April 22, 2013 —The Florida House on Thursday approved a measure (HB 845) that would prohibit abortions based on the sex or race of the fetus and another (HB 759) that would make the death of a fetus a separate offense from a crime committed against the pregnant woman, the Miami Herald reports.
The first measure -- sponsored by state Rep. Charles Van Zant (R) -- would require physicians to sign an affidavit that women receiving abortion care were not seeking the procedure for the prohibited reasons.
The second bill -- sponsored by state Rep. Larry Ahern (R) -- would create a separate offense if a fetus at any stage of development were injured or killed during an attack against a pregnant woman.
The Herald reports that the proposals were passed largely along party lines and that their Senate prospects are uncertain. The Senate version of HB 759 has stalled in committee, and HB 845 has not yet been heard in any Senate committee.
Controversy Over Abortions Based on Race, Sex
During debate over HB 845, Van Zant argued that Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers targeted black women, claiming that "abortionists have reduced our black population by more than 25 percent since 1973."
In response, state Rep. Cynthia Stafford (D) said the notion that the bill was to guard against racism or sexism is a blatant "lie," while state Rep. Darryl Rouson (D) denounced Van Zant for using issues of racism to advance antiabortion-rights legislation.
Separately, Planned Parenthood said in a statement that it "opposes racism and sexism in all forms" and "condemns sex selection motivated by gender or racial bias" (Koff, Miami Herald, 4/18).