A group of almost comically deluded and ineffectual legislators in Florida are bringing up sex- and race-selective abortions in the state. They make the same ol' specious arguments about abortion providers of intentionally targeting black people with such conviction, you have to stop for a minute to fact check their asses and realize — oops, they're actually a bunch of pretty little liars.
Unfortunately, their ridiculous rhetoric is working, and House Bill 845, which was introduced in January by Rep. Charles Van Zant — a GOP member of the Florida house who recently tried to ban ALL abortion in Florida — passed with a vote of 71-44, and was sent to the state Senate.
This crap bit of legislation would make it a third-degree felony to perform an abortion based on the race or gender of the fetus. Meaning, if I went to a doctor and was all, "Oh no, I'm having a girl?! Get that She Devil outta me!", the health care provider would have to refuse my request.
However, it's more complicated than just me being a crazy bigot, because say my husband or parents wanted to interfere with my choice — they could simply say they know that I don't want to have a girl, and therefore I now have to have a girl. It doesn't matter if it's true or not; it's good enough in the eyes of this law. Anyone who accused me of having an abortion for that reason — or because I was a racist who didn't want to have a black child — could bring charges upon me and the health care provider. Further, if my health care provider performs, or "actively participates" in a sex- or race-selective abortion, they can be charged with a third-degree felony, and not reporting one can also result in a fine up to $10,000.
Uh, quick survey for health care professionals: Are you interested in providing abortion services knowing all that could be leveled against you by a patient's unhinged parent? Could it be that this limitation furthers the conservative game plan to restrict — and ultimately remove — women's choice? Should I stop asking such obvious questions?
It appears these lawmakers will stop at nothing to make them happen. Here, Van Sant lies like a politician in last Thursday's heated discussion of the bill:
"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."
Eighty percent!? Nope, more like nine percent. Thank goodness for the Guttmacher Institute and their real facts:
...only 9 percent of abortion clinics are located in predominantly black neighborhoods, while 63 percent of clinics are in non-Hispanic white neighborhoods. While black women have a disproportionately high abortion rate compared to other ethnic groups, Guttmacher research shows that could be attributed to higher rates of poverty among black women and the fact that 69 percent of pregnancies among black women are unintended, compared with 40 percent of pregnancies among whites.
Unsurprisingly, many members of Florida's House were incensed by the lies, and at least five black women legislators walked out.
One of those women, Democratic Rep. Barbara Watson, fully recognized that 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," Watson 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."
Keeping in mind that sex- and gender-selection abortion laws are often referred to as bills "in search of a problem", and a thinly-veiled attempt to further restrict abortion access — keeping that in mind, even if I did want to have an abortion because I was having a boy or a black kid — uh, do you think it's a great idea for me to have that kid? People who don't want to be parents make for lousy parents, and if they're so despicable/desperate/bigoted that they don't want a child for whatever reason — do you really want them having that child?
That said, from Roe to Wade, most everyone agrees you shouldn't abort a baby solely because of its sex or race. By painting pro-choice activists as eugenics enthusiasts who want to see black people wiped off the Earth, the Van Sants of the world are crafting a hole-filled argument that's not nearly as clever as they think it is.
Van Sant himself all but admits these fabled abortions are a crock of shit he so diligently dishes out at his NO ABORTION!!! soup kitchen:
When HuffPost Miami spoke with Van Zant by phone, he was unable to provide specific cases when abortion was performed based on either sex or race, or any examples of a growing "sex-determination niche industry."
"It doesn't matter," Van Zant said. "I certainly think that the debate and discussion ought to be heard."
Let's get to the heart of the matter — if these lawmakers are really so concerned about and committed to women and babies, perhaps they'd create and support laws that address and improve the socioeconomic status of women and people of color in the United States. Maybe they'd stop promoting ineffective abstinence-only education, and along with a comprehensive sex education, they'd make sure students had access to birth control. This faux-concern for women and babies is gross and obvious, and it's extremely embarrassing that the law has made it this far.