Oklahoma Representative Calls Women "Hosts"

Today Oklahoma state legislator, Representative Justin Humphrey is facing extreme criticism for his statement, saying that women are merely “hosts” and that pregnant women do not have ownership over their bodies when they “invite” a fetus to form in their uterus.

Photo of Justin Humphrey

Ultimately, [Humphrey] said, his intent was to let men have a say. “I believe one of the breakdowns in our society is that we have excluded the man out of all of these types of decisions,” he said. “I understand that they feel like that is their body,” he said of women. “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,” he explained. “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.” (via The Intercept).

Humphrey wrote the bill HB 1441, which is an Act that claims to be related to public health and safety. It will make all abortions prohibited in the state of Oklahoma until the woman and doctor receive written consent from the fetus’ biological father… unless the woman became pregnant though rape, incest, or is in extreme danger because of the fetus. This law would require the woman who wishes to get an abortion to reveal (in writing) the fetus’ biological father’s identity to the physician will perform the abortion – if the biological father of the fetus claims that he is or is not the father, he can demand a paternity test.

Due to advancements in medical science, there are now non-invasive prenatal DNA paternity tests that do not carry a risk of miscarriage. However, these tests can’t be performed until weeks 15-20 of the pregnancy term. Here’s the catch: the results can take up to 2 weeks to come back (longer if the results come back abnormal) and in Oklahoma, the protocol for abortion is that the woman must wait 72 hours at minimum, or three days, to “think about the consequences” and last week that a woman can get an abortion is week 24. Meaning, that if the biological father does not demand a paternity test until week 20, and the results come back abnormal, and the final results do not come back until week 24, the woman will be forced to have the child.

Abortion became legalized by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1973 in the Roe v. Wade case. However, the states were given free range to regulate the way abortions are performed – in many ways (waiting period, parental consent, counseling prior the procedure, etc.). Per the Guttmacher Institute, “Since 2010, the U.S. abortion landscape has grown increasingly restrictive as more states become hostile to abortion rights. Between 2010 and 2016, states enacted 338 new abortion restrictions, which account for nearly 30% of the 1,142 abortion restrictions enacted by states since the 1973 Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade.”

Read more about Oklahoma's abortion restrictions here.

Read more about Justin Humphrey here.

Read HB 1441 here.

Read the status of HB 1441 here.

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