06/14/2012 11:08 pm ET Updated Aug 14, 2012

Can Coffman Be Moderate and Oppose Abortion for Rape Victims?

After Representative Mike Coffman told supporters that "in his heart," Obama is "just not an American," some in the media debated whether Coffman's statement, which he apologized for, was 1) a departure from Coffman's image as a moderate or 2) a continuation of his alignment with extremists and fringe causes.

On abortion, the topic of today's blog post, reporters should note that it's clearly the latter. That would be number two, above.

In its latest comments on Coffman, Colorado Right to Life's blog stated in a 2010 update, that Coffman is "on record supporting Personhood and is on record as Pro-Life with no exceptions."

Earlier this year, Colorado Right to Life Vice President Leslie Hanks told me that "no exceptions" means abortion would not be allowed in the case of rape and incest.

Coffman has opposed abortion even in the case of rape and incest going back to at least 2008, according to the Colorado Right to Life website.

For example, in 2008 Colorado Right to Life complained to Coffman after hearing him say, on the Caplis and Silverman show, that he favored allowing abortion in the case of rape and incest.

Coffman subsequently sent a letter to Caplis and Silverman, and to Colorado Right to Life, clarifying that he is opposed to abortion, even in the case of rape and incest. Here's the story, as told on Colorado Right to Life's website:

Last week, while appearing on the Caplis & Silverman radio show (630 KHOW, Denver), Congressional candidate Mike Coffman was heard to say that he did not oppose abortion in cases of rape or incest. This sent CRTL and many other pro-lifers into a tizzy, because it went against what Mike had pledged in his Candidate Survey, as well as what we all thought we knew about Mike's beliefs.

When contacted about this, Mike immediately expressed surprise that he'd said any such thing. He thinks he may have gotten confused and said the opposite of what he meant. While with many candidates, we might suspect evasion, this didn't seem to be the case with Mike. He has written to attempt to clarify with Dan Caplis, so no one will misunderstand. Here is his note (copied to CRTL):


First of all, thanks so much for your help with my campaign and for inviting me on your show. During the debate, Craig Silverman was questioning me on the issue of abortion. My response was focused on arguing that Roe v. Wade was bad law. During that exchange, Craig asked me about the issue of rape and incest. Apparently, my answer came across as supporting abortions under a rape and incest exception. I absolutely do not believe in that.

Dan, I would deeply appreciate it if, during your show, you could state that I wanted to make sure that my position was clear, unequivocally, that I oppose abortion in all cases of rape and incest. I believe that all life is equally sacred irregardless of how it came into being.

Thanks again, Mike Coffman

It takes a big man to admit such a mistake. And Mike Coffman's strong relationship with the pro-life community over many years is obviously important enough to him that he wanted to make this correction/clarification despite the fact that he surely has Colorado's 6th District race locked up and will almost certainly be one of Colorado's newly elected Congressmen in 2009.

This is great news for unborn children!

The above exchange came after Coffman, who gave $75 to the Colorado Right to Life Committee in 2008, according to campaign donation records on TRACER, defeated Ted Harvey and Wil Armstrong in a tough primary battle to represent the ultra-conservative 6th Congressional district. Now the 6th is considered much more moderate.

During the 2008 primary, Colorado Right to Life wrote of Coffman:

In a previous blog post, we reported that we believed both Senator Ted Harvey and Secretary State Mike Coffman hold uncompromised positions on Personhood and Life issues, according to the CRTL candidate questionnaire. Sadly, we must correct this information.

We now know that Secretary State Mike Coffman is the only candidate for the GOP 6th District Congressional primary who holds uncompromised views on abortion, and the only candidate who has promised not to continue supporting compromised legislation...

Mike Coffman also has a decades-long history (20 years or more) of not just support, but active involvement in the pro-life community, over and above what would be expected of any typical Republican official.

Mike Coffman has been a good and consistent friend to CRTL for many years, up to and including the last couple of years when even CRTL's strongest legislative supporters (including Harvey) found excuses not to attend CRTL events.

Coffman has yet to comment this election cycle on his abortion stance, and he hasn't said whether he'll support this year's personhood measure.

Obviously, these are issues that reporters should pursue, assuming Coffman talks to reporters again, as he used to do frequently, before he made his comments about Obama's heart.