Statement from Rachel Sweet: Coleman candidacy was always bad for Kansas women
For Immediate Release: Aug. 24, 2020
Statement from Rachel Sweet, Planned Parenthood Great Plains Votes Regional Director of Public Policy and Organizing:
Throughout the course of his campaign, we have seen Aaron Coleman use his support for reproductive rights to distract from credible reports that he harassed, bullied, and distributed revenge porn of middle-school-aged girls. Coercing someone into sending nude photos, or distributing nude photos without the subject’s consent, is a form of sexual violence intended to humilate and belittle an abuser’s target. Planned Parenthood Great Plains Votes applauds the young women who have spoken out against Coleman and shared their stories. This is an incredibly hard thing to do in a culture that often blames women for their own abuse.
Coleman has also stated that he supports abortion “up to the day before [labor].” This is not how medicine works. "Abortion up until birth" is not something that happens — it's a myth created by the anti-abortion movement. Statements like this contribute to a culture of abortion stigma and misinformation, and make it harder for Kansans to access the care they need and deserve.
While Rep. Stan Frownfelter has a mixed voting record on reproductive rights, he has been a better ally to Kansas women than Coleman has ever shown himself to be. In 2020, he was part of the bipartisan coalition that blocked a constitutional amendment allowing the legislature to ban abortion. He has been an advocate for Medicaid expansion, for working families, and has shown a willingness to listen to his constituents as they advocate for their reproductive freedom.
Calling your opponent a misogynist does not make you an ally to women. Being a pro-woman candidate means more than just being pro-choice. You cannot honestly say that you support a woman's right to bodily autonomy when you use revenge porn to humiliate, belittle, coerce, and control women.
Coleman made the right decision by suspending his campaign. And Democratic Party leaders have done the right thing by disavowing his candidacy. We hope the next time an abusive man is running for elected office — for there will always be a next time — that this type of accountability will continue, regardless of a candidate’s perceived power or party affiliation.