The Florida House of Representatives passed an abortion measure last Thursday that would outlaw abortion based on the sex or race of the fetus. HB 845, “Termination of Pregnancy Based on Sex or Race of Unborn Child,” passed on what anti-choice activists have declared “Right to Life” day on a vote of 71 to 44.
The bill’s sponsor, Representative Charles Van Zant (R) from Keystone Heights, who is white, stated that abortion groups target black women. “In America alone – without the Nazi Holocaust, without the Ku Klux Klan – Planned Parenthood and other abortionists have reduced our black population by more than 25 percent since 1973,” Van Zant told the House.
Despite Van Zant’s assertion that the legislation was to prevent what he called “discriminatory targeting,” many black Representatives were offended during the debate and a few even left the proceedings. Representative Barbara Watson (D) of Miami chose to leave. She later told the Huffington Post, “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.”