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Colorado’s Anti-Choice Attorney General Won’t Investigate Planned Parenthood

Jason Salzman

On the same day that Colorado's health department and attorney general declined to investigate Planned Parenthood, 30 state lawmakers, all Republicans, called for an investigation of the women's health organization.

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

Resisting pressure from her Republican allies, Colorado’s anti-choice attorney general said Wednesday that she would not pursue an investigation into unproven allegations that the Colorado affiliate of Planned Parenthood illegally sold fetal tissue.

Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman’s decision came hours after the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) announced it would forgo an investigation.

Coffman said CDPHE’s announcement would be the “final response” to requests that she launch an investigation, according to a report by 9News, Colorado’s NBC affiliate. Coffman’s office said the legal authority to launch a probe rests with CDPHE, not her office.

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Coffman’s office did not respond to a request for comment.

The calls for an investigation came after discredited videos were released of Planned Parenthood officials discussing fetal tissue programs. No evidence has shown that Planned Parenthood broke state of federal laws. The anti-choice front group that released the heavily edited videos, the Center for Medical Progress, is under investigation for a variety of potentially illegal activities related to the making of the attack videos.

Colorado is the sixth state that’s proactively announced it won’t investigate Planned Parenthood, joining Delaware, Idaho, Minnesota, New Hampshire, and Virginia, according to a tally distributed by Planned Parenthood. At least five states have concluded investigations and found no evidence of wrongdoing. Ten states are still conducting investigations.

“Around the country, state attorneys general have either cleared Planned Parenthood of wrongdoing, or seen the fraudulent videos for what they are, and declined to pursue investigations,” Vicki Cowart, president of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains (PPRM), said in a statement. “We are pleased that Colorado, like the Planned Parenthood staff who confronted these imposters, has declined to take their bait.”

The push for an investigation in Colorado is not over. Also on Wednesday, 30 Colorado state lawmakers released a letter calling on CDPHE to investigate Planned Parenthood, increasing the likelihood of legislative activity next year when the Colorado legislature convenes.

Democrats hold a small majority in the Colorado house, while Republicans have a 18-17 majority in the state senate.

“A civilized society cannot allow unethical and illegal medical practices such as the harvesting of aborted human organs and babies for monetary gain. I would hope that even proponents of abortion would agree to that much,” wrote one of the signers of the letter, state Rep. Dan Nordberg (R-Colorado Springs), in a press release, as reported by the Colorado Statesman.

“Despite clear and repeated repudiation of the false claims made against Planned Parenthood, they are playing partisan political games with women’s lives—again,” said PPRM spokeswoman Cathy Alderman in a statement.

“It‘s pure hypocrisy that so many of the same lawmakers who signed this letter to investigate Planned Parenthood, who provides care to so many Colorado women, also voted to stop funding that would have prevented unintended pregnancies and reduced the need for abortions,” Alderman said, referring, in part, to the Colorado Republicans’ role in blocking funds for a successful state program that provided long acting reversible contraception (LARC) to low-income women and teenagers.

In the weeks leading up to the attorney general’s decision Wednesday, U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs) was among the anti-choice leaders leaning on Coffman to conduct an investigation. In a July 17 letter to Lamborn, Coffman wrote that she would “carefully monitor” developments in the Planned Parenthood matter, including allegations that Colorado State University might have been involved in illegal activities relating to its use of fetal tissue in research. No evidence that CSU broke any laws has been produced.

Lamborn said Wednesday in a news release, “It is shocking that despite Colorado being the epicenter of a national outcry over the trafficking of aborted baby body parts for profit, our state officials, who have been entrusted with the responsibility to ensure compliance with state law, have chosen to relinquish their duty.”

In fact, there’s been no proof of such trafficking.

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