08/26/2014 01:46 pm ET Updated Aug 27, 2014

GOP Rep. Mike Coffman Touts Support Of Women's Issues, Despite Record On 'Personhood'

Rep. Mike Coffman's (R-Colo.) re-election campaign released its first television ad on Tuesday, with a focus on women's issues.

The ad says that, while in Congress, Coffman took on sexual assault in the military, gender discrimination in insurance policies and the Violence Against Women Act in ways that benefited women.

"I am proud that Democratic Congresswoman Jackie Speier and I were able to pass legislation strengthening protections for victims of sexual assault in the military," Coffman said in a statement on his campaign website.

"When I served in the State Legislature, I worked with members of both parties to ban gender discrimination in health insurance pricing and ensure that women could not be charged more than men," he noted.

Though Coffman touted his record on women's issues in the ad, he has come under fire in the past for his views on women's reproductive rights.

Coffman has changed his position on the issue of "personhood" initiatives, saying in March that he does not support them, even though he did back them in 2010.

According to NARAL Pro-Choice America, such proposals redefine "the word 'personhood' to say that life begins at conception even before doctors say a pregnancy occurs! It thus gives legal rights to a fertilized egg."

Supporters of personhood initiatives in Colorado are now pushing a new amendment to the state constitution. The amendment "would allow prosecutors to bring charges against someone who commits a crime against a fetus," according to The Washington Post.

Coffman's challenger, former Colorado House Speaker Andrew Romanoff (D), has criticized Coffman's previous support of personhood measures.

Coffman also had an embarrassing flub at a debate with Romanoff, where he fumbled before remembering the words "birth control."

"Actions speak louder than advertisements," Denise Baron, Romanoff's campaign spokeswoman, said in a press release. "It's what the congressman is doing in Washington -- not just what he's saying in Colorado -- that matters. If you want to call yourself a champion for equality, you don't block equal pay and you don't restrict women's access to health care.

"Mike Coffman doesn't have our back. In his first debate with Andrew, he couldn't even remember the words 'birth control,' much less identify a single vote he had taken to protect our access to it."

This post has been updated with a statement from Romanoff's campaign spokeswoman.



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