Yesterday, the State Assembly met in Albany to codify Roe v. Wade as part of Governor Cuomo's Women's Equality Act. The move was mostly symbolic, since it won't change state abortion law, but it did prompt one (white) Republican assemblyman from Staten Island to purport that the high rates of abortion in black communities are actually "African American genocide." Things didn't go so well for him after that.
Assemblyman Ron Castorina, Jr. pointed to a report asserting that 15 million African Americans have been "murdered" (sigh) since Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973. "I urge my friends in the African-American community to be very careful about supporting this legislation," Castorina, who was elected in April, said. "We’re talking about African-American genocide." While one can't speak for Castorina's alleged African-American "friends," many of his fellow legislators were less than enthused.
A number of representatives attempted to debate him, then left the chamber in protest when he refused to give up the floor. Some pointed out that Castorina's comments were offensive both to women and the black community. Assemblyman Charles Barron, who missed Castorina's initial speech, pointed out that Castorina's argument was the "height of...racist hypocrisy." "I understand that in my absence, someone lost their mind," he said when he returned to the chamber. "People who mention abortions about black women and the black community, they don’t give a hoot about black lives. So now, all of a sudden black lives matter — ooh they love our babies, they love our women now."
It also seemed like Castorina needed a little history lesson about actual genocide. "To have someone actually compare abortion to African-American genocide is absolutely deplorable and despicable in all regards,” Assemblyman Michael Blake said, according to POLITICO. "I need us to appreciate the collective impact of what we’re saying to others — to the Native American community, to the victims of the Holocaust, to Cambodia, to Darfur, to Rwanda, to Bosnia — who did experience what that word actually is. Do not belittle your sentiment on this bill to hundreds of thousands of people who lost their lives."
After Castorina was done whitemansplaining abortion, the bill passed.