It's a well-known fact that politicians tend to act extreme to win their party's endorsement, then move to more moderate stances when it comes time to campaign in the general. Colorado Republican senate candidate Ken Buck is becoming the epitome of that rule, softening his previously rigid reproductive health positions as the election draws near.
Previously, when running in his primary against Jane Norton, Buck made sure to tell voters he was a staunch vote against abortion, even saying he was against it in cases of rape or incest.
QUESTION: How do you feel about abortion? Are you for abortion, against abortion, are you for it? In what instances would you allow for abortion?
BUCK: I am pro-life, and I'll answer the next question. I don't believe in the exceptions of rape or incest. I believe that the only exception, I guess, is life of the mother. And that is only if it's truly life of the mother.
To me, you can't say you're pro-life and say -- if there is, and it's a very rare situation where one life would have to cease for the other life to exist. But in that very rare situation, we may have to take the life of the child to save the life of the mother.
In that rare situation, I am in favor of that exception. But other than that I have no exceptions in my position. [emphasis added]
Buck also expressed his open support of Amendment 62, the Colorado amendment that gives personhood status to fertilized eggs, effectively ending both abortion and many forms of contraception, as well as wreaking havoc on some varieties of assisted reproductive technologies.
But now, as November approaches, Buck is backing out of his rigid beliefs. From the Denver Post:
Before the Republican caucuses, Buck answered a Christian family group's questionnaire and said he supported Amendment 62, the "Personhood Amendment," on the Colorado ballot.
Buck said Saturday through his campaign spokesman that he will now vote against the measure. In an earlier interview, he said he did not understand until recently that passage of the amendment would likely outlaw some common contraceptive methods, like the IUD or birth control pills that can reduce the chances of implantation for a fertilized egg.
"This isn't how I looked at the personhood amendment," Buck said. "I'm not in favor of banning common forms of birth control."
No longer would Buck introduce a constitutional amendment to ban abortion — though he says he would still support one — and he now says he would be willing to vote to confirm even pro-choice judicial nominees.
Earlier this year, Buck answered another survey saying he would never confirm "pro-abortion" candidates for any government job, including judgeships. But last week, he drew a distinction between pro-choice and pro-abortion candidates, saying he would have no "litmus test" preventing pro-choice candidates from Senate confirmation.
"When I look at that word, pro-abortion, to me that doesn't mean pro-choice, that means someone who is an activist, someone trying to find ways to promote abortions," he said.
At this rate, by election day he'll be stating that a woman has the right to make her own decisions about her reproductive health. What a radical idea.
This post was originally published at RH Reality Check, a site of news, community and commentary for reproductive health and justice