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Colorado Lawmaker's Abortion Comments Continue To Roil GOP

DENVER (AP/CBS4) — Colorado Republicans are continuing to argue publicly over a fellow Republican's abortion comments in response to a Colorado woman who allegedly cut an unborn child from her mother's belly.

Colorado Springs Republican Gordon Klingenschmitt has apologized for saying the attack was God's curse on the country for tolerating abortion.

But Klingenschmitt has been denounced by fellow Republicans and removed from a post on the House Health, Insurance and Environment Committee.

Michelle Wilkins
Michelle Wilkins (credit: Michelle Wilkins' Family)

RELATED STORIES: Michelle Wilkins Story Archive

On Tuesday, another Republican said that Klingenschmitt shouldn't be removed from a legislative position because of something he said on his own time.

Rep. Justin Everett, a Republican representing Littleton, said he doesn't agree with Klingenschmitt's comment but that the punishment means lawmakers are having speech rights curtailed.

"If this precedent is set, where any member will be punished for exercising his or her right of free speech, especially outside this building, even though it may be insensitive or unpopular, this precedent will have a chilling effect on free speech of any and all members of this body," said Everett.

Everett's comments came a day after a fellow Colorado Springs Republican Sen. Owen Hill called on Klingenschmitt to resign. Hill called the abortion comment "antithetical to the Christian gospel."

Klingenschmitt insisted he won't resign and said he worries about a precedent being set by his removal from a committee.

He said he didn't think speech on his own time would be penalized.

The Republican turmoil in the House chamber passed quickly, as lawmakers from both parties rose to applaud a team of first responders who helped Michelle Wilkins, whose unborn child did not survive after being cut from her belly.

"Thanks you for reminding us that there's still good in the world," said Rep. Jonathan Singer, D-Longmont.

The woman accused of the attack, Dynel Lane, faces charges including unlawful termination of pregnancy.

In the Colorado Senate, Republicans have said they plan to introduce a bill giving Colorado a crime of fetal homicide.

A ballot measure that would have created such a law was rejected by Colorado voters last year amid concerns the measure could have impacted abortion rights.

(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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