Has Coffman voted to defund Planned Parenthood six or seven times — a journalist’s guide

In a blog post last year, I showed that Rep. Mike Coffman has voted a total of six times to defund Planned Parenthood, a move that would stop 2,200 low-income women from going to the Planned Parenthood clinic in Coffman’s own Aurora district.

Then last week, Coffman voted again to defund the women’s health organization, but his vote came on an amended version of the same anti-Planned Parenthood bill he voted for in October of last year. I’d counted his October vote as his sixth vote to defund the organization.

If you’re a reporter, and you want to be fair to Coffman, do you count his vote last week as number seven? Or does he remain a six-time voter to defund Planned Parenthood?

To get an impartial opinion, I asked Fred Brown, a former Denver Post editor and political reporter, for his view on whether Coffmn’s vote on the amended bill should be reported as his seventh vote to defund Planned Parenthood. (I asked Brown to assume my tally was correct. I did not ask him to fact check my work, but you can do so here.)

Brown told me he’d count the two votes on the same bill as one vote for my tally, leaving it at six times Coffman has voted to defund.

“If there’s a different bill number, it’s a different vote,” wrote Brown, who’s also a nationally-known expert on journalism ethics.



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