Fla. House Passes Ban on Certain Abortions

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, the Miami Herald reports.

The 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 Herald reports that the proposal was passed largely along party lines and that its Senate prospects are uncertain. The Senate version of HB 845 has not yet been heard in any Senate committee.

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).