Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ) delivered this week’s CBC Message To America and spoke about protecting women’s rights to quality health care.
As the first African-American woman from New Jersey to serve in Congress, Rep. Watson Coleman explained she is “fighting for every woman’s right to make her own healthcare decisions without the interference of politicians or anyone else.”
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“Unfortunately there are many in Congress who have taken a different path, committing themselves to an endless assault on access to affordable healthcare and limiting the options available for women as they consider growing their families,”said Watson Coleman.
“These attacks hurt every American family,” Rep. Watson Colman said. “But their impact in Black communities is even more dangerous, making it that much harder to get the care we desperately need.”
Congresswoman Watson Coleman explained, “African-American women face many disparities, from how far we have to travel from home to get to a doctor, to the far greater numbers of us who face chronic illnesses.”
“Black women face higher mortality rates, from breast and ovarian cancers. We are disproportionately impacted by HIV/AIDS, with some of the fastest rates of new infections each year,” said Watson Coleman.
She added, “Black children face more than double the infant mortality rates than White children and we still face outsized rates of unintended and teen pregnancies.”
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To combat the disparities faced by African-American women, Rep. Watson Coleman said, “Those disparities require more resources, attention and care.”
She rebuked the “cuts, lies and demagoguery” on display on Capitol Hill saying, “When the majority in the House voted to defund Planned Parenthood, a vital healthcare provider for many women, they threatened the affordable care that our communities rely on.”
“When the same majority sought to repeal the Affordable Care Act, a law that has expanded access to care for nearly 6.8 million African-Americans, they put our families at risk,” Watson Coleman said.
She explained that she can identify the “attacks on women’s rights” and said, “Now is not the time to play politics with the health of African-American women and their families.”
Watson Coleman concluded her remarks: “There are so many issues for Congress to get to work on. Issues like restoring the Voting Rights Act or making much-needed changes to our criminal justice system and the ways in which those who have served their time return to society, [but] limiting women’s access to healthcare shouldn’t be on that agenda.”
Watch Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman’s address in the video clip above.
For more information about the Congressional Black Caucus, visit cbc-butterfield.house.gov.
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