NPR's Morning Edition Repeats GOP Spin About Cory Gardner's Positions On Reproductive Rights

National Public Radio's Morning Edition presented falsehoods about Republican Senate candidate Cory Gardner (CO) as fact, misrepresenting his extreme policy positions on reproductive rights in a discussion on the battle for the women's vote in the midterm elections.

On Morning Edition, Mara Liasson Misrepresents Gardner's Extreme Positions On Women's Issues

Morning Edition: Liasson Spins Gardner's Record To Paint Him As A Prime Example Of GOP Outreach To Women. On October 30, NPR national political correspondent Mara Liasson appeared on Morning Edition to discuss the importance of the women's vote in the 2014 midterms. Liasson claimed that Republicans like Senate candidate Cory Gardner disprove Democrats' narrative that GOP policies hurt women, misrepresenting his policy positions in order to claim the Republican is “affirmatively going after the women's vote this year by changing their positions.” [NPR, Morning Edition, 10/30/14]

Liasson Hides Gardner's Support For Federal Personhood Amendment

Liasson: Gardner “Has Disavowed His Support For A Personhood Amendment.” Liasson pointed to Gardner's record on personhood bills as evidence that Republicans are “going after the women's vote by changing their positions”:

LIASSON: It's not just that Republicans are not making mistakes. They are affirmatively going after the women's vote this year by changing their positions. For instance, in Colorado, Cory Gardner, the Republican, has disavowed his support for a personhood amendment. [NPR, Morning Edition, 10/30/14]

FACT: Gardner Still Supports Federal Personhood Bill, Which He Co-Sponsors. Although Gardner changed his original support of Colorado's personhood legislation -- which would grant the rights afforded to people to a human egg at fertilization -- following criticism that the measures could ban some forms of contraception, the candidate “still backs a federal personhood bill,” as pointed out, citing the Gardner campaign's own admission (emphasis added):

In March, Gardner himself acknowledged that the personhood initiative could lead to a ban or restriction on some forms of birth control. “The past four years as I've learned more about it, I've come to the conclusion it can ban common forms of contraception,” Gardner said, according to the Associated Press.


Gardner announced his change of position eight months after he had signed on as a co-sponsor to the federal “Life at Conception Act,” which would extend “equal protection for the right to life” under the 14th amendment to the “preborn” from the “moment of fertilization.” That language -- giving the rights of a person to the fertilized egg -- is exactly what raises the question of what such a measure would mean for some forms of birth control. Yet Gardner's campaign told us he was not withdrawing his support for the federal legislation. Spokesman Alex Siciliano told us by email: “The federal proposal in question simply states that life begins at conception, as most pro-life Americans believe, with no change to contraception laws.” [, 8/15/14]

FACT: Experts Say Personhood Bills “Erode Women's Basic Rights.” In a 2012 statement, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) made clear that it is “unequivocally opposed” to personhood legislation. The ACOG described how these measures “erode women's basic rights” by denying access to “contraception, fertility treatments, pregnancy termination, and other essential medical procedures.” [American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, 2/10/12]

Liasson Falsely Claims Gardner And Planned Parenthood Agree On Over-The-Counter Birth Control

Liasson: Gardner Agrees With Planned Parenthood On Birth Control. Liasson claimed that another example of Gardner's efforts to reach female voters is that he is now “coming out in favor of over-the-counter birth control, and on that issue he now agrees with Planned Parenthood.” [NPR, Morning Edition, 10/30/14]

FACT: Planned Parenthood Condemned Gardner's Birth Control Proposal As “Insulting,” An “Empty Gesture.” In June, Gardner proposed his plan for over-the-counter birth control in an op-ed for The Denver Post. Gardner claimed that repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and making oral contraception available without a prescription will ensure that women have unfettered access to a cheaper medication. Planned Parenthood specifically called out Gardner's proposal in a September press release, saying it was “an empty gesture especially insulting to women.” From the release:

'If Cory Gardner and others were serious about expanding access to birth control, they wouldn't be trying to repeal the no-copay birth control benefit, reduce Title X funding for birth control, or cut women off from Planned Parenthood's preventive health services.  This is simply a cynical political attempt to whitewash his terrible record and agenda for women's health. The reality is that Cory Gardner's proposal would actually cost women more by forcing them to pay out of pocket for the birth control that they are getting now at no cost thanks to the ACA. We would welcome a sincere conversation about expanding birth control access for women - sadly Cory Gardner has not offered one,' said Dawn Laguens, Executive Vice President, Planned Parenthood Action Fund. [The Denver Post, 6/19/14] [Planned Parenthood, 9/02/14]