified against this bill because we believed it would encourage kids to think they were “immune” to STDs, and therefore they could have free sex, and the resulting pregnancies would increase the number of abortions. The House sponsor of this bill was the Republican Minority Leader, Mike May (R-Parker). Rep. May was told we would oppose it, and was asked to drop the bill, and he refused. This bill did not make it out of committee in the House, partly because of CRTL lobbying.

SJR 07-031 Reproductive Health Programs – This NARAL-sponsored resolution (a non-binding statement urging compliance) encouraged state government to use its power to promote “family planning,” which naturally (to the sponsors) includes use of various abortifacients, as well as surgical abortion. Two GOP representatives and 4 GOP senators voted for it. The only one who is not typically identified as a pro-abortion Republican is Sen. Shawn Mitchell, who is a compromiser, but generally supports responsible pro-life positions. No idea why he voted the way he did.

SB 08-003 Gov’t Funding for Reproductive Health – This NARAL-sponsored legislation would allow low-income Coloradans to use taxpayer funds for “reproductive health” and “family planning” programs. Gov. Ritter signed this bill into law. Two GOP House members and 3 GOP senators voted for this bill.

SB 08-192 Residential Picketing – This bill was aimed directly at Colorado Right to Life and allied organizations (most particularly, the Collaborator’s Project). It was aimed to restrict the free speech rights of picketers who protest outside the homes of abortionists or executives whose companies are building abortion centers (like AuschWeitz, the nation’s largest killing center, which was built by Weitz Construction). Several “pro-life” legislators felt it was important to vote for this bill (it was written/sponsored by pro-abortion Sen. Steve Ward) because they don’t want to support “extremists” (those of us who want abortion to be in the public eye, and who want abortion promoters to understand exactly what they’re doing to little children). While most Republicans who voted for this legislation are known to be pro-abortion, the big surprises on the list of supporters were Sen. Andy McElhany (Sen. Minority Leader), Sen. Shawn Mitchell and Rep. Amy Stephens (formerly a public policy expert at Focus on the Family), who obviously felt their responsibility was to promote quiet neighborhoods, rather than to stop the killing of unborn children. Gov. Ritter signed this into law, which does not stop the picketing, but places significant restrictions upon it.

HJR 08-1009 UN Womens’ Rights Resolution – This resolution (non-binding support) recommended support for the United Nations’ definitions of “womens’ rights,” which specifically means the “right” to abortion, “controlling their own bodies (and those of their unborn children)” and “reproductive health care.” Three GOP representatives and one senator (Steve Ward again) voted for this.

There were other votes related to abortion during these two years, such as Sen. Schultheis’ SB 95, which was a compromised informed consent and ultrasound bill (watch an ultrasound, and then you can kill the baby). We know those legislators who voted for this bill were well-meaning, even though we attempted to educate them about what was wrong with the bill. This bill, in particular, is why we decided not to issue any endorsements of these legislators this year – because they still do not understand the Right to Life.

Sen. Renfroe, in 2007, also ran a bill that would have totally banned abortion. However, it never made it out of committee, and Sen. Renfroe and Sen. Mitchell were the only legislators who were able to vote for it.

We welcome any questions you might have with regard to legislators or the legislation!

No comments: