Democrats Rebuke Planned Parenthood for Targeting Pro-Life Incumbent with ‘Racial Slur’

Members of the 'Planned Parenthood' women's rights group protest against the 'Stupak Ammendment' which they say will ban private abortion coverage for millions of American women, outside the Federal Courthouse in Los Angeles on November 20, 2009. Rights advocates have accused the most pro-choice US government in decades of throwing …
MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty

Democrats in the Texas legislature rebuked the political arm of the state’s Planned Parenthood affiliate for targeting one of their pro-life colleagues with a “racial slur” in their attacks against him.

For months now, Planned Parenthood Texas Votes has been campaigning to unseat Democrat State Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr. of Brownsville, using the phrase “Sucio Lucio” in its attacks against him:

The Texan observed the political lobbying group has even devoted a website, titled with the same smear, in its campaign for Sara Stapleton-Barrera as the July 14 primary runoff election approaches. In the March 3 primary, Lucio, with 49.8 percent of the vote, just missed the cut-off to avoid the runoff. Barrera received 35.6 percent of the vote.

The SucioLucio website states the incumbent “has a solid record of voting for and supporting anti-choice, anti-LGBTQ, anti-immigrant, anti-environment, anti-worker, anti-health care, and anti-public school policies.”

Planned Parenthood Texas Votes adds Lucio “is a close ally of extremist politicians, including Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Gov. Greg Abbott, and consistently votes against the best interests of his constituents.”

Lucio’s son – also a Texas lawmaker – State Rep. Eddie Lucio III (D) provided his own statement in a campaign press release issued by his father Thursday, condemning Planned Parenthood and its partners for the “derogatory and racial slur” against his father. Lucio III said:

I’m truly disheartened, given all that’s happening in the world today, that Planned Parenthood, Texas Freedom Network, Texas Rising, and others continue to disparage our family name with derogatory and racial slurs. These big special-interests groups from outside our border community should comprehend the deeper connotations behind the word “sucio” (“dirty Mexican”) and the association with a person of Hispanic decent [sic].

Mexican-Americans are hard-working, family-oriented individuals, never should the word dirty or its Spanish-language equivalent be used to describe one of us. Given current events and the social awareness on being accepting of all races and cultures, the continued use of this term is insensitive and in poor taste. We can respectfully disagree on issues without being offensive to an entire culture.

Urban Dictionary also defines “sucio” as “Spanish slang for one who’s ill-moraled in a sexual nature” and “another way to say fags, faggots, queers, homos, etc. derived from the Spanish word meaning a dirty man or men.”

After the release of his comments, Lucio III, who is more liberal than his father, tweeted:

Other Democrats piled on criticism of Planned Parenthood.

State Sen. José Menéndez tweeted, “This reference is hateful and deplorable”:

Texas Rep. Terry Canales also asserted on Twitter, “Planned Parenthood is so out of line!”

“[U]nless an immediate apology is issued,” Planned Parenthood “wont [sic] ever set foot in my office.”

Similarly, State Rep. Oscar Longoria tweeted, “Using a derogatory Spanish word for a Latino candidate should not be tolerated”:

Bishop Daniel Flores of Brownsville also condemned Planned Parenthood for its slur against Lucio, referring to it as a “malicious” attack, Catholic News Agency reported.

“While not surprised that Planned Parenthood would attack State Senator Eddie Lucio’s pro-life record, I am deeply discouraged that Texas Freedom Network and others would join in this malicious kind of attack, using such derogatory language to disparage him and his family,” Flores said in a statement.

In response to the outpouring of criticism, Planned Parenthood Texas Votes tweeted, “We stand with the young, Latinx and LGBTQ leaders in the RGV [Rio Grande Valley] calling for accountability for their community and from their legislators,” and linked to a letter from leftwing community organizers that still uses the hashtag “#SucioLucio.”

In their letter, the activists condemned the “disparaging attacks vilifying and questioning our decision as Valley residents to continue using the nickname ‘Sucio Lucio,’ a moniker that previous community members have used to describe the dirty political tactics Senator Lucio has employed for decades.”

The letter’s signers appeared to accuse Lucio of having conservative values:

If he is concerned about racism, why did he fail to speak up when it mattered the most? There was no statement issued by his campaign in response to the various Black Lives Matter protests that were held in his district at a time when race relations were resonating nationally and shared locally. He prefers to represent and maintain relationships with far-right activists, anti-LGBT groups, extreme anti-abortion groups, and more.

Planned Parenthood Federation of America touted last week the naming of its permanent CEO, Alexis McGill Johnson, who the organization describes as a “social and racial justice leader,” just days after the head of its New York affiliate was publicly accused of “systemic racism” and “abuse” by her employees.

In a statement about the accusations, Johnson, who has been serving as acting CEO for about a year, said the employees’ accusations of “misconduct, abuse, racism and more, do not align with Planned Parenthood’s standards or our values.”

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