Udall’s Half-Truths about Gardner’s Birth Control Stance

Over at Townhall.com, Katie Pavlich writes, “In an ad released today attacking his opponent, Republican Congressman Cory Gardner, Udall claims Gardner wants to ‘ban common forms of birth control.’ This statement is completely false.” The headline calls Udall a liar. But if Udall is a liar for telling half the truth, then so is Pavlich. So let’s get to the bottom of things.

Udall’s ad cites Garder’s “8-year crusade that would ban common forms of birth control.” Did Gardner lead such a crusade? Yes, he did, insofar as the so-called “personhood” measures he actively supported would have had that effect if passed and fully implemented. Gardner even circulated a “personhood” ballot initiative, as Personhood USA brags. For details about the impact of “personhood” on birth control, see the 2010 paper by Diana Hsieh and me. But, more recently, Gardner decided “he was wrong to support previous personhood efforts” because of their possible impact on birth control, reports Lynn Bartels for the Denver Post. In June, Gardner wrote an op-ed advocating the legalization of “oral contraception for over-the-counter purchases by adults.” That’s a very bold and a very pro-liberty move, and not one I’ve seen Udall support. Of course, Gardner still supports abortion bans.

So Pavlich misrepresented Udall’s claims about Gardner, but in his ad Udall did not reveal important facts about Gardner’s change of heart. “Half the truth is a great lie.”