White male lawmakers in Florida’s are playing the race card about abortion, again, and their black female counterparts are not here for it.
According to the Grio, as many as five black female representatives among a group of African-American lawmakers walked out of the Florida House in response to factually incorrect comments made by Republican Rep. Charles Van Zant in defense of an abortion bill that passed the Florida House of Representatives. The bill requires doctors to sign an affidavit proving that an abortion is not being performed based on the race or gender of the fetus.
Van Zant claimed:
“In America alone, without the Nazi holocaust, without the Ku Klux clan, Planned Parenthood and other abortionists have reduced our black population by more than 25 percent since 1973. This is called discriminatory targeting”
Yes, in case you missed it, he equated medical procedures to terminate unwanted pregnancies to the hate crimes and murders carried out by the KKK and Nazis. But equally important, he overstepped his boundaries by speaking for women who can and have demanded access to a full range of reproductive justice and health services, including abortion.
Democratic Rep. Barbara Watson, one of the women who walked out, explained:
“I don’t appreciate anyone trying to explain what any other ethnic group’s lifestyle is and what they do, when you really don’t have any authority to interpret it… I think the women and people of color in that chamber deserve an apology from him, but I don’t know that it would actually change his point of view.”
I understand her concern. We’ve seen anti-choice bigot play the race card before in their messaging. Black, Latina, and Indigenous women have all been targeted in anti-abortion propaganda issued by white men.
The women who walked out were rightfully offended by the repeating of this rhetoric on the Florida House floor. I can only hope that at least one of them flipped the bird on their way out.