How Abortion Advocate Rep. Steve Cohen Keeps His District Poor

Last week, I testified before the House Judiciary subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice, on HR 490, also known as the Heartbeat Bill.

The bill, introduced by Iowa Republican congressman Steve King, prohibits abortion of an unborn child once the child’s heartbeat is detectable.

I have been fighting for the last 30 years to protect the unborn, and I wholeheartedly gave my endorsement to this bill.

In follow-up questioning, I responded to allegations, often made, that abortion is essentially a health and welfare program, categorizing it like major government spending programs that target the poor, such as Medicaid and food stamps.

I shared my view that thinking about abortion in this way is “disingenuous.”

It represents the very sick view that killing children in the womb is a way to fight poverty.

One member of the committee, Steve Cohen, a Democrat representing the 9th district of Tennessee, has a lifetime record, both in the U.S. Congress and as a state legislator, advocating this distortion that somehow abortion is a remedial measure for low-income black women.

Confused liberals like Cohen think the problem is pregnancy rather than sexual activity taking place outside of where it belongs — in marriage. So they encourage the very behavior that leads to poverty — promiscuity and abortion.

We can see the results in Cohen’s own district. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in Cohen’s 9th district in Tennessee, 8.7 percent of households headed by a married couple with children under 5 are poor. However, 59.5 percent of households headed by a single woman with children under 5 are poor.

Cohen attacked me in the hearing, calling me “ignorant,” and suggested that my telling the truth somehow showed disrespect to him. After the hearing, he approached me, put his finger in my face, and told me to come to his office and personally apologize to him.

In 1997, Cohen opposed legislation that banned partial-birth abortion in Tennessee. This procedure was banned in federal law in 2003.

Because of the unique brutality of partial-birth abortion, Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy included in his opinion, in which the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of banning this procedure, testimony of a nurse who witnessed it.

She described the baby moving its fingers and toes as the doctor jammed scissors into the back of its head.

Cohen’s district in Tennessee is a picture of the kind of distressed communities that my organization CURE targets to help recover. It is two-thirds black, has eight ZIP codes with infant mortality rates triple the national average, has a median household income two-thirds the national average, and poverty 10 points higher than the national average.

It is indeed a challenge to get truth into poor black communities that have suffered for years from liberal leaders like Cohen telling them what they need is more government and abortion. My work in Washington, D.C., focuses on getting public policy that will allow more flexibility for people like those in Cohen’s district to self-govern.

In 1996, a year before Cohen voted to oppose banning partial-birth abortion in Tennessee, I worked in Washington to pass welfare reform.

The only apology I have to make is that I do not have more opportunities to testify against the distortions and damage caused by liberals like Cohen.

He extols his affection for Planned Parenthood, which annually aborts more black babies than any organization in the country: “For me Planned Parenthood is part of my DNA. It is one of the finest organizations in this country.” And he equates black fertility to slavery: “women since the days of slavery were … encouraged to have children, because … you needed … more property to bring the crops to make the money.”

Work needs to continue to help poor blacks in Steve Cohen’s district understand that he is the last person they should have representing them.



Photo credit: By Thomas R Machnitzki ( – Own work, CC BY 3.0, Link

StarParkerBCNStar Parker is the founder and president of the Center for Urban Renewal and Education. Contact her at

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  1. Star: Hooray! You go girl! God bless you for standing up to him and telling the Truth!

  2. The wilful blindness of Rep. Cohen and those like him gives us the like of wilful murderers like Kermit Gosnell and far too many like him. God bless you, Star, for standing up to this poor excuse for a public servant. May his comeuppance be long and painful.

    • Ernestine S Bonicelli

      I don’t think he’s blind at all. I think he knows exactly what he’s doing. He is totally without any principals or morals, and has the people he represents believing he’s helping them. I would like to know what they think their lives would be like without his “help.” He is helping nobody but Steve Cohen get re-elected and that’s all he cares about.

  3. God Bless you Star!!! 🙂

  4. Hi Star, my name is Charlotte Bergmann. We’ve met on different occasions at CPAC conferences. I call you, “friend.” God allowed your encounter with Rep. Cohen to occur so that the nation could see how he has failed and deceived the voters in my community. I am the right person who should be representing TN-9, instead of Rep. Steve Cohen. I know what it is like to carry babies in my womb and then be able to see them experience life and to become productive citizens and heads of families and hard workers. I am a former RNC Delegate for then candidate Donald J. Trump. I am the 2nd VP of our Federated Republicans Club and I am a member of the executive board for our Republican Party. I am a small business owner who has had a period in my life where I would have qualified for government assistance, but I chose not to. I’m glad I did not. I am now in a position to hire some women who can work as nurses and earn money through their hard labor. I believe education and good skills are the equalizer necessary to help bring people out of poverty. Thank you, Star, for your continued work against the evils of Planned Parenthood, and against those who extol and support them for their evil. I would like to formally invite you to speak to our Republican Party’s Lincoln Day in February in order to address many of the people who have been deceived by this representative. God Bless!

  5. Great job, Star!!!
    We need to boldy speak the truth as you do!
    The eugenicists continue their grim march to destroy the greatest hope in our nation!
    Every American needs to be reminded of the history of the Democratic party. Slavery; The Ku Klux Klan; Jim Crow : Sebregation etc, etc….
    Today they continue to deny individual rights by using identity politics to make everyone into a victim!
    Every year they invent some new group of people to identify as victims.
    We are MORE THAN OVERCOMERS, not victims!
    Keep up the good work!

  6. So, you are pro-life, ok. If impoverished women are forced to give birth to every unwanted pregnancy, what happens next? I never see pro-lifers signing up to help support these women and raise these babies. The only thing I ever hear out of you guys is sex should be in marriage. Well, guess what… 1. I have known married people that have chosen abortion because they could not yet afford to care and raise a child. 2. Sex happens outside of marriage. We are not puritans anymore and you will never force society back into a puritanical era. Again I ask, who is going to help these women once they give birth? Child neglect & abuse will increase as you have women who are forced into a situation with no foundation or support. That’s just what society needs, more impoverished and neglected children and future adults. If you want to do away with abortion, how about you go sign up to raise one of these “blessings from God?”

    • Why do women who miscarry grieve? Are they ridiculous because they loved their unborn baby? Why is it sad when a wanted and loved unborn baby dies; but not an unwanted baby. Are human beings born into poverty less valuable than humans born into more financially stable homes? Why aren’t poor babies blessings from God? Isn’t it sad that there are babies conceived that are never loved or valued by anyone; not even the mother. Maybe, we as a people, should focus on helping impoverished and neglected children instead of using population control. How many newborns put up for adoption in America do not find a loving family willing to adopt?