COLORADO, USA — Dr. Yadira Caraveo, the presumptive Democratic nominee in Colorado’s newly-created 8th Congressional District, is a pediatrician. Republicans have claimed, without providing evidence, that Caraveo performs abortions.
The unsupported claim appears to have originated with 8th Congressional District Republican candidate Lori Saine, who captured the top line on the four-person GOP primary ballot by winning 72% of the vote at an April 2 district assembly.
When contacted by 9NEWS, Saine was unable to provide evidence of her claim she first made April 29 that State Representative Caraveo is an “abortionist.”
“Saine's claim is false,” said Caraveo campaign spokeswoman Elana Schrager. “Dr. Caraveo has never performed abortions.”
“Dr. Caraveo is a pediatrician,” Schrager said. “She has cared for pregnant teens as their primary health care provider, counseled them on the choices they have, and directed them to appropriate providers for follow up care.”
Caraveo, the only Democrat to qualify for the primary ballot, supports access to abortion.
Abortionist is typically a pejorative term used by opponents of abortion to refer to a doctor who performs the procedure. The term was used by Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito in the draft opinion overturning Roe v. Wade, which was first reported by Politico.
Saine, a Weld County Commissioner and former state legislator, repeated her claim without evidence on social media and during a May 4 appearance on conservative talk radio.
During the appearance, KHOW-AM host and attorney Dan Caplis, a prominent and outspoken opponent of abortion, echoed Saine’s claim that Caraveo "brags” about performing abortions.
“Who is going to vote for an abortionist?” Caplis said during the May 4 broadcast. “I understand that this doctor does more than conduct abortions but the simple fact that she has conducted abortions and you tell us that she’s proud of that and advertising that?”
Caplis said unaffiliated voters in the 8th Congressional District, expected to be one of the nation’s most competitive seats, would not be interested in voting for “somebody who has actually conducted abortions.”
Asked by 9NEWS to provide evidence that Caraveo performs abortions, Caplis responded that Caraveo could come on his show to refute his claim.
“If [Representative] Caraveo disputes that she is welcome to join me on air, or to provide a written statement which I will read on-air, and if Commissioner Saine was mistaken I will certainly report that,” Caplis wrote in a May 6 email.
Caplis later backtracked, telling 9NEWS in a May 11 email that he has told his radio audience that he is “not currently concluding” that Caraveo performs abortions.
Saine faces a June 28 GOP primary against State Senator Barbara Kirkmeyer, Thornton Mayor Jan Kulmann, and former Army Special Forces Green Beret Tyler Allcorn.
Saine has made abortion a centerpiece of her campaign, recently releasing a digital ad with an image of a spreading pool of blood next to a photo of Caraveo.
As a state legislator in 2019, Saine introduced a bill that would have outlawed abortion in Colorado without exceptions for rape and incest. Under Saine’s bill, doctors who performed abortions could have been sentenced to life in prison. The bill failed.
When contacted by 9NEWS requesting evidence of her claim about Caraveo, Saine pointed to a section of a Caraveo fundraising email reading, “I’ve had to tell a 14-year-old that her chronic stomachache was actually a pregnancy, and as her pediatrician, I was able to give her a choice in that moment — to become a mom, or not.”
Asked if that constituted evidence that Caraveo is performing abortions, as opposed to counseling patients about their options, Saine responded: “Looks that way to me.”
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