Tim Reichert, a businessman who has described abortion as “the sacrifice of a child at the altar of Baal,” is running for Congress in Colorado’s 7th District, and is so far the only candidate who has qualified for the Republican primary ballot.
Reichert, an economist from Golden, Colorado, threw his name into the competitive primary in January, committing half a million dollars of his own money to the campaign. Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D) currently represents the district, but has said he will not seek re-election in the fall. Although Democrats usually have an advantage in the region, the district was redrawn last year, shifting west, which experts believe will make it a slightly more competitive race.
Reichert, who has a doctorate in economics, has spent much of his career doing financial consulting. He says he is running to help strengthen the middle class or “the little guy” ― a term that appears several times on his campaign website.
But Reichert also holds extreme views on abortion, birth control and other reproductive health care issues, arguing in published articles and presentations that contraception irrevocably harms women by destroying the institution of marriage.
And it’s an issue that he has, not surprisingly, avoided talking about on the campaign trail in a cycle where Republicans are trying to win back suburban women.
Past statements uncovered by HuffPost suggest that Reichert believes abortion is murder and birth control is deeply detrimental to society because it increases infidelity in marriage.
“Every abortion is a human sacrifice,” Reichert said last year in an acceptance speech for an award from Catholic Charities of Denver, a ministry-based charity that opposes abortion rights. “Every abortion feeds the demonic and thereby contributes directly to the demise of the church, the demise of America and the demise of the West.”
“Every single abortion is not just a tragic loss with two victims,” he went on. “It is much more than that ― it’s fuel. Fuel for the demonic, because it is the sacrifice of a child at the altar of Baal.” (Watch the video in full below.)
Katie Martin, a spokesperson for Reichert’s campaign, told HuffPost that Reichert does not advocate for banning contraception, but he is unapologetically opposed to abortion and believes his views are supportive of women.
“As an economist and Roman Catholic, Tim is pro-life and supports advancing the cause of the unborn. Tim understands that to advance the cause of the unborn we must advance the cause of women,” Martin said. “That is exactly why he is so focused on economic issues. He recognizes that all too often this is an economic decision for women who are marginalized.”
Martin added that Reichert also believes “abortion in the ninth month is something that the vast majority of Americans disagree with,” pointing to a bill that state Sen. Brittany Pettersen (D), who is also vying for Perlmutter’s seat, recently supported. The bill protects abortion care in Colorado.
“That means even if a woman is nine months pregnant, someone can terminate a fully developed child,” Martin said. “Tim agrees with most Americans that this is wrong, and it is shameful the politicians in Denver would push a bill that will have such a disastrous outcome for women.”
Colorado is one of the only remaining states without gestational limits on abortion care, but abortion later in pregnancy is very rare. Only 1.3% of abortions in 2015 were done at 21 weeks or later, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And the majority of people who seek abortions later in pregnancy do so because of critical health reasons ― if the mother’s life is at risk, for example, or if the child will be born with a genetic abnormality that makes life outside the womb nearly impossible.
As an economist, Reichert has given presentations and written several opinion articles arguing that contraception harms women economically and psychologically because birth control makes it harder for women to get married. In a 2010 opinion article titled “Bitter Pill,” Reichert wrote that contraception is “socially damaging,” “increases the incidence of infidelity” and is “deeply sexist in nature.”
“Artificial contraception sets up what economists call a ‘prisoner’s-dilemma’ game, in which each woman is induced to make decisions rationally that ultimately make her, and all women, worse off,” he wrote in the article, which was published in a Christian conservative journal.
Reichert later turned that piece into an hourlong lecture, “Bitter Pill: Contraceptive Technology and the Decline of Women,” which he presented at a conference hosted by the Catholic Medical Association in 2017 and 2018. Reichert repeatedly referred to the work of sociologists ― or “intellectual giants,” as he called them ― who believed that “the most fundamental threat to the West” was contraception.
In his presentation, Reichert argued that contraception causes gender scarcity, which leads to rape and violence against women. In response to a question following his lecture, Reichert pointed to research showing that “women who engaged in hookup culture tend to divorce more than women who are chaste.” He added: “I think that’s probably true.”
“Tim Reichert’s entire worldview is corrupted by an obsessive drive to dismantle reproductive freedoms,” Maddy Mundy, a spokesperson for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, told HuffPost. “At the foundation of his pseudo-economics is a deep hatred for personal autonomy that disqualifies him from addressing the pressing issues Coloradans face.”
Reichert and his wife donated to former President Donald Trump’s 2020 presidential campaign, contributing just over $30,000. The couple also donated about $20,000 to the Republican National Committee. Reichert is expected to fund most of his campaign himself.
Reichert is up against two other Republican candidates in the primary, which is set for June 28. If elected to Congress, Reichert would likely contribute to the federal attacks on abortion care. The constitutional right to abortion, established in the landmark Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade, is now in peril, since a 2018 Mississippi law is likely to gut or overturn Roe in the coming months.