Rep. Brad Boles Apologizes Over 'Colored Babies' Remark, Says It Was 'Slip of Tongue'

An Oklahoma GOP representative was condemned after he used the term "colored babies" during an anti-abortion bill debate.

Rep. Brad Boles (R-Marlow) said his controversial comment had been "a slip of tongue" in an apology following Tuesday's debate on the House floor, according to The Oklahoman.

During the debate, Rep. Boles said: "In 2017, 862,000 babies were aborted. 28 percent of those babies were colored babies. 240,000 black kids, 215 Hispanic kids. These kids mattered and I'm here to advocate for them as well."

Rep. Boles did not state where he had obtained the statistics to support his claim, although a 2019 Guttmacher Institute (GI) report did show a similar figure of 862,320 abortions in clinical settings between 2014 and 2017.

The same GI report said the number of abortions in 2017 had fallen to its lowest rate since the procedure was legalized in 1973. An online version of the report did not mention the other figures stated by Rep. Boles.

Later on Tuesday, Rep. Boles apologized on the House floor and claimed the usage of the term "was not what it was intended to be."

Rep Boles was elected to serve his district in 2018. Facebook/BolesForOk

He added: "Earlier today, I made a mistake on the House floor. We were debating a passionate bill, and through the slip of the tongue, I said a word that was not what it was intended to be, and so I apologize for any of the members of the House or that listed online that I may have offended."

Rep. Boles' comments were made as he debated in favor of HB2441, a fetal heartbeat bill, that would outlaw abortions in the state once "cardiac activity" is detected in the fetus.

The term "colored" is considered to be extremely offensive and was used during the height of the Jim Crow era that would use the word to restrict or confine access to facilities and common areas to African Americans, effectively keeping them apart from white Americans.

In a statement, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Oklahoma condemned Boles' comments and called Rep Boles to engage with conversations about race equity.

“Anti-abortion efforts are rooted in white supremacy and the exploitation of Black people." Tamya Cox-Touré

See our full statement on the racist rhetoric used on the House Floor this afternoon here: https://t.co/Fy3rLeFakE #okleg

— ACLU of Oklahoma (@ACLUOK) March 10, 2021
ACLU Oklahoma issued a statment over Rep. Boles' use of the word "colored" during an anti-abortion debate.

ACLU Executive Director Tamya Cox-Toure said: "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.

"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."

Rep. Boles was first elected to serve Oklahoma's 51st district in 2018.

Newsweek has contacted Rep. Boles for comment.