Republican Rep. Steve King (IA) rebuked Black Americans for exercising their constitutional right to abortion one day after he criticized them for exercising their constitutional right to assemble.
King is notorious for his long history of racially-charged comments and insistence on displaying a Confederate flag on his congressional office desk. He called the Congressional Black Caucus the “self-segregating caucus,” BuzzFeed reported Thursday, the same day the caucus descended on the U.S. Department of Justice to advocate for the “full weight of the federal government” to be deployed in investigations of police shootings.
Rewire interviewed King Friday after he exited a U.S. House of Representatives hearing—a platform for the longtime lawmaker and his Republican colleagues, including Reps. Trent Franks (AZ), Louie Gohmert (TX), and Ron DeSantis (FL), to advance conservative and often racially biased anti-abortion myths about the Hyde Amendment and the so-called Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act.
If abortion care amounts to the Black “genocide” King described during the hearing, doesn’t that add to the problem of the “self-segregating” caucus?
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“This is [sic] things they bring up on themselves,” King said. “This is their choice.”
King characterized abortion care as a “tragedy for any life, no matter what color,” but ultimately found as much fault with Black Americans who make the reproductive health-care decision as those who advocate on behalf of civil rights.
“The choices that are made to abort Black babies are made by Black people, the choices to have a self-segregating caucus are made by Black people. They’re the ones that need to answer these questions, not me,” King said. “I’m speaking to something that’s clearly obvious, on its face, to people who care to look.”
King reiterated those points in response to a question about whether he meant both choices were the fault of Black Americans.
“They chose to have a Congressional Black Caucus. They chose to have an abortion,” King said. “I would give you even money that a vast majority of mothers who say they can’t afford an abortion have an iPhone, which costs more.”
During the hearing, King questioned Kierra Johnson, executive director of the pro-choice advocacy group URGE and the only witnesses to support abortion rights. King asked that Johnson research and return to the panel with an answer as to whether killing “partially delivered” puppies would amount to a crime in an apparent attempt to draw a parallel between puppies and Black babies.
“I could, and I could also talk to you about the research and the anecdotal information I have about Black communities,” she said.
“I would love to talk about Black communities, if you’d like me to,” Johnson continued, speaking over King, to applause from abortion rights supporters in the audience.