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Girls & Women

Lawmaker Says Pregnant Women Don't Have Right to Their Bodies, Are Just 'Hosts' for Babies

By Phineas Rueckert|

A pregnant woman receives a visit from a midwife in her home.
Flickr: Eyeliam

The idea of women being slighted by male politicians is nothing new in US politics. 

There was Mitt Romney’s “binders full of women” comment back in 2012. There was the time Jeb Bush casually downplayed the importance of women’s health, saying: “I’m not sure we need half a billion dollars for women’s health issues.” There was President Donald Trump’s “grab them by the pussy” comment — and these other 18 examples of sexism and body-shaming by the president. 

But Oklahoma State Representative Justin Humphrey may have taken the rhetoric to a new level. 

In an interview with The Intercept, Humphrey, the author of House Bill 1441 — a bill that would require paternal consent for an abortion — referred to pregnant women who want to have an abortion as “irresponsible” “hosts” who “invited that in.” 

Justin-Humphrey-Abortion-Bill.jpgImage: Oklahoma State Legislator

Read more: The Netherlands Sets Up Abortion Fund in Challenge to Trump Policy

“I understand that [women] feel like that is their body,” Humphrey said. “What I call them is, is you’re a ‘host.”

He continued: “You know when you enter into a relationship you’re going to be that host and so, you know, if you pre-know that then take all precautions and don’t get pregnant.”

Perhaps most offensively, he finished by blaming women who want an abortion, calling them “irresponsible.” 

“After you’re irresponsible then don’t claim, well, I can just go and do this with another body, when you’re the host and you invited that in,” he said. 

Humphrey, a freshman representative in one of the most conservative states in the country, told The Intercept that he originally drafted the legislation in an effort to “ensure that fathers are involved in supporting a child from conception.”

But this language was wiped from the bill in favor of more radical policy proposals.  

“No abortion shall be performed in this state without the written informed consent of the father of the fetus,” the bill says, also stipulating that “a pregnant woman seeking to abort her pregnancy shall be required to provide, in writing, the identity of the father of the fetus to the physician who is to perform or induce the abortion.”  

Read more: Trump Targets Women’s Healthcare in One of His First Actions as President

The bill was described by the author of The Intercept article Jordan Smith as being “devoid of any nuance and completely unconstitutional.”

Humphrey, for his part, has stood by his “hosts” comment, saying he “didn't know of a better term to describe a pregnant woman and apologized to anyone who took offense.”

Strong women on the internet quickly responded to his statements, in the best way possible: 

Despite (or in spite of) Humphrey’s comments, the bill was tabled without discussion, representing a small, but perhaps especially sweet, victory for women’s health in the state of Oklahoma.  

Disclaimer: the views of the author do not necessarily represent the views of Global Citizen or our affiliated partners.

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