Congressman Attacks Planned Parenthood After Embracing Group in Election Year

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Congressman Attacks Planned Parenthood After Embracing Group in Election Year

Jason Salzman

After voting to defund Planned Parenthood, but still using the organization's logo last year in a campaign ad aimed at gaining women’s votes in his swing district, Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO) now broadly attacks the women’s health organization.

See more of our coverage on the misleading Center for Medical Progress videos here.

When GOP Rep. Mike Coffman was in the midst of a tough re-election campaign last year, against a pro-choice Democrat, the congressman ran a television advertisement featuring the logo of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund.

The unauthorized use of the logo in an ad used by Coffman, who’d voted to halt federal funding for Planned Parenthood’s women’s health programs, was seen by state observers as a play to win over critical women voters in Coffman’s swing district, considered at the time to be one of the most competitive in the country.

Coffman was re-elected in November, but now, in the wake of the release of a discredited video targeting Planned Parenthood, Coffman has launched a broad attack on the organization he appeared to embrace eight months ago, but had voted to defund in 2011.

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“You know, it’s just one thing after another with Planned Parenthood,” Coffman told KNUS 710-AM’s Dan Caplis last week when asked about the series of heavily edited videos released by the anti-choice front group Center for Medical Progress (CMP). “We’ll be doing some investigative work, I think, in a couple of our House committees to try and get down to the bottom of it.”

Coffman’s office did not return a call seeking to clarify the specific issues the congressman was referencing when he said “one thing after another.”

Women’s health advocates criticized Coffman’s comment.

“We would hope that instead of putting health care at risk for thousands of Colorado women by voting to defund Planned Parenthood, Mike Coffman would join his colleagues in trying to find out what’s behind this deceptive assault on women’s health,” Karen Middleton, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado, said in an email to Rewire.

“Planned Parenthood is a respected, frontline health care provider for thousands of Colorado women—so much so that Mike Coffman used their logo in an ad last year,” Middleton wrote.

Despite his advertisement, in which he claimed to have been “praised for protecting women from violence,” Coffman has an extensive record of anti-choice positions, including not only opposition to Planned Parenthood but also support for personhood abortion-ban initiatives in Colorado in 2008 and 2010.

Radio host Dan Caplis introduced Coffman on last week’s show with, “You’ve been such a champion for life, for the unborn—year after year after year.”

In fact, in a 2009 letter to Caplis, Coffman spotlighted his extreme anti-choice stance by asking the radio host to make sure his listeners understood his position against all abortion, even for rape and incest. Coffman wrote Caplis:

Dan, I would deeply appreciate it if, during your show, you could state that I wanted to make sure that my position was clear, unequivocally, that I oppose abortion in all cases of rape and incest. I believe that all life is equally sacred irregardless of how it came into being.

But in 2013, facing a tough re-election campaign, the congressman’s office stunned his anti-choice supporters and issued a statement, stating, without explanation, that he supported exceptions for rape and incest.

Coffman last voted to defund Planned Parenthood in 2011, when House Republicans added a resolution to a budget bill.