National Partnership for Women & Families

In the News

Fla. Bill Would Prohibit Abortion Based on Race, Sex

Fla. Bill Would Prohibit Abortion Based on Race, Sex

January 10, 2011 — Florida Rep. Scott Plakon (R) recently filed a bill (HB 1327) that would ban abortion for reasons related to sex or race, the Florida Independent reports.

The Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass Prenatal Nondiscrimination and Equal Opportunity for Life Act would make it illegal to knowingly perform an abortion sought on the sex or race of the fetus or race of the parent of that fetus. The bill also would allow abortion providers who perform the procedure or accept payments to do so based on either factor to be prosecuted.

Plakon said the bill is not addressing a "Florida-specific" problem, but rather a "creeping problem" with sex- and race-based abortion worldwide. "We need to make sure this doesn't creep into Florida from other countries," he said.

He also acknowledged that unless a woman mentions her reasoning behind pursuing abortion, the bill would be difficult to enforce. "If she volunteers that information, it would put the burden on the abortionist to not provide the abortion," Plakon said.

Reproductive health advocates condemned the bill. Loretta Ross -- president of the reproductive justice collective SisterSong -- said that sex- and race-based antiabortion bills are a "blatant attempt for southern Republicans to look like they are champions of racial justice," while they are actually targeting women's reproductive rights. She said that depicting women as propagators of genocide is an "attack on women's dignity," adding, "Ultimately, this shows contempt for women" (Lopez, Florida Independent, 1/7).