MONDAY UPDATE: NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado weighs in:
Karen Middleton, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado today questioned whether Colorado Attorney General candidate Cynthia Coffman could fairly represent the state’s voters and women after a video surfaced showing Coffman boasting that she helped deny funding for women’s health care.
A video of Cynthia Coffman, an announced candidate for Colorado Attorney General, shows her bragging to a group of Republicans in 2010 that she “was the attorney for Jane Norton when she went to court to take away funding for Planned Parenthood of the Rockies (sic).”
“Colorado has spoken several times on this issue. Voters have said clearly, loudly that they do not want government to make decisions that women should make in consultation with their families, their friends, their doctors and their faith,” said Middleton.
“This is the 21st century and women are capable of making a decision that is best for them, not denying health care services to those who most need them,” Middleton continued…
“Colorado voters have twice gone to the ballot and overwhelming said that we do not tolerate extremists on this issue. So who is Cynthia Coffman representing when she brags about denying health care services for women? It doesn’t seem like she’s on the side of the overwhelming majority of Colorado,” concluded Middleton.
In response to a post Wednesday on this blog, featuring video of GOP Colorado Attorney General candidate Cynthia Coffman boasting of her work to "defund Planned Parenthood" in this state, Planned Parenthood Votes Colorado sent out this press release yesterday making an issue of it:
DENVER—On election night in 2012 election, voters ousted politicians who ran on the campaign platform that included the promise to “defund Planned Parenthood,” resulting in an 18 percent gender gap, the largest since 1952. Yet we already have a candidate in Colorado who is repeating this same path and in doing so, using women’s health as her political pawn.
According to ColoradoPols.com, Cynthia Coffman, who worked on Jane Norton’s 2010 bid for Senate, proudly boasted, at a campaign event, that she and Norton had “defunded Planned Parenthood.”
Coffman has now declared her intention to run for the Colorado Attorney General’s office, which begs the question – is this candidate in touch with the values of Coloradans?
Norton’s move to defund Planned Parenthood resulted in 13,000 mostly rural women losing complete access to their basic health care needs including access to life-saving breast cancer screenings and contraceptives. Norton touts this move, which completely marginalizes the women of Colorado who relied on these services for their basic health care needs, as a success in her career. Throwing women under the bus and calling it a political win is bad policy, bad politics, and clearly yet another move by a gynotician. Gynotician is a term used by women’s health care advocates to denote a politician who feels more qualified than women and their doctors to make women’s health care decisions.
Planned Parenthood health centers provide primary and preventive health care to thousands of women who would otherwise have nowhere to turn. According to the Guttmacher Institute, six in ten patients who receive care at a family planning health center like Planned Parenthood consider it their main source of health care. One-in-five women has turned to Planned Parenthood at some time in her life for professional, non-judgmental, and confidential care. Nationwide, three million women, men, and teens are served in Planned Parenthood health centers every year.
“Women are frustrated with how politicians are playing politics with women’s health. Even in Colorado where we enjoy pro-choice majorities in both the House and Senate, we are not clear of anti-woman, anti-choice attacks. What’s clear is that people across Colorado do not think women’s health should come with a political label. In fact, a recent poll suggests that the majority of Colorado voters support Planned Parenthood, sixty-four percent of whom gave Planned Parenthood a favorable rating.” said Cathy Alderman of Planned Parenthood Votes Colorado.
Unfortunately, politicians at the federal and state level continue to attack Planned Parenthood and threaten Planned Parenthood health centers ability to provide health care to patients who need it the most. These attacks are far out-of-the-mainstream, and opposed by a majority of Americans.
In Colorado, PPVC is and will continue to hold state candidates accountable for their votes on legislation pertinent to women issues and women’s health. PPVC recently released the 2013 legislative scorecard based on lawmaker’s votes on key legislation throughout the 2013 session.
Please join PPVC in its “In My Pink Shoes” campaign to show Coffman the real values of Coloradans.
Allow us to spell this out as frankly as we may: Cynthia Coffman would obviously be helpful for Republicans in overcoming their large and growing deficit of support among women voters. Unfortunately, that appeal can rapidly fade if a woman candidate can be shown to be repellent on issues important to women voters. And what's useful in a GOP primary, which this attention from Planned Parenthood could be, can be harmful in the general election.
Each general election in recent years has brought this issue to the fore, in different ways and at different times but always over the strenuous objections of Republicans. That's because it's not an issue they want to talk about outside a narrow base of voters, and exposure outside of that narrow base has repeatedly proven disastrous in the general election. In addition, in recent years the ubiquity of digital video has made it impossible to contain the primary message from the future general election audience. Thus a 2010 campaign appearance at a "Tea Party" forum on behalf of another candidate can become a liability years later.
We don't have a solution, but at this point, we can describe the problem very well.