If you read Rep. Mike Coffman's recent explanations for his votes to defund Planned Parenthood, and you also know he used a Planned-Parenthood logo to promote himself in a political advertisement during his last election campaign, you might conclude that Coffman's turn against Planned Parenthood is a recent change-of-heart.
Last month, he explained his vote to defund the women's health organization this way:
Coffman: "Until they clean up their act, we should fund critical women's services through the many other community health partners that operate across my district, the state and all across this country in a way that doesn't fly in the face of human decency."
Until they clean up their act? There's nothing in Coffman's record to suggest he'd ever support Planned Parenthood.
In fact, he's voted six times to defund Planned Parenthood over the past eight years. That's why everyone was surprised that he'd used a Planned Parenthood logo in a campaign ad last year
Here's the awkward attempt by Coffman's office to explain why he featured the logo in the ad.
"Using Planned Parenthood's expression of support is not the same thing as saying it's a good organization," said Coffman's spokeswoman Cinamon Watson told Brandon Rittiman, a reporter for 9News, a Denver television station.
This leaves the question of why Coffman used the logo unanswered, but at least Watson confirmed that her boss thinks Planned Parenthood is a bad organization, as he said in July on conservative talk radio.
"It's just one thing after another with Planned Parenthood," Coffman told KNUS 710-AM's Dan Caplis.
That statement of longstanding opposition to Planned Parenthood is consistent with his record of six defunding votes, the first of which occurred in 2007, when he voted for an amendment, offered by Indiana Rep. Mike Pence, to a federal budget bill. Pence offered a similar amendment in 2009 to a federal budget bill, and Coffman voted in favor.
Coffman's next vote to defund Planned Parenthood came in 2011, after House Republicans added a resolution to a 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." Also in 2011, House Republicans added amendment 95 to a second bill, H.R. 1, allowing Coffman to vote again to defund Planned Parenthood.
This issue will clearly return as the election season heats up, and there are still questions left hanging, including the basic question, which Coffman's spokeswoman dodged earlier this year, of why such an ardently anti-choice and anti-Planned-Parenthood Congressman would use the organization's logo in a campaign ad. But more broadly, why has Coffman, who will face Democrat Morgan Carroll in 2016, opposed Planned Parenthood for so long?
And, with women continuing to be a swing voting bloc in his competitive district, is Coffman now trying to cover up his total opposition to Planned Parenthood, by wrapping himself in the organization's logo and acting as if he's ready to support Planned Parenthood if, somehow, it changes to his liking?