Politics

Pro-Choice Group Warns: If Cory Gardner Wins, Young Men Will Need to Stock Up on Condoms

NARAL is making the pitch to Colorado’s young men that a Republican win would disrupt their sex lives.

National Journal
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Andrea Drusch
Oct. 29, 2014, 6:40 a.m.

So far in Col­or­ado’s tight Sen­ate race, it’s wo­men who have been the primary tar­get of an un­pre­ced­en­ted bar­rage of polit­ic­al ads, most of which warn them that if Re­pub­lic­an Rep. Cory Gard­ner is elec­ted, he will in­ter­fere with their ac­cess to con­tra­cep­tion. But one pro-choice group wants to re­mind young people who the real vic­tims of Gard­ner’s policies would be: young men.

NARAL Pro-Choice Amer­ica is launch­ing a $450,000 ad cam­paign tar­get­ing young male voters with ads sug­gest­ing—des­pite there be­ing no ac­tu­al reas­on to think this would hap­pen—that a Gard­ner vic­tory would lead to con­dom short­ages and thus com­plic­ate their sex lives.

“Guys, guys, guys—if Cory Gard­ner gets his way, you bet­ter stock up on con­demns,” a fe­male nar­rat­or says in the group’s TV ad. A young man is shown frantic­ally search­ing through empty wrap­pers for a new con­demn while his fe­male part­ner looks on dis­ap­point­ingly from the bed.

Gard­ner’s cam­paign has been un­der re­lent­less fire from Demo­crats who cri­ti­cize him for pre­vi­ously sup­port­ing a state per­son­hood bill, which would out­law ac­cess to some forms of birth con­trol. Gard­ner’s name is still on fed­er­al bill that seeks a sim­il­ar ef­fect.

Demo­crats are hop­ing to re­peat a strategy they’ve used in pre­vi­ous years in Col­or­ado, re­ly­ing on their can­did­ate’s ad­vant­age among wo­men voters to put them over the edge. But in Sen. Mark Ud­all’s in­creas­ingly close race, re­cent polls have shown that lead get­ting smal­ler, while Gard­ner has taken an even great­er ad­vant­age among male voters. Ud­all’s fo­cus on wo­men’s health is­sues has even back­fired in some cases, draw­ing cri­ti­cism from The Den­ver Post‘s ed­it­or­i­al board, and earn­ing him the monik­er “Mark Uter­us.”

For his part, Gard­ner says he fully sup­ports wo­men’s ac­cess to birth con­trol. Gard­ner ar­gued in one de­bate that he used to pick up his wife’s pre­scrip­tion, and he’s open about the fact that their first child was born be­fore they were mar­ried. Mid­way through his cam­paign, Gard­ner doubled down on that point by un­veil­ing a plan to of­fer birth con­trol over the counter, which he said would in­crease ac­cess.

Demo­crats and na­tion­al wo­men’s health groups have been quick to cri­ti­cize the plan as a cop-out, say­ing it would ac­tu­ally raise the cost of birth con­trol if it were no longer covered by in­sur­ance.

But NARAL’s ads go a step fur­ther, sug­gest­ing that Gard­ner would ban birth con­trol all to­geth­er, something his cam­paign has in­sisted isn’t true.

“They’re all out,” a man says in NARAL’s ra­dio ad. “How did this hap­pen?” a wo­men asks. “Cory Gard­ner banned birth con­trol, and now it’s all on us guys, you can’t find a con­demn any­where.” The man in the ad then launches in­to a series of oth­er at­tacks aimed at young voters, such as Gard­ner’s stance on Pell grants and cli­mate change.

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