An Oklahoma state lawmaker is apologizing after using the term “colored babies” during an abortion debate.
On Tuesday (March 9), Republican Rep. Brad Boles from Marlow called the comment a “slip of the tongue” in a statement posted to his Facebook.
“I inadvertently used an offensive term during debate for a pro-life bill when suggesting abortion affects people of all races,” the statement said. “I apologized to several colleagues for this accidental slip of the tongue and made a public apology on the House floor.”
He added: “I hope you know me and my heart well enough to agree I would never intentionally say anything to offend anyone, and that as a Christian I believe God created each of us in His image. While it was truly an accident, I deeply regret the unintentional harm it caused. Please accept my sincere apology.”
According to the Kansas City Star, Boles used the term while debating in favor of a bill that would outlaw abortions once a fetus has detectable “cardiac activity.”
“In 2017, 862,000 babies were aborted. Twenty-eight percent of those babies were colored babies; 240,000 Black kids, 215,000 Hispanic kids,” Boles said during the debate. “These kids mattered and I’m here to advocate for them as well.”
Alicia Andrews, chair of the Oklahoma Democratic Party, is condemning the comment.
“As a Black woman who is old enough to be his mother, I am shocked that someone is using the term colored in 2021,” she said, according to KFOR. “Colored is not part of your normal lexicon. If it’s not part of your normal lexicon, it doesn’t just come out. So, it is part of who he is.”
On Tuesday night, Boles apologized on the Oklahoma House floor after Andrews and other Democrats demanded a public apology.
Tamya Cox-Touré, executive director of the ACLU of Oklahoma, says Boles needs to commit to engaging in conversations with experts about racial equity.
“It is disgraceful that in 2021 we still have elected officials like Rep. Boles use racist rhetoric such as ‘colored’ on the floor of the People’s house,” she said in a statement. “Rep. Boles and his colleagues should not only commit to engaging in conversations about race equity work with the experts in our state, but also actively check their colleagues on problematic behavior.”