Oklahoma Republican Stands By Calling Pregnant Women 'Hosts'

Feb 14, 2017

A Republican lawmaker from southeast Oklahoma who described a pregnant woman as a "host" is standing by his use of the term, saying his intent was not to offend anyone.

State Rep. Justin Humphrey of Atoka said Monday he didn't know of a better term to describe a pregnant woman and apologized to anyone who took offense.

Humphrey used the term while discussing House Bill 1441, which would require women seeking an abortion to first obtain the written informed consent of the father. The bill is scheduled for a hearing Tuesday in a House committee.

State Rep. Emily Virgin described Humphrey's comment as "incredibly disrespectful."

Humphrey says he really wanted the chance to spark a conversation about the father being involved in the pregnancy. He says he has been hearing from men who haven’t had a say in what happens to their child.

"What's been cool is to have fathers that have had mothers who have had an abortion talk about the impact it had on them to have their babies killed. So, yeah, it affects both sides."

Humphrey says his bill includes some exceptions.

"The exemptions would be if the father has died, if the person has been raped, or in cases of incest or in cases where the mother's life is in danger."

A national abortion rights group calls the measure dangerous as it unconstitutionally restricts a women’s rights to medical decisions and undermines the fundamental autonomy of their own lives.

Oklahoma has passed some of the strictest anti-abortion bills in the country, although at least five have been struck down by the courts in recent years.