WASHINGTON ― Rep. Norma Torres (D-Calif.) appeared to reach her breaking point during an abortion debate on the House floor Wednesday.
“Mr. Speaker,” she said, “it is tiring to hear from so many sex-starved males on this floor talk about a women’s right to choose.”
The House was debating abortion language in a package of spending bills. Republicans had taken aim at provisions in the bill that would block money from going to Trump administration regulations that allow health care professionals to refuse to provide abortions.
“We are a nation that deeply values religious liberty,” Rep. Ross Spano (R-Fla.) said on the floor. “And this rule further protects Americans’ tax dollars being forced to subsidize entities that kill unborn children.”
Spano added that he’d be voting for a Republican amendment to allow the Trump administration regulations to go into effect.
That’s what prompted Torres to call her Republican colleagues “sex-starved males.”
Republican lawmakers on the floor didn’t hide their disgust with the comment.
Rep. Rob Woodall (R-Ga.) immediately asked Torres if she would like to “change” her statement. Under House rules, it’s possible for lawmakers to have words “taken down” if lawmakers find their speech objectionable.
The process requires the speaker of the House to make a ruling, and the member may not speak again until one has been made. If the words are deemed inappropriate, the member has the chance to amend their statement or to simply have their words taken down and not speak for the rest of the day.
Torres decided to just rescind the statement.
“If it pleases my colleagues on the other side,” Torres said, “I will withdraw my statement about sex-starved males on the floor.”