During a talk radio interview early this month, Colorado Attorney General and Republican gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Coffman expressed her personal opposition to the landmark Roe v. Wade decision to legalize abortion–even though she accepts the law as “settled.”
The Supreme Court decided in 1973 that the constitutional right to privacy extended to a woman’s right to make her own personal medical decisions, including the decision to terminate a pregnancy, thereby enshrining abortion as a constitutional right.
On Feb. 3, Coffman told KNUS host Craig Silverman, who asked if she agreed with the Supreme Court decision, that she believes it should have been left up to the states.
Coffman: I frankly think it would have been better if the United States Supreme Court had said, “We’re leaving this decision to the states.” I think that’s where it belongs. I think states, as sovereigns, should be able to make a determination about a right and about equal protection when it comes to the very personal and difficult decision of abortion. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court chose to create a right. And we have seen this become the most divisive social issue of our lifetime, certainly. And the fact that we continue to relitigate it, tells me that people still feel very strongly about it. But this is a decided question. The Supreme Court of the United States has said this is this is the way it is. And there is a right to choice. Women can decide personally — with their doctor and their family and their faith — whether they want to have an abortion or not. I support the law. I do, as Attorney General I do, as governor. I think if you’re going to be an elected official, you need to support the law. You can have a personal opinion that is different. But that, to me, is a settled question. And we really need to move on from that. People have deep personal relief — beliefs about this. And I have all the respect in the world for people who have a religious belief, one way or the other. But as a government, as a society, we have a court ruling that tells us this is this is where the line is. Let’s go forward.
She went on to say that the constitutionality of abortion is a “settled question” that “we really need to move on from.”
In fact, observers of the Supreme Court argue that Roe could be overturned if Trump gets to select another conservative justice for the bench.
When pressed by Silverman on how she would have voted on the 20-week abortion ban that was recently pushed by Republicans in Congress, Coffman wouldn’t provide a clear answer, saying she has not “followed the debate,” but then adding, “I think we have seen the science and technology evolve greatly since the Supreme Court made its decision, and I think revisiting when an abortion is safe and is –should be — legal, is a question that our society may want to look at again.”
Coffman’s views on abortion have been notoriously difficult to pin down. In recent weeks, she has made remarks that can be interpreted as pro-choice, yet she refuses to accept the label.
NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado Director Karen Middleton expressed distrust for Coffman in the following statement, in which she interprets Coffman’s position as an all-out opposition to Roe.
“Cynthia Coffman’s answer on abortion rights is all over the place – which means Coloradans can’t trust her. On the one hand, she says it should be left to women and doctors. On the other hand, she says Roe was wrongly decided.
The question is a simple yes or no: do you support the Constitutional right to abortion established in Roe v. Wade or not? Coffman’s response was that it should be left to the states – which means she opposes Roe.
Coloradans have answered yes to that question for the past fifty years at the voting booth. If Cynthia Coffman can’t, and doesn’t reflect the will or values of Colorado voters, she shouldn’t be representing them as Governor.”
Listen to Coffman’s Feb. 3 KNUS 710-AM radio appearance with Silverman in full here.