Oklahoma moves forward with an anti-abortion bill that treats pregnant women as “hosts” for fetuses

Whose body?
Whose body?
Image: AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin
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A proposed law that would require written consent for an abortion from the “father of the fetus” was approved by an Oklahoma House committee on Tuesday. The measure drew condemnation from reproductive rights groups even before sponsor Justin Humphrey described pregnant women as “hosts” who give up their rights if they have been “irresponsible.”

“I understand that they feel like that is their body. I feel like it is a separate—what I call them is, is you’re a ‘host,'” he told The Intercept this week. “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.”

Humphrey told Oklahoma’s Channel 9 news that he was trying not to use such phrasing but “doesn’t know a better way to describe a pregnant woman.”

“But I’ve not continued to use that out of respect to the people who’ve said they don’t like it,” he added.

The bill, which would almost certainly be challenged on constitutional grounds, will be voted on by the full state House of Representatives now that it has cleared committee.

Oklahoma has a long history of trying to curtail access to reproductive services, including abortions; in the current legislative session it introduced 11 anti-abortion bills.

Humphrey offered a sobering vision of women as passive vehicles for childbirth in detail. His view echoes campaign statements from US president Donald Trump, who said that women should be prosecuted if anti-abortion groups successfully make the procedure illegal.

“So that’s where I’m at,” Humphrey told The Intercept. “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.”

The bill was approved together with another that would make it illegal to have an abortion based on genetic abnormalities faced by the fetus.