Colorado Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez isn’t backing down from his view that a common birth control method induces abortion, earning both praise and scorn for comments made during a political debate over the weekend.
In responding to Gov. John Hickenlooper’s reference to a state program that has provided 30,000 intrauterine devices (IUDs) to low-income women, Beauprez said the IUDs were “abortifacient,” meaning they can cause abortions.
Health care professionals were quick say that isn’t the case.
Dr. Daniel Grossman, a San Francisco-based obstetrician and gynecologist, told the Denver Post that that IUDs prevent pregnancies, not end them. He defined “pregnancy” as the implantation of a fertilized egg. IUDs can prevent fertilized eggs from being implanted in the uterus.
“I would say in mainstream medicine, this is really not a debate,” he told the Post.
But for those who believe that human life begins at conception, an IUD’s ability to prevent fertilized eggs from being implanted means that it ends — or aborts — a life.
“Do you understand how IUDs work?” Beauprez asked reporter after the debate, when he was asked about his comments. “The egg is fertilized and never allowed to impact. That’s why people who believe that life begins at conception believe [IUDs] are abortifacient.”
Beauprez also said he considers use of IUDs to be a personal choice, but he’s opposed to paying for them with taxpayer money. An anonymous donor paid for the state program Hickenlooper referred to, which he said was responsible for a 40 percent decrease in teen pregnancies over a five-year period.
Until now, abortion hasn’t been an issue in the Colorado governor’s race, although it looms large in the race for Senate. Republican candidate Cory Gardner is fending off attacks from incumbent Sen. Mark Udall for his past support of personhood initiatives that would legally define a human life as beginning at conception.
The group backing this year’s personhood ballot measure, Personhood Colorado, praised Beauprez for raising the IUD issue during the debate, telling the Denver Post, “It’s great to see a candidate for governor coming out against abortion-causing IUDs.”
Beauprez’s campaign told the paper that the candidate stands by his comments.
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