The Olympics are making lots of people think again about the Zika virus, and this, in turn, should give Rep. Mike Coffman a small slice of the media spotlight.
In a June vote that was ignored by local reporters, the Aurora Republican backed a House GOP bill that actually factually aimed to block the United States’ Zika-response funds from going to groups (like Planned Parenthood) for birth control and family planning programs—even though Zika affects the developing fetus and appears to be sexually transmitted.
Hence, birth control is obviously part of the response to Zika!
Yet, the GOP’s anti-birth-control sneaks slipped language in the Zika bill (See Zika Response Appropriations here) stating that money “related to patient care associated with the Zika virus” could only be spent on “prenatal care, delivery care, postpartum care, newborn health assessments, and care for infants with special health care needs.”
No money birth control. None for family planning. Nothing for anything pre-sex or pre-zygote.
As the Huffington Post reported at the time:
[Democrats] are particularly upset that the bill excludes $50 million in requested funds for maternal and child health and blocks supplemental funds from going to Planned Parenthood for birth control services. The bill mandates that the Zika funds be prioritized for mosquito control programs, vaccines and diagnostics, leaving no resources for contraceptives or condoms.
After Coffman voted for the GOP legislation along with House Republicans, U.S. Senate Democrats blocked the bill.
The Zika vote is also newsworthy now, because Coffman is making a big deal of promising to “stand up” to Trump, even though he still may vote for the mogul. As part of this, Coffman is claiming to be a different kind of Republican. But where was the different kind of Republican on the Zika vote a few short months ago, and so many other votes where Coffman slides under the radar with the GOP conservative majority.
And, no, when Coffman votes against birth control and Planned Parenthood, he doesn’t make an ad saying he’s going along with the Republican conservative status quo. That’s not news, but it should be.
For example, Coffman’s vote in June was his latest in a long list of attacks on Planned Parenthood and family planning. Depending on how you count, he’s voted six or seven times to completely defund the women’s health organization, a move that would stop about 2,200 low-income women from going to the Planned Parenthood clinic in Coffman’s own Aurora district.
I don’t recall Coffman making an ad saying he’s voting again against Planned-Parenthood funding, do you?
Coffman’s Democratic opponent in this year’s election is State Sen. Morgan Carroll.