Assemblyman Ronald Castorina, R-Staten Island caused a stir with his speech about abortion and the black community. (NYS Assembly)

Assemblyman Ronald Castorina, R-Staten Island caused a stir with his speech about abortion and the black community. (NYS Assembly)

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On Tuesday, a freshman New York lawmaker took to the state assembly floor and shocked his colleagues when he referred to abortion as “African-American genocide.”

During a debate over a bill that would formally put federal abortion rights into state law, Assemblyman Ronald Castorina referred to statistics of the race of people seeking abortions. Castorina did not cite the source of the statistics in the text of his speech.

“I urge my friends and colleagues in the African-American community to be very, very careful about this legislation, because we’re talking about African-American genocide,” Castorina said.

At the statement, shocked gasps and jeers could be heard from the assembled lawmakers.

“You hear me?” Castorina said. “But for Roe v. Wade, the African-American community would be 36 percent larger today.”

His comments prompted a parliamentary protest from Democrats in attendance as several lawmakers made use of a law that allows them to stand and ask Castorina to yield his time. Although Castorina refused to yield every time, the continued interruptions made it difficult for him to resume speaking.

When Castorina continued his speech, several Democrats simply left the assembly in protest.

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