A sidenote to this week's passage in the U.S. House of H.R. 1797, a GOP-sponsored bill to restrict abortion rights, helpfully brought to our attention by a reader. Following the vote on H.R. 1797 Tuesday, Rep. Mike Coffman of Colorado put out a statement attempting to explain his vote in favor of this abortion ban bill:
I voted today in favor of H.R. 1797 to limit late term abortion. I strongly support the exceptions for rape, incest, and protecting the life of the mother that have been included in this legislation. [Pols emphasis]
As has been reported in this space and elsewhere, this represents a major shift in Coffman's stance on abortion. Back in 2009, Coffman was so eager to make sure his hard-line position on abortion was known that he requested this clarification from former local talk-show host Dan Caplis:
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. [Pols emphasis] I believe that all life is equally sacred irregardless of how it came into being.
You'll recall that Rep. Coffman has explained his "change of heart" on another issue, immigration reform, by saying he spoke with affected families–especially noncitizen soldiers in the American armed forces. Of course, the fact that Coffman's formerly beet-red district was remade into one of the most competitive districts in the nation is widely accepted as the true reason for Coffman's shifting stances on the issues.
In 2011, Coffman co-sponsored a bill to restrict abortion funding to cases of "forcible" rape along with Rep. Todd Akin of Missouri, a bill now embarrassingly prescient of Akin's career-ending remarks about "legitimate rape" and pregnancy. Coffman's 2009 statement that he "opposes abortion in all cases of rape and incest" was unequivocal. What happened to change his mind this time, other than simple political calculation?
Because you only get so many "changes of heart" before they put your face on an Etch-a-Sketch.