Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO) voted last week to defund Planned Parenthood in the U.S. House, even though, as first reported by Rewire, he’d used the Planned Parenthood Action Fund (PPAF) logo in a political advertisement during last year’s election campaign.
Asked Monday by 9News, Denver’s NBC affiliate, about the apparent inconsistency, Coffman’s spokesperson Cinamon Watson said, “Using Planned Parenthood’s expression of support is not the same thing as saying it’s a good organization.”
In the campaign ad, the PPAF logo is pictured beneath Coffman as a narrator says, “Coffman was praised for protecting women from violence.”
Coffman, an ardently anti-choice Republican, included the PPAF logo in his campaign ad last year in an effort to appeal to women voters, a key swing bloc in his district, which is considered one of the most competitive U.S. House districts in the country, say state political observers.
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Coffman voted to defund Planned Parenthood not only on Friday but also in 2011, three years prior to using the logo in his 2014 ad. A longtime fixture in Colorado politics, Coffman is known to be a hard-line opponent of abortion for any reason. In one instance, after appearing on a radio show, he even insisted that his opposition to abortion, even for rape, be clarified.
But after his district was re-drawn in 2010 and he faced a tough re-election campaign, Coffman came out in support of offering a raped woman the option of abortion. This disappointed anti-choice activists who backed Colorado’s radical “personhood” amendments, which Coffman supported in 2008 and 2010, but not in 2014. Colorado voters soundly rejected the “personhood” amendment all three times.
Planned Parenthood praised Coffman and other Republicans in 2013 after they’d voted for the Violence Against Women Act, which drew fierce opposition from many in the GOP. After Coffman released his 2014 ad with the PPAF logo, Cathy Alderman, a spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, said in an email to Rewire that she was “surprised to see Rep. Coffman tout support from Planned Parenthood” after he’d voted to defund the organization.
Asked by 9News whether Coffman would use the PPFA logo again, Watson said she expected the health-care organization to oppose the anti-choice Republican in his 2016 campaign.
“Given his decision I wouldn’t expect Planned Parenthood to praise the congressman anytime soon, nor would I expect to see Planned Parenthood logos on anything but attack ads—even though his support for women on issues ranging from access to over the counter contraceptives to sexual assault demonstrates his leadership on issues important to women,” Watson said.
Coffman is facing another tight race next year against pro-choice Democrat Morgan Carroll.