Rick Brand is a longtime Newsday reporter who writes about politics and government on Long Island.
Democratic Congressional contender Steve Stern on Monday attacked his primary foe, former Nassau County Executive Thomas Suozzi, for in the past backing taxpayer funded “abstinence only” birth control education.
A Suozzi spokesman accused Stern of “distorting the truth for votes.”
The clash arose as Stern, a Suffolk County legislator, unveiled a seven-point “full women’s equality agenda,” with pay equity and funding for Planned Parenthood as top priorities.
Stern attacked a $1 million program by Suozzi in 2006 — the year he ran for governor — because it included taxpayer funded “abstinence only” birth control education.
“Tom Suozzi has a history of being weak on choice,” a Stern news release said.
Suozzi backers say he received a 100 percent rating from Planned Parenthood when he last ran for county executive in 2013, and that the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League also endorsed Suozzi, saying, “Tom Suozzi supports women and treats our decisions with dignity.”
“Tom’s 100 percent pro-choice,” said Mike Florio, Suozzi’s campaign manager.
Florio called Stern “a typical politician who will distort the truth for votes.”
Supporters acknowledge that Suozzi as county executive included two abstinence initiatives in his $1 million plan, which promoted birth control, adoption and housing for single mothers as ways to reduce teen pregnancy.