Why Is Colorado Rep. Mike Coffman Suddenly Disappointing His Personhood Supporters?

You'd expect Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO) to join fellow House Republicans in supporting an abortion ban, but his decision to back exceptions for rape and incest, when he ardently opposed such exceptions previously, raises questions for the Congressman.

You'd expect Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO) (pictured above) to join fellow House Republicans in supporting an abortion ban, but his decision to back exceptions for rape and incest, when he ardently opposed such exceptions previously, raises questions for the Congressman. TogetherColorado / YouTube

After pointing to Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO) as a model of a winning candidate in a swing district who “maintained his 100 percent pro-life position,” including his opposition to abortion in cases of rape, Jennifer Mason, communications director of the anti-abortion group Personhood USA, is now disappointed by Coffman’s statement yesterday that he “strongly” supports the “exceptions for rape, incest, and protecting the life of the mother” that were included in a House bill banning abortion after after 20 weeks post-fertilization.

Coffman joined nearly all House Republicans in supporting the abortion ban, and he issued a statement yesterday reiterating his “yes” vote, as well as his support for the rape and incest exceptions included in the proposed law.

Coffman’s support for the legislation shouldn’t have surprised reporters, given his track record on the abortion issue, but his decision to back exceptions to the abortion ban should have caught the attention of more journalists—even if they suspected this was coming as Coffman, widely viewed as one of the most endangered Congressman in the country, competes for women’s votes his race against Democrat Andrew Romanoff.

Personhood USA’s Mason, who stood with Coffman in the past, is disappointed. “It is not uncommon for politicians to lose moral ground once they are elected, Mason said in an email. “Mike Coffman’s vote for the death penalty for babies conceived in rape is very disappointing. Let’s call it like it is: so-called ‘exceptions’ for babies conceived in rape are not exceptions at all. They are compromises that allow for innocent children to be killed. Every compromise causes us to lose ground, catering to our opposition’s demand to de-value human life. We expect better from our elected officials.”

In response to questions about Coffman’s abortion position, Leslie Hanks, former president of Colorado Right to Life, sent a photo reply, below, of two women holding signs with pictures of apparent fetuses and the messages “I did not choose to have a rapist for a father. Must I die because of it?” and “I am not of clump of cells. I am a human being.”

In a statement, Cathy Alderman, vice president of public affairs at Planned Parenthood Colorado Votes, expressed disappointment with Coffman’s support of the abortion ban, even with the exceptions:

A Gynotician is [a] politician who feels more qualified than women and their doctors to make women’s health care decisions. For too long, Gynoticians like Reps. Mike Coffman, Cory Gardner, Scott Tipton and Doug Lamborn have been operating with impunity in our state. It is time to say “enough is enough”—we are revoking the Gynoticians’ licenses and telling them that personal medical decisions belong back in the hands of a woman and her doctor.

During the last election the Denver media essentially failed to question Coffman about his opposition to abortion, even in the case of rape and incest. The details of Coffman’s thinking—why he’d come to take such a hardline stance—fell through the journalistic cracks, as Coffman repeatedly told audiences he’s “not focused on social issues.” Now journalists are failing to question Coffman as he suddenly supports abortion in cases of rape.

Photo provided by Leslie Hanks.