The Democratic auditor of the third-largest county in Ohio could be booted from his own party after posting a tweet suggesting that Planned Parenthood targets black communities.
“Just wondering when they are going to paint ‘Black Lives Matter’ on Auburn Avenue, you know, in front of that building where they terminate black lives and white ones, too, almost every day of the week,” Hamilton County Auditor Dusty Rhodes tweeted on June 19, referencing Cincinnati’s sole abortion clinic.
In a statement posted to Twitter, Hamilton County Democratic Chairwoman Gwen McFarlin called Rhodes’ tweet “racist and sexist.” She went further to say she’ll launch the process to censure Rhodes and introduce a resolution for the party to not endorse Rhodes for reelection when his term ends in 2022.
“I condemn this comment which I would not expect from an elected official let alone a Democratically endorsed elected official,” McFarlin wrote. “His offensive comments are aimed at black, brown and other marginalized groups as well as women. The Democratic Party supports the Black Lives Matter movement and women’s reproductive rights.”
Yet McFarlin failed to mention that Planned Parenthood does in fact disproportionately target black communities. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 38% of all abortions in the U.S. are performed on Black women even though Black women make up just 13% of the female population.
Despite condemnation from his own party, Rhodes stood his ground and responded to McFarlin’s statement through a series of tweets: “I find the characterization of my views as ‘sexist and racist’ by the Hamilton County Democratic Chair in a tweet today deeply offensive.
“Gwen McFarlin knew of my position on abortion when she asked me to endorse her campaigns for Springfield Township Trustee and Party Chairperson. In spite of her disagreement with me on this issue, I gave her my full support each time.
“The criticism is an obvious reaction to my views on abortion, which should not be a surprise to anyone. The party knew this when they asked me to run for County Auditor in 1990. They knew it when I was endorsed in 2018. They knew it when I won with almost 2/3rds of the vote.
“Abortion impacts African Americans at a higher rate than any other population group. I thank all who are retweeting my comment. I stand by it and reject the uninformed criticism. It is neither a ‘racist’ nor ‘sexist’ tweet.”
Photo: Kristoffer Tripplaar/Alamy Stock Photo