Congresswoman faulted for $40 million abstinence vote

Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman voted to spend $40 million on abstinence-only indoctrination, an ultra-conservative substitute for sex education

Lisa McCormick, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for Congress, says Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman should have abstained from funding abstinence in the Coronavirus stimulus package

On March 27, 2020, Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman voted for a $40 million appropriation to fund an abstinence education program, and her opponent in the upcoming Democratic primary election is letting people know it’s an affront to women, civil rights and truth.

“What makes this especially absurd is that public schools are mostly closed, with no end in sight,” said Lisa McCormick, the progressive Democrat challenging Watson Coleman in the primary election. “That is a waste of resources when our hospitals and brave medical personnel are without adequate personal protection equipment, adequate supply of ventilators and adequate number of coronavirus tests.”

McCormick calls it a “boondoggle” that panders to Trump’s evangelical base.

“Abstinence-only means anti-science and anti-reality,” said McCormick. “These programs don’t educate children, they attempt to keep them ignorant, which puts them at risk.”

“Ironically, the ‘ab-only’ crusaders help to cause the abortions they denounce because without comprehensive sex education and access to contraceptives, young people are vulnerable to unwanted pregnancies.”

“Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman and President Donald Trump need to stop appeasing the Religious Right and instead ensure that only fact-based education programs are being funded by tax dollars,” said McCormick.

“It is past time young people receive the accurate, inclusive, and empowering sex education and related care that they deserve,” said McCormick. “It is unfortunate that Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman does not have the courage to support such ideals and make it happen, instead of caving in to right-wing extremists who insist on wasting money lying to America’s children.”

Acknowledging that ultra-conservative forces have been chipping away at freedom by stacking the courts and relentlessly pushing bad laws and programs, McCormick said she will work in Congress to ensure safe, legal, and accessible abortion and reproductive care to promote health and justice for women.

“I am appalled that abstinence was funded as part of the coronavirus corporate welfare scheme known as the CARES Act,” said McCormick. “I am appalled that abstinence was funded at all, since the federal government should only provide evidence-based, comprehensive and age appropriate sex education for all young adults in America.”

As an example,she cited the Real Education for Healthy Youth Act, which was introduced in 2011, by Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA), who proposed to improve sex education by ensuring that all youth in the U.S. have medically accurate information to make informed, responsible and health decisions about sexual health.

Bonnie Watson Coleman has not bothered to co-sponsor that legislation, but McCormick said she will push to honor the unfinished legacy of New Jersey’s late Senator and enact the measure if she is elected.

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