An Oklahoma Lawmaker Actually Referred To Pregnant Women As "Hosts"
Oklahoma's House Bill 1441 might be the worst anti-reproductive rights bill you've heard of in a while. And that's not even considering that its drafter, Oklahoma State Rep. Justin Humphrey, called pregnant women "hosts" — and he's not changing his wording, even after being called out on it.
Humphrey's reasoning behind the drafting of HB 1441 is "wanting fathers to have to pay child support at the beginning," he told The Intercept on Feb. 8. Under HB 1441, pregnant women seeking abortions would be required to submit the name of the fetus' father, in writing, to the physician who would perform the abortion. The identified father would then have the right to "demand" a paternity test.
Oh, and here's the kicker: without the "written informed consent of the father of the fetus," the woman wouldn't be able to have an abortion. Sure, there are supposedly exceptions for rape or incest, or if the pregnant woman's life is in danger because of the pregnancy, but there's not a lot said in the bill about how those exceptions would be granted.
I feel like it's pretty clear how this would completely infringe on peoples' reproductive rights and bodily autonomy, but here's how Humphrey explained to The Intercept why he drafted the bill:
I feel like it is a separate — what I call them is, is you’re a "host." And 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. So that's where I’m at. I'm like, hey, your body is your body and be responsible with it. But 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.
No doubt echoing the thoughts of many, State Rep. Emily Virgin called Humphrey's "hosts" comment "incredibly disrespectful," according to The Washington Post. Apparently Humphrey doesn't know of a better way to refer to pregnant women, and he apologizes if you took offense, the Post reported. I mean, he could just call pregnant women... "pregnant women." It's not that hard.
Rev. Shannon Speidel of the Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice described the bill as "the one that bothered us the most ... There were a lot of feelings about it. In a state that doesn’t really spend a lot of time on domestic violence issues it really just showed ignorance regarding what relationships can be for some women."
HB 1441 was tabled without comment on Feb. 8 but it will be on the House Public Health Committee's agenda on Feb. 14, The Intercept reported. If it gets passed, November would be when people would have to start seeking their partners' permission before obtaining abortions. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled against a comparable provision 25 years ago, but we'll have to hope HB 1441 doesn't get that far.