Politics

Florida Lawmaker Doubles Down on White Supremacist, Anti-Abortion Talking Point

Florida state Sen. Dennis Baxley
Florida state Sen. Dennis Baxley Florida House of Representatives
click to enlarge Florida state Sen. Dennis Baxley - FLORIDA HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Florida state Sen. Dennis Baxley
Florida House of Representatives
Is Florida state Sen. Dennis Baxley actually just an old tapioca pudding mold that someone forgot to throw out after a Ku Klux Klansman's retirement party? Maybe. Does he keep saying racist stuff? Definitely.

Baxley, an Ocala Republican, is in hot water again this month — not for the numerous times he's defended the Confederate States of America or for all the absolutely horrible bills he's proposed in the past, but for comments he made on WLRN, Miami's NPR station. In an interview last week with the radio station, he used outright white-supremacist talking points to make a garbled, nonsensical attack on abortion rights. Baxley (falsely) argued that legal abortions were cutting into the nation's birth rate, and therefore, Western Europeans were somehow aborting their society away:
"When you get a birth rate less than 2 percent, that society is disappearing. And it’s being replaced by folks that come behind them and immigrate, don’t wish to assimilate into that society and they do believe in having children. So you see that there are long range impacts to your society when the answer is to exterminate."
After New Times and other media outlets whacked Baxley for basically shouting "Immigrants are replacing whites!" on the radio, activists got involved. At a news conference yesterday, the director of the Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates, Laura Goodhue, demanded that Baxley's colleagues condemn his latest statements.

But when the Sun Sentinel reached Baxley yesterday for comment, he doubled down. He tried to claim he wasn't being an extremely obvious racist — and also repeated the factually incorrect point that abortions significantly impact America's birth rate.

"The pro-life movement is multicultural, multiracial," he said. "All I am saying is civilizations do die if they have a low birth rate and don’t replace themselves. A new society replaces them. That’s just what happens."

But, according to science, that's not actually "just what happens." Yes, America's birthrate is dropping right now — but rates of abortions are also dropping at the same time. America is demonstrably not aborting itself into oblivion. (Of course, it's also interesting that Baxley is really worried about "other societies" replacing his own. We're sure it has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that he has repeatedly defended aspects of the Confederacy!)

Baxley proposed his own version of a "fetal heartbeat bill" in 2019, which would have outlawed abortions statewide after six weeks of pregnancy — before many women even know they've conceived. His effort failed.
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Jerry Iannelli is a former staff writer for Miami New Times from 2015 to March 2020. He graduated with honors from Temple University. He then earned a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University.