In a new television ad, Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO) prominently displays the logo of Planned Parenthood Action Fund and cites praise from Planned Parenthood in 2013, even though Coffman, who’s long opposed a woman’s right to choose, has voted to halt federal funding for Planned Parenthood’s women’s health programs.
The Coffman ad starts by accusing Coffman’s opponent, Andrew Romanoff, of distorting facts. “Mike Coffman is different,” the ad says, before presenting the Planned Parenthood logo. It continues, “Coffman was praised for protecting women from violence.”
The sentence “Coffman ‘showed courage’” is displayed on the screen next to the Planned Parenthood Action Fund logo. The ad concludes with praise from the Colorado Springs Gazette, calling him “practical” and “selfless.”
“We were surprised to see Rep. Coffman tout support from Planned Parenthood in his most recent political ad since he has voted many times to de-fund Planned Parenthood health centers, which provide many important health services to women including birth control, family planning services, and lifesaving cancer screenings,” Cathy Alderman, a spokesperson for Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, wrote in an email to Rewire.
Planned Parenthood Action Fund issued a statement last year that praised 33 Republicans, including Coffman, for “showing courage” by voting for the Violence Against Women Act, which authorized funds to respond to domestic violence, sexual assault, and other violent acts against women.
“Mr. Coffman has also repeatedly voted against legislation that would help women receive fair pay for the same work performed by men,” Alderman wrote. “A single vote supporting better protections for women who are victims of domestic violence certainly does not translate into evidence that [Coffman] is an advocate for the broad range of issues that women are facing today, including pay equity and access to reproductive health care.”
Coffman’s last vote against Planned Parenthood funding came in 2011, when House Republicans added a resolution to the federal budget bill, HR 36, stating that funding in the legislation “may be made available for any purpose to Planned Parenthood Federation of America Inc. or any affiliate of Planned Parenthood Federation of America Inc.”
Coffman’s office did not return a phone message seeking comment.
Throughout the campaign, abortion rights advocates, as well as Coffman’s opponent Andrew Romanoff, have spotlighted Coffman’s previous support for Colorado’s “personhood” amendments, which would ban abortion, even for rape and incest.
Coffman, along with Colorado senatorial candidate Cory Gardner, withdrew his support from the state “personhood” amendments in March, saying the issue had been settled.
“Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains supports funding for domestic violence services. And as the leading advocate for Planned Parenthood health centers in Colorado, we know that these programs are vital to helping women and their families escape domestic violence and move forward with their lives,” Alderman wrote. “Women’s safety is not a political issue and we are pleased the program was reauthorized by Congress across party lines.”
Coffman and Romanoff are battling in a congressional district that was re-drawn in 2010, changing it from reliably Republican to competitive. The district was represented by Rep. Tom Tancredo, an anti-immigration firebrand, before Coffman took it over in 2008.
The Coffman-Romanoff race is widely considered to be one of the closest House races in the country this year.