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Oklahoma Lawmaker: Women Are 'Hosts' & Need Permission for Abortion

Dr. Elizabeth Yuko is the Health Editor at SheKnows. She is a bioethicist and writer specializing in sexual and reproductive health and the intersection of bioethics and popular culture. She is an adjunct professor of ethics at Fordham ...

Bill in Oklahoma would require women who 'host' fetuses to get approval for abortions from men

Good news, uterus-havers: We can now add baby “hosts” to our unique set of lady skills.

In what sounds like a plot device from an episode of I Love Lucy, a bill was introduced by an Oklahoma lawmaker that would require women seeking abortions to first obtain written permission from her male sexual partner.

Why, you ask? Well, according to Rep. Justin Humphrey, it’s pretty simple: Men are being increasingly excluded from decisions in our current society. And really, when you think about it, women are just "hosts." No, seriously — that is the word he used.

“I understand that they feel like that is their body,” he said of women in The Intercept. “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,” Humphrey concluded.

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Humphrey said that his initial intention was that the bill would make sure that fathers are required to pay child support from conception, but as it turns out, that language was removed from the bill.

So hypothetically, one evening, Mr. Hubert Head-of-the-Household would don his slippers and smoking jacket trying to relax after a hard day at the office only to be bothered by Little Sally asking him to sign her math test because she failed (she’s a girl, after all) and then his wife asking him to sign a permission slip granting her the ability to make basic medical decisions regarding her own body.

But here’s the thing: Using this “host” terminology is confusing and counterproductive for anti-abortionists because that would make the fetus the parasite, which basically undermines anti-abortion arguments that fetuses should be considered persons in and of themselves.

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Another bill was also being considered (for a second time), which would forbid a woman from aborting a fetus because of actual or suspected genetic abnormalities, regardless of how early she sought to end the pregnancy.

In a surprise move, neither bill made it past the Oklahoma House yesterday. But both were put back on the agenda for Valentine’s Day because few things are as romantic as restricting women’s autonomy. [Swoon.]

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