Florida Abortion Bill Debate Causes Black Women Lawmakers To Walk Out

Rep. Barbara Watson (D-Miami)

Maybe there’s just too much sun in the Sunshine State. Apparently it’s eroding politician’s brains and causing them to come up with the most assine laws in regards to a woman’s rights. Recently, a debate in Florida’s House of Representatives over the Republican sponsored ban on race and sex selective abortions get everyone riled up. Several black women lawmakers, including Representative Barbara Watson (D-Miami) stormed out in protest.

The bill that caused the ruckus is House Bill 845, sponsored by Rep. Charles Van Zant (R-Keystone Heights). This bill would make it a 3rd degree FELONY in Florida to perform an abortion based on the race or gender of the fetus. Van Zant blamed Planned Parenthood and  other abortion providers of purposefully targeting black people.

According to the Huffington Post:

In his closing statements on Thursday, Van Zant accused Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers of intentionally targeting black people. “The fact is, 80 percent of abortion clinics nationwide are located in minority neighborhoods where 43 percent of all black babies are aborted,” Van Zant said, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

“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,” he said. “This is called discriminatory targeting.”

Several black lawmakers became insulted during the debate, and at least five women walked out. Rep. Barbara Watson (D-Miami), one of the members who left, told HuffPost in a phone interview that she felt as if Van Zant was manipulating information to reflect his personal beliefs about abortion.

“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,” she said. “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.”

Subsequently the bill was passed last Thursday by a vote 71-44, sending it to the state Senate.


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